‘Let It Be’ By Hoisting A ‘Red Solo Cup’

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 27, 2012

Since getting an iPod two years back, I’ve been slowly accumulating a very modest collection of songs. For Christmas, someone gave me an iTunes gift card. For $1.29 each, I bought two of the best songs ever written:
• “Let It Be” by The Beatles.
• “Red Solo Cup” by Toby Keith.
They move me.
The Beatles are, of course, the undisputed best band ever, and “Let It Be” speaks of the come-what-may spirit of the late 1960s when we worried only about the big things: Nuclear holocaust and Reds under ever bed. We didn’t expect government to be our nanny, build our cars and give us houses. We didn’t look to Big Brother to wipe our noses and make our beds. We worried about the Soviets nuking us to a cinder.
During that terrifying age, four British boys from Liverpool came across the pond to send American girls into a frenzy and make the boys grow their hair long in hope of earning the same reaction. In 1968 when the British band members were quarrelling, Paul McCartney penned “Let It Be” as a vision from his late mother Mary.
And when the brokenhearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be.
The Beatles didn’t let it be, of course. They broke up. I have been letting it be lately, and it has been good for my blood pressure and my waistline.
Along, now, comes the sage of this age, Toby Keith of Moore, Okla., where his name is painted on the big water tower on I-35 between Norman and Oklahoma City. He sings an ode to a red plastic cup, much like poet John Keats did to a Grecian urn in the 19th century. Only this is better.
There was a pent-up time in my life when I would have thought “Red Solo Cup” was silly and ridiculous. No more. At this stage, it’s deep. I had never talked to a plastic cup of any color, but I have often talked to understanding cows.
Keats is considered one of the greats of poetry. He said this to a fancy urn:
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
What did he mean by that? Only an English student with at least a master’s degree can say with any authority. Toby Keith, by contrast, speaks for the common man:
Now I’ve seen you in blue and I’ve seen you in yellow
But only you in red will do for this fellow
Cuz you are the Abbot to my Costello
And you are the fruit to my loom
There are a couple other verses that are actually more meaningful, but they include a few words that might cause the editor some problems with certain senior ladies Sunday School classes if they were printed here.
With my two new songs, I have mellowed. When I’m not letting it be, I’m drinking from a red Solo cup and talking to it in rhyme. I play the songs over and over when I’m driving. I’ve slowed down and drive much safer. What’s the hurry? Why speed toward our graves?
Some people hire psychiatrists. Some take pills. Me, I just hoist a red plastic cup and jump back and forth between The Beatles and Toby Keith on my amazing little music device.
I can name a few other up-tight, all-consumed fellows who could follow my example.
Let it be.