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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Context Shmontext

I love how things that sound perfectly reasonable in context can sound completely off the wall outside their context. Take a recent line I wrote for my story, for example:
I'd have to go commando for the rest of my stay, but I couldn't blame the zebra for it.

Within my story, that's a perfectly reasonable thing for my character to say. Reading it here by itself, though, would have the average person scratching their head and worrying for my sanity.

(Trust me, it really does make perfect sense in context.)

Or another favorite from my story Burn Me Once:
Never doubt a psychic old lady in thong underwears.  It ain't good for you.

Or those moments where, while absolutely not eavesdropping, you hear just a snippet of conversation from somebody nearby.  Something that makes you think Wow, I really started listening to that conversation at the wrong time.

I was reminded of this during a recent drive with SoundGuy, when the song "Kill the King" began to play in the truck.  In context, perfect sense.  It's Mordred singing about his desire to kill King Arthur and claim the throne for himself, and it shows up on a rock opera about King Arthur.

See?  Perfect sense.

It was the possible out of context reactions that had us laughing, though.  And that's because we were remembering how not long after I bought these CDs, LittleDude started Pre-K. 

When I first bought the Once and Future King CDs, we listened to them a lot.  So much that even my kids were singing along.  With most of the songs on those CDs, that wouldn't have been a big deal.  But the average person might have questioned my parenting decisions when hearing my  four-year-old sing these lyrics on the playground:
I wanna kill the King of Britain dead
I wanna thrust a knife deep in his chest
I wanna feel and see his blood run red

And if that's not bad enough?
I'll kill the King, I wanna see him dead
I wanna seize his Kingdom, gonna take his head
I wanna kill the King and rule myself instead

Yeah, I was waiting for the concerned phone call from his teacher.  Luckily it never came. But it's still one of my ultimate Out of Context moments.


Tess Harrison said...

I remember this story. Too funny!

Lynn said...

Just wait until you have stories like that with your little one! LittleDude still says "High Enough" is performed by the Darn Yankees and sings Darn / I hate the way you know me when From the Inside is playing. ;-)

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