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Drain Bamage: I Guess It’s Going to Be “All About Soul” Forever

Billy Joel: He’s a nice man, but he’s gotta go.

They tell me, in this shaded room where the machines beep softly and the drip feed makes a soft “plop” every minute or so, that I am mad; mad to declare, as I do, that my only solution is to go back in time and strangle Billy Joel in his cradle. They say that I am mad, but I say infanticide is the one ambition that still attaches me to sanity! Like Carthage, Baby Billie must be destroyed!

It wasn’t always this way with me. In fact it all started yesterday. Started, as many disasters do, by killing me softly with its love.

The parasite embedded itself in my brain during a vulnerable moment in the postprandial stupor that descended upon me after the third and last helping of garlic mashed potatoes. As the tryptophan torpor of spuds eroded my normal defenses I sat, minding my own stomach, by the warm fire in the study. Next door in the kitchen over a hot hand of Pinochle my host said, “Turn up that Billy Joel song I like.”

If I had known what that meant I would have choked myself with the leftover El Diabo chicken wings.

But no, I had no inkling of the horror to come. I was drifting through the hideous paragraphs of a tattered paperback novel by Dale Brown, an author who should have gone down with the Old Dog instead of living to write more books. His lulling sentences, so bad they were good, disarmed my natural defenses and so… and so….

In a few moments, I heard the beginning notes of my doom. With a lilting melody backed by Thor’s piledriver bass line, the following song was hammered into my brain…

It’s all about soul.
It’s all about faith and a deeper devotion.
It’s all about soul.
‘Cause under love is a stronger emotion.

In it went. So smooth and unremarked that I scarcely knew it was there. Instead, I drifted off into a late daydream of dutch apple pie, angels’ wings, dancing hamsters, and waltzing kittens.

When I woke I went off to the bathroom for relief and, while washing my hands, I looked into the mirror and thought….

“It’s all about soul.”

I dried my hands and went out into the living room for coffee. As I poured cream into my coffee I watched the white fluid swirl in the dark steaming mug like the long tendrils of stars spattering the intergalactic dark and I thought to myself,

“It’s all about soul.”

Later I lay in bed, restless and fitful because, I believed, of all the food I had foolishly eaten. But then my mind, tired of an hour or so of ceiling patrol, stopped me and informed me in no uncertain terms,

“It’s all about soul.”

That doleful line, in perfect key, repeated itself horribly for hours and hours until, somewhere towards dawn, I slept.

I awoke in a grey dawn with the vague hope of chicken sandwiches slathered in mayo and topped with crisp lettuce and a smear of cranberry sauce. I walked innocently into the bathroom and put some toothpaste on my brush and began to clean my teeth. I glanced into the mirror and, as the bush went up and down in a familiar tempo, I heard, clear as crystal….

“It’s all about soul.”

I shook it off and went downstairs where the house guests were gathering around the cook of the morning who was turning out one tray of fresh cheese and bacon scones after another. He handed me a plate with three and asked me to take a bite. I did.

“So, what do you think about that scone?” he asked.

I said, “It’s all about soul,” lit my hair on fire and ran from the house screaming “I GOT THE FEAR! I GOT THE FEAR!”

My friends came after me and put me out with seltzer bottles. They took me back into the house, wrapped me in blankets next to the fire, and brought me hot buttered rums until I passed out.

I awoke at dusk and looked out through the mullioned windows at the sun setting rouge red behind the leafless trees that framed the sere grass and I reflected, not for the first time,

“It’s all about soul.”

And so it went. All that long day.

And the next day.

And the one that came after and the one that came after that.

Last night I was standing in the middle of the women’s sweater section in Macy’s at the local mall. I thought I had finally found a place where I could escape Joel’s incessant insistence in my swollen brainpan that

“It’s all about soul.”

Here, at least, the pre-Christmas (already?) Muzak would bring some shredded morsel of relief to my brain. And then, as if in response to the fading strains of “Silver Bells” I heard the insidious response to this hymn. I heard clearly that Christmas, more than any other day of the year was….

“… all about soul…
all about faith and a deeper devotion…..”

Which is when they tell me, I began to shout and rave that Billie Joel needed to be the first person visited in my time machine so that he could be strangled in his cradle.

Ranting about strangling babes in their cradles in department stores around Christmas time is not generally appreciated and security was called.

And so here I am, comfortable enough in these restraints. They’ve given me an Internet connection to keep me “occupied.”

I appreciate it. It gives me a chance to post this warning to others as yet unafflicted by this terminal earworm while keeping another window open with this playing on a loop.

