Monday, September 21, 2015

Thank You!

One of my Facebook friends recently shared a video of Sly and The Family Stone performing "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" on the Dick Cavett Show.

Seeing it reminded me that Sly and The Family Stone were one of my favorite musical groups during my youth, and that TYFBMEA was one of my absolute favorite songs.

So I re-shared it, with this note: "I might ask to have this played at my memorial service when I'm gone. This, and the last movement of Brahms' Requiem."

Now, what you have to understand is that for DECADES, I have said that if I gained enough favor with enough people to have a large funeral, I wanted to have Brahms' "Ein Deutsche Requiem" performed. The last movement, in particular, expresses so well the confidence with which Christians can face death, that it dominated my internal soundtrack in the days after my mother's death.

But in the days since that Facebook post, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" has absolutely joined it at the top of my post-mortem playlist. As I played it over and over, I realized that I love this song more than ever.

I have found a video recording of the 45 on YouTube that I like better than the Dick Cavett Show performance, so here it is. This song makes me wish I had a huge, high-powered speaker system. I want to blast it so that my neighbors down the block are compelled to dance.


I believe in the power of music to enhance personal performance, if only by helping to calibrate our moods. For that reason, I have often started my days with Wagner's "The Ride Of The Valkyries." More recently, when preparing to make prospecting phone calls for LegalShield, I have fired up John Williams' title music for the 1978 "Superman" film.

Now, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" may replace both of them. Why? Because it reminds me that in the end - in the very end - the specific results of any specific effort simply don't matter as much as I have believed they do. Specific results matter less than skill, and skill matters less than the enthusiasm that will fuel the continued, repeated effort needed to gain skill (go ahead, re-read that as many times as you need to).

Did you know that the root of "enthusiasm" means "possessed by a god, inspired"? To do something with enthusiasm means to do it as if God were doing it through you.

I believe that the Creator of all things bright and beautiful possesses an infinite capacity for delight. So you know what? If a prospecting phone call ends with the other person agreeing to meet with me, I want to say, "Thank you." Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin.

And if a phone call ends with the other person saying "I'm not interested," I want to say, with no loss of enthusiasm (thank you, Mr. Churchill), "Thank you." Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin. Because it's not about their specific response on that specific call. It's about me making that call, and the next one, and the one after that. It's about me relentlessly being mice elf, agin and agin.

Quite seriously: this song could help me to become a millionaire. But that's not the half of it.

When I made that comment on Facebook about my memorial service, it really was just a passing comment, but the more I've thought about it since, the more I have realized how real it is for me.

I want to live the rest of my life in such a way that in the end, everybody who knew me can hear this song and say, "Yep, that was Elwin."

What song(s) would you want to be identified with?


Alphaeus Green said...

This is often in my alarm clock playlist and when I'm at my most productive it's my intention for the day: "Do It Good" Bill Withers.

Elwin Green said...

Thanks, +Alphaeus Green - I didn't know that one, and it's a fine, fun little song. Given that I don't recall ever hearing a Bill Withers song that I didn't like, I really should have more of his music on hand.

Alphaeus Green said...

Well post-1976 or '77 there's quite a few that aren't so great, but 'justments, Still Bill, Just As I Am, & Live at Carnegie Hall are treasure troves of soul/funk music.