Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thursday Lyric: Waiting for the B Train

I'd be tempted to make some sort of political allegory out of this, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader, which we can discuss in comments. The real reason I'm posting it is that it's funny, and in that slightly morally confusing sort of way that makes you laugh, think, laugh, and hope the next song comes on soon....

Waiting for the B Train
by Christine Lavin.
Copyright 1995 (ASCAP)

I dropped a token in the slot
Pushed through the turnstile
There was a woman at the end of the platform
Waving her arms around kind of wild
"Come here" she wailed,
"There’s a puppy on the rails
I think it has been hurt!"
I raced down to where she was pointing
To see a ball of fur covered with dirt

"It must be dead" I said to her
As I turned to leave
"No, it’s alive!" she cried,
"Just before you got here I swear
I saw it breathe
And I’ll watch for the train if you’ll jump down
Pick him up and hand him to me
I’ll take him to the vet. If we save his life
Think how wonderful that will be!"

I looked down through the tunnel
There was no train in sight
I looked at the furry thing lying there
A truly pitiful sight
"Look", I said, "I’m not sure that’s a puppy
It could be a lice-infested long-haired rat
And it’s got to be dead so I’m not jumping down"
I figured that was that

By then more people had arrived on the platform
And she yelled
"Help! There’s a puppy on the tracks!"
They looked for a moment, then like true New Yorkers
Collectively turned their backs
Then she said "Somebody's gotta do something"
As they slowly turned around again
"Someone must have the courage to save him
It’s a puppy! It's man’s best friend!"

"Trains come through here every few minutes"
Said a man wearing madras pants
"And It’s way too dangerous! You’d have to be nuts
To take such a foolish chance!"
But the woman was insistent
"In the time we’ve been debating
One of you could have jumped down
Handed him to me, by now that puppy could be
At the animal shelter ‘cross town!"

We felt bad, but no one would do it
When a transit cop appeared
Down at the other end of the platform
We all yelled "Hey You! Come here!"
He ran to us, I pointed at the tracks
Said "See that thing? Furry, not too big?
What do you think it is?" he looked and said

"What? You mean that wig?"

We stepped back, a rush of embarrassment
Swept right through the crowd
Accented by the blast of a train whistle
Approaching and growing quite loud
The B train flattened that furry thing
We got on board, went on our way
Grateful we didn’t risk our lives
To save the life of a wig that day

So if you see something weird on the train tracks
Take a tip from me
Don’t let anybody talk you into saving it
It’s best to just let it be
And if you ever see a person wearing
What looks like a puppy on their head
Don’t call the police, it’s only a wig
And chances are it’s already dead

You can see other lyrics and poetry here.

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