Saturday, February 23, 2013

Take It Easy

Did you see the two-part Eagles documentary on Showtime?

Well I did.  I have a great fondness for the Eagles, if for no other reason than the three weeks I spent cleaning up the parts trailer for the construction plumbing company I worked for during the summer of 1972.  The gist of the thing was this:  One box should have nothing but half inch brass quarter turn fittings in it.  The next one should have nothing but one inch nipples.  A third should consist only of nine inch saucer-heads.  The list went on and on.  You have no idea how many different things are needed to conduct the act of construction plumbing.  The trailer in question was a standard semi-trailer.  So let's assume there were at least five hundred boxes of whatevers.  And every one of those whatevers was in the wrong box.

Nine inch saucer-heads--that's what we called them.  I honestly have no idea today what it is they were, but nine inch saucer-heads were a source of great merriment for me and my mostly rednecked co-workers.  The jokes typically centered around our shared wish to have nine inch saucer-heads instead of the relatively skimpy actual penises God had given us.

Hey, we were rednecks.  Actually, I wasn't a redneck.  I was a college kid pretending to be a redneck, because the money you made in construction was higher than your typical summer job.  I was a capitalist pretending to be a redneck.  The fact that I drove a Triumph TR-3 aroused some initial suspicion, but I fit in pretty quickly.

And besides, it was some good clean fun on a hot summer day with a shovel in your hand.  Which we called spoons, by the way.  And on the days when we all went to the 7-Eleven to get our lunch and a pretty girl walked in ... well it was simply a matter of time before somebody offered up a saucer-head joke.

Actually it was the giggling before the joke came out that was probably the most fun.  The anticipation of the thing.  Lord?  Please forgive me.  I was 18.  And a plumber.

Anyway, it took me nearly a month to get the saucer-heads, et al, in their designated bins, racks, drawers, etc.  And it was as hot as blazes in that damned trailer.  When Dick Cheney finally makes his way to the sixth or ninth circle of Hell (I can't decide if his greatest sin was violence or treachery), he'll have some idea of what my summer was like.

My only comfort was a crappy little radio.  And it seemed like not an hour went by when the DJ didn't play Take It Easy, by the Eagles.  Wikipedia offers this ...

"Take It Easy" is a song written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, and most famously recorded by the Eagles (with Frey singing lead vocals). It was the band's first single, released on May 1, 1972. It peaked at #12 on the July 22, 1972 Billboard Hot 100chart, spending 11 weeks on the chart that summer, after debuting at #79 on June 3.[1][2][3] It also was the opening track on the band's debut album Eagles and it has become one of their signature songs, included on all of their live and compilation albums. It is one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll

I had one other job during that period of time.  My job was to cut lengths of 3/4" galvanized iron gas piping to order, then thread them with a thread cutter.

Threading the pipes was a sort of a kick.  The pipe was clamped into a machine with a powerful electric motor that rotated it slowly when I hit the button.  So you'd clamp the pipe in, then attach the threader, then hit the button.  And you would douse the end of the pipe with a thin stream of crude oil (much the same way you make hollandaise sauce) to keep the cutting die from emulsifying.

And the smell of that oil.  I'll never forget it.  Rich, fragrant, closer to the way asphalt smells than the way, say, diesel fuel smells.

So two things:

1--Every time I hear Take It Easy by the Eagles, I think of that damned trailer.

2--Every time I smell crude oil I think of that damned song.

Which, of course, goes like this ...

Well, I'm running down the road 
Tryin' to loosen my load 
I've got seven women on my mind 
Four that wanna own me 
Two that wanna stone me 
One says she's a friend of mine 

Take it easy 
Take it easy 
Don't let the sound of your own wheels 
Drive you crazy 

Lighten up while you still can 
Don't even try to understand 
Just find a place to make your stand 
And take it easy 

Well, I'm a standing on a corner 
In Winslow, Arizona 
And such a fine sight to see 
It's a girl, my lord 
In a flatbed Ford 
Slowin' down to take a look at me 

Come on, baby 
Don't say maybe 
I gotta know if your sweet love 
Is gonna save me 

We may lose and we may win 
Though we will never be here again 
So open up, I'm climbin' in 
And take it easy 

Well I'm running down the road 
Tryin' to loosen my load 
Got a world of trouble on my mind 
Lookin' for a lover 
Who won't blow my cover 
She's so hard to find 

Take it easy 
Take it easy 
Don't let the sound of your own wheels 
Make you crazy 

Come on baby 
Don't say maybe 
I gotta know if your sweet love 
Is gonna save me 

Oh oh oh 
Oh we got it easy 
We oughta take it easy


Safe to say this stuff ain't Hamlet.  But it was catchy.

And the documentary?  Pretty stupid.  Unlike, say, Mick or Keith or John or George I don't really give a damn what Glen Frey or Joe Walsh or Don Henley has to say.  They were about as boring as a band that did that many drugs could be.

I did think this one was pretty good, though ...

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay,
Against your skin so brown
And I wanna sleep with you
In the desert tonight
With a billion stars all around
Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling
And I know you won't let me down
Cause I'm already standing on the ground

And I found out a long time ago
What a woman can do to your soul
Ah, but she can't take you anyway
You don't already know how to go
And I got a peaceful, easy feeling
And I know you won't let me down
Cause I'm already standing on the ground

I get this feeling I may know you
As a lover and a friend
But this voice keeps whispering
In my other ear, tells me
I may never see you again
Cause I got a peaceful, easy feeling
And I know you won't let me down
Cause I'm already standing,
I'm already standing,
"Yes, I'm already standing on the ground

Of course, I was 18 at the time.  And I'd never heard Bruce Springsteen or The Floating Men.


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