Track 11 – Ghosts and Plastic Bags
Once I saw a plastic bag moving in the wind. I always get worried people are going to think of American Beauty when I say that, but it wasn’t caught in an updraft and beautiful to my artistically enlightened mind. No indeed. It was upside down and moving horizontally down the sidewalk. It looked like a Pac-Man ghost. It made me think, “What if ghosts lived in plastic bags?” After some thought I decided, “No, plastic bags, in fact, ARE ghosts!” I immediately started writing a song about it.
This is a road song. I also features a few of the favorite tropes. These are the slightly unhinged speaker, and the trajectory from pretty much normal to spiraling out of control. I wrote this song with a melodic range too wide for me to sing, so I have always sung an ‘altered’ version. Also, I frequently forget the words to this song. It can be embarrassing, but usually it is just funny. If you write songs with a lot of words, you are bound to forget some of them. There is an eco-message in one verse, very thinly veiled. There are a few jokes. There is a sort of cinematic image I was trying to achieve at one point. But, it really is all about some kind of Robert Frost ‘road not taken’ business.
At the beginning of this recording you get a taste of the sort of stage banter I engaged in at the time. People would often tell me I was very funny. I thought I was just talking. In the middle of this recording you can hear me either break a string or drop my pick. I don’t remember which. I say, “Whoops!” when it happens. I am proud to say that I just keep trucking. At the end of this recording, you can hear my good friend Erick saying, “Play that one again.” I thought I had edited out that part of the recording, but there it is. That is just about the biggest compliment I can think of, someone wanting to hear my song again.