Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Expectations vs. Reality

I feel like television and movies give us some absurd expectations about life that we don't even realize until life fails to live up to those expectations.

Back in autumn, mumsy decided to get a chimney sweep to come in and clean out the fireplace and chimney in her new house.

Guys please tell me I'm not the only one who hears "chimney sweep" and immediately thinks:

EDIT: I realize many of you automatically think of chimney-sweep-Dick-Van-Dyke. I may be the only child in existence who hated the film Mary Poppins, so the chimney sweeps of other films and BBC period dramas come to mind first. Same difference--we expect a soot covered person in period clothing and that hat. 

A small soot-covered Victorian orphan boy did not show up at the house to sweep the chimney. It was just some burly dude with a bunch of tools.

We all agree that dramatic death scenes should have equally dramatic music, yes? Imagining the most dramatic events of your life that have not yet occurred, you probably add a great soundtrack to go with it. Even remembering past dramatic events, perhaps you mentally add Verdi's Requiem in the background.

This one time, a few friends and I were driving upstate to visit our friend Number2. At one point in the drive, one of the county roads ends at a T-junction, where it meets up with another county road that runs alongside a quarry and dammed lake. So directly on the other side of the road from the stop sign, there is a cliff and a several hundred foot drop onto jagged rock.

This is Upstate New York. Country roads. There are no police monitoring speed limits, so generally everyone drives 65 MPH+ on these windy roads. There are also no signs to warn you that there is a cliff and a several hundred foot drop ahead.

So we're driving along in the dark at night and M., who was driving, wasn't properly paying attention and that stop sign just appeared out of nowhere.

We were going like 80 MPH. We passed the stop sign. M. hit the brakes and swerved, but that cliff looked mighty close to us.

Somehow, presumably by the power of the Holy Spirit, the car did not go off the cliff. You could see the tire marks on the road from us skidding for months afterwards.

We retell this story with much dramatic flair, and a few weeks ago it occurred to M and myself just what we had been blasting on the car radio at that moment, a detail which has historically been left out of all of our re-tellings.

No my friends, we did not have a dramatic soundtrack of epic classical music with full chorus when we nearly drove off a cliff.

We nearly drove off a cliff to this:

I presume that is what saved our lives, because I cannot imagine a kind and loving God would ever let Wilson Philips be the last thing someone hears before plummeting to their death.


  1. There is no "Music to drive off a cliff to" not that I know of anyway.

    1. Sure there is. Something heavy metal, I think, would be appropriate.

  2. Orphan boy? Pfft. I want Dick Van Dyke and a crowd of filthy dancing men.

  3. Oh, Mich, this is sooo great, I actually shared it with my sister...my SISTER...you have to understand the implications (is that the word I'm looking for...?) of that..... ;)

  4. I should stop listening to intense rock. It may become the soundtrack to my death and I should hope that God chooses to let me live because the music wasn't badass enough. I haven't seen an actual chim-in-ey sweep (it's way better in a cockney accent) but I have heard they tend to be burly men and not miniature orphans.

    At least you met a burly man with tools.

  5. When I totaled my car oh so many years ago, "Bad, Bad Love" by Linda Ronstadt was playing on the radio. I haven't been able to hear that sing since without thinking of being upside down in a North Carolina ditch.

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  7. I'm glad you didn't die, and were able to "hold on for one more day." I'm even MORE glad you didn't die listening to Wilson Phillips, because I do NOT think that should be the soundtrack to your life flashing before your eyes.
    p.s. when I hear chimney sweep I picture soot-covered Dick Van Dyke. Every single time. And I get a lady boner b/c I love that drunken silly bastard.

  8. no, you are not the only one that assumes that a chimney sweep looks like that.

    i genuinely imagined that, plus could hear the sounds of Queen blaring through my head. oh, dear.

    oh, oh, i do know that for great things that are to come, i can sort of hearing Guido's song in my head. ah, great times.

    "There are also no signs to warn you that there is a cliff and a several hundred foot drop ahead." holy fucking shit.

    what? oh my God. i'm glad you're alive.

    i'm glad you didn't die. especially not listening to that, dear fuck.

    and amen to the whole heavy metal being driving off the cliff music. i'd say... hmm. Wolf & Raven comes to mind from Sonata as that's my favourite band. it sort of reminds me of Macbeth, you know - before he decided "yeah, my wife called me a pussy so i got to go kill me some king."

    -Sam Lupin

  9. I would rather that than a tool with a bunch of burly guys.

    I had a car accident to Eagles "Long Run". Seemed inappropriate to me and entirely the wrong tempo.

  10. Your chimney sweep pic could not be more accurate - that is what they are supposed to look like! Burly men are plumbers or electricians. Chimney sweeps are poor little orphan boys - and if they don't die of lung cancer before age 12 they become newsies.

    It sounds like upstate NY is no safer than the city. No lights or warnings of any kind? Yikes. Be careful out there!

    Also, listening to Wilson Phillips on a perilous road trip will always make me think of Harold & Kumar

    Not sure what epic music I'd choose for my life-flashing-before-my-eyes death scare moment. Something off Metallica's 'Ride The Lightning' perhaps?

  11. I would imagine music to drive off a cliff would be some kind of death metal. The kind performed by a band called something like "Satan's Inflamed Asshole" or "Anal Vomit Fuck."


We say whatever we want to whomever we want, at all times.