How to Wring All of the Meaning Out of an Old Saying

The first time I ever heard the song You Can’t Always Get What You Want was at a high school pep rally. My mother mostly listened to Johnny Paycheck. My father preferred Polkas. Neither of them really liked . . . music.

Anyway, about the pep rally. Our basketball team was set to play another basketball team, and we were holding a rally to let our basketball team know that we hoped they did good at basketball. As part of the entertainment, the pep squad had prepared what I can only describe as a “skit.” (Note: if you ever want to make a professional comedian angry, whether they’re a stand-up, an improviser, or an actor, call their performance a skit. NOBODY likes that!)

Sorry, I got off topic. The “skit” in question was built on the never-fail comedic principal that taking two jocks, putting them in dresses, and making them dance is a one-way ticket to hilarity. The two poor saps in question danced to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” About halfway through, it occurred to me that the thing they wanted, but couldn’t get, was for the song to end after the first chorus, instead of playing for its entire length.

I learned many lessons about comedy at that pep rally.



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