Bring On The Country-Fried Schmaltz

Published in The Ferndale Record-Journal, March 18, 2009

Much of Whatcom County is rural, it’s true. Rustic living has definite charm, and while many residents here understand the challenges of living downwind from a dairy farm, we still seem to opt for life outside the big city.

But after a solid 30 years of living in these parts, and at least a portion of it nowhere near a neighborhood, I have never embraced the music that’s considered a staple of the countrified life.

I’ve known many fine folks who live and breathe the Country-Western genre. Cowboy boots, bolo ties, and pickup trucks with gun racks have rarely been part of my personal experience, however.

The phenomenon of one woman’s twangy trash being another’s down-home ear candy occurred to me some years ago on a road trip across central Idaho. The inordinate amount of Country music stations on the radio plagued my drive.

I was alone and it was late. Was there no Disco? No smooth jazz? No classic rock to guide me through the blackness? Nope. Just those wailing, slide guitars and accompanying nasal deliveries, or sappy spoken-word numbers that would bore a bag of doorknobs. I hated them all.

Until a couple of weeks ago.

I attended a workshop studying the effects of language on the human brain, and our presenter came up with a list that dazzled mine.

It seems that just in time for Valentine’s Day 2002, New York Times journalist Tom Kuntz tore off a gem of a column listing some Country song titles—really, really bad ones. Turns out it was a list compiled by Mike Harden of The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio. Apparently, Harden makes an exhaustive search each year to come up with what he calls the “Worst Country Song Titles Of All Time Until The Next Time.”

While I don’t appreciate this music, it’s hard not to be drawn to a song dubbed, “You’re A Hard Dog To Keep Under The Porch.”

Here’s another country-fried jewel: “I’d Rather Have A Bottle In Front Of Me Than A Frontal Lobotomy.” Be honest. Aren’t you just a little curious about a song with a title like this?

The names range from the predictable—“How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?”

To the outrageous—“I Don’t Know Whether To Kill Myself Or Go Bowling”

To the sublimely ridiculous—“If The Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me”

Here, I’ll share a few of the best, but to mine more glistening Country gold, Google Tom Kuntz or Mike Harden.

Please remember, these are actual song titles. Use them responsibly.

“I Would Have Wrote You A Letter, But I Couldn’t Spell Yuck!”

“I’ve Been Flushed From The Bathroom of Your Heart”

“Get Your Biscuits In The Oven, And Your Buns In The Bed”

“I’d Rather Pass Another Kidney Stone Than Another Night With You”

“You Done Stomped On My Heart And Smashed That Sucker Flat”

“Beauty’s In The Eye Of The Beerholder”

“She Made Toothpicks Out Of The Timber Of My Heart”

“Did I Shave My Legs For This?”

And my personal favorite, “If My Nose Were Full Of Nickels, I’d Blow It All On You.”

Perusing the list reminds me of something I heard Comedy Central’s fake news guru Stephen Colbert shout out to the audience last week. “Crank up the crazy and rip off the knob!”

Now, there’s a song title.


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