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A Lyric (w/Annotations)


You'll Never Make A Living Playing Trombone1

When I was just a lad2
I wanted really bad3
to play a shiny brasswind in the band
Play trumpet! They all cried
but trombone was my pride4
I couldn't wait to hold one in my hand
and when my schooling ended
I fully well intended
to march on in my chosen occupation
but then my mother dear5
she kindly drew me near
to help me understand my situation

She said I love you so
but there's something you should know

You'll never make a living playing trombone6
you'll never earn a dime that way7
you ought to be a doctor
or maybe paint a steeple
or go be a mortician
if you like to work with people8
if you don't want a future eating corn pone9
go find yourself a new career
you'll never make a living playing trombone
but I guess that's something you don't want to hear10

You'll never make a living playing trombone
you'll never get a sou like that11
you wanna be a blowhard
at least don't be a loser
think Limbaugh Beck or Hannity12
not John Phillip Sousa
there's something waiting for you in the job zone13
some labor with a bit more class14
you'll never make a living playing trombone
cause trombone players blow it
trombone players blow it
Yeah trombone players blow it
out their brass15

1. With no apologies whatsoever to Meredith Wilson. That one trick pony.a2
2. To be taken as being performed with full marching band accompaniment. Full marching band accompaniment score to be provided at an unspecified later date.
3. Sic. Idiomatic: "badly," while technically grammatically correct, sounds a trifle twee, and wanting to play trombone is twee enough by itself.a3
4. To be taken as "pride and joy." Not, you know, the other way. Um.
5. You had to know she'd show up here sooner than later—it's that kind of song. Call your mother.a4
6. This statement is, of course, not factually correct. With the many opportunities available in municipal, regional and national bands and orchestras, including those of our armed forces, as well as the ever-expanding popular idioms of jazz, blues, funk, R&B, salsa, reggae, ska and experimental deathkrump,a5 employment prospects for well-prepared trombonists have seldom been brighter. Naturally, the selection process is rigorous, and the successful candidate will have a thorough knowledge of technique, music theory, sight reading, improvisation in a number of styles, ensemble and solo performance, a sound grasp of the instrument's literature, plus an understanding of prudent business practices and a summer job selling vacuum appliances.a6
7. Sic. In light of the historicity of this idiom, accurate attention to Inflation would render this statement as "you'll never earn $1. 38 that way," which scans poorly.
8. It is believed by the author that this bon mot is in the public domain.
9. Substitute here any other suitable repast with subsistence overtones: beans, sardines, top ramen, peanut butter or dumpster donuts may all serve.
10. Are you listening? HELLO?
11. Sic. The United States of America does not circulate French currency.
12. Names to be taken as shouted, pep rally style, by a cheer leading squad of mixed gender, garbed in colorful sportswear reflecting in its design both the "team" and their own healthy awakening sexuality—although not vulgarly so.
13. You are entering a world of nightmare delusion, a world of veiled threats and hidden agendas, of endless delays, deliberate miscommunication and stark terror. You've just crossed over into—The Job Zone.
14. Not to be construed as implying that such a thing as political or economic "class" exists in our country. Heaven forfend!
15. My, that's funny.a7

Notes On The Notesb1:
a1. Notes. On a musical number. They're notes about notes. GET IT?
Work with me here.
a2. What about The Unsinkable Molly Brown, you ask? Have you heard The Unsinkable Molly Brown? Seriously. One. Trick. Pony.
a3. With all due respect and no offense intended. To the twee.
a4. What you call her is entirely up to you.
a5. You're no doubt unaware of this exciting new subgenre. Poser.
a6. Or a trust fund. They're always handy. And so easy to get!
a7. No. No, it isn't. Not really. Kind of sad, actually.

Notes On The Notes On The Notes:
b1. With no apologies whatsoever to David Foster Wallace.

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