It’s a comforting situation. They tell me that, with therapy and the right medication, I’ll soon be eligible for release. There will be a Billy Joel restraining order of course, but I can live with that. When it comes to Billie Joel, I know better than most that it’s not about the singer, “It’s all about soul.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • gwbnyc November 17, 2021, 8:54 AM

    …Billy Joel, have we?

    is that all about soul or a gyno exam?

    sing me another song, piano man, and I’ll dismember the harmonica player and use his limbs to throttle ya breathless.

    all promenaaaade…

  • James ONeil November 17, 2021, 9:17 AM

    Careful with your past time strangling.
    What rough beast slouches toward Chico to be reborn?
    The billy joels for you!

  • Daniel K Day November 17, 2021, 9:40 AM

    Is there a mixed drink named “Billy Joel”? If there was, what would it consist of?

    • WiscoDave November 17, 2021, 9:46 AM

      Billy Joel recipe
      3 oz Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee whiskey.
      3 oz Captain Morgan® spiced rum.
      6 oz Coca-Cola®

      “A bottle of white, a bottle of red
      Perhaps a bottle of rose instead
      We’ll get a table near the street
      In our old familiar place…”

      • Daniel K Day November 18, 2021, 4:09 PM

        Thank you, WiscoDave.
        Whiskey and rum mixed? I’ll try that some evening when it does not sound like a headache.
        Not much of a wine drinker here.

  • Skorpion November 17, 2021, 10:28 AM

    As if that aging, wannabe-Broadway hack would know anything about “soul”….

  • The Force Is Strong November 17, 2021, 10:45 AM

    May the Joel be with you.

  • ghostsniper November 17, 2021, 10:54 AM

    My understanding is that the earworm “loops” where your knowledge of the lyric ends.
    The cure for this malady is truly worse than the disease because in order to make the earworm die you must memorize ALL of the lyrics.

    But the earworm is relentless for no one can memorize ALL the lyrics ever written.
    chevy van
    it never rains in california

  • Callmelennie November 17, 2021, 12:58 PM

    If you cant purge it, next best thing is to permanently link it with a thought that you like, so that the whole thing is a wash

    Its all about soul
    Its all about Biden f@cking himself
    Its all about soul
    Cause after all, Epstein didnt kill himself

    • Wilfred Ruffian November 17, 2021, 1:24 PM

      Hey,he didn’t start the fire.

  • Dirk November 17, 2021, 4:47 PM

    Amazing Musician, especially like his early stuff. Mid 70s.


  • jwm November 17, 2021, 4:53 PM

    Earworm has been a plague for me since forever. I’m not kidding, I have a couple that go back to early childhood. And I know the lyrics to a zillion songs, which is probably a side effect of the earworm. I always hesitate clicking links to music. Remember some weeks back when Or host posted the video of Iris Dement singing, “Let the Mystery Be?” Still stuck there, and playing at full volume. I got all the lyrics stuck along with it.


  • Christopher L Hunt November 18, 2021, 2:42 AM

    The older I get, the more I dislike Billy Joel. I find most of his songs to be patronizing and condescending, especially “Only the Good Die Young.”

  • brinster November 18, 2021, 4:07 AM

    Billy’s as Lawng Island boy. He was in a local band called The Hassles in the late ’60s. They played at my best friend’s prom. But. He’s an asshole. He played for years with one group of guys until he decided he didn’t want to play with them any more and didn’t even tell them. He made an LP with a different bunch. Bass player Doug Stegmeyer committed suicide as a result. Don’t know if Billy went to his funeral.

  • ghostsniper November 18, 2021, 7:16 AM

    In June 1978 I was discharged from the army and was at my Dad’s house opening the many boxes of brand new Pioneer audio equipment I had purchased in Germany and sent home.

    My younger brother was helping me set the rig up and when he seen the hundreds of albums I had he asked, “Hey man you got any Billy Joel?”

    Instantly I whirled and cracked him right across the yap.

    As he was policing his shit up off the floor I informed him that this was a very hard core R&R set up and pussified nonsense has no place here.

    Joel has never made a single red centavo off’n my ass.

  • gwbnyc November 18, 2021, 9:11 AM

    I wikied “Dale Brown” who I initially imagined was Mrs. Leonard Slye- corrected upon reading I found Brown was a successful novelist. Mentioned were titles of his known as the “Patrick McLanahan Series”.

    I said to myself, “That’s a really long name to have to type repeatedly.”

  • teresa November 18, 2021, 9:46 AM

    In the early 90’s I was employed at the hospital a certain man’s then-wife was taken to after the helicopter she was riding in with her boyfriend crashed. He was unaware she had a boyfriend until he was notified of the accident.
    The ICU staff oohed and ahhed over her fabulousness and the fact that the only beauty product she had that we recognized was Ban roll-on. The night nursing supervisor was asked to lightly saute garlic in EVO and toss it with al dente pasta for her. She was given a ham salad sandwich.

    • Dirk November 19, 2021, 9:04 AM

      Interestingly enough, “Christie “ still looks plastic to me.