“Everything Put Together Falls Apart” by Paul Simon – Amazon Advent Calendar Day 10

Album Art

Everything Put Together Falls Apart

Paul Simon

Paul Simon

Genre: Pop

Behold: Paul Simon’s anthem to entropy.

Though he just as easily could have been writing about my ongoing relationship with the technology in my home and office. My own little monologue piece on this topic goes along the lines of

“Oh, for God’s sake. Seriously? You know, this morning, when I was in bed reading comic strips and gossip sites, you know, just messing around, you were working perfectly. Perfectly. But now, you seem to sense that I’m in my office and it’s actually important that you help me to reach this goal and complete this task before a specific deadline. Because you’ve chosen now, of all times, to convert yourself from a sleek and powerful analytical engine to a single-function generator of Spinning Beachballs.

“Which is not to say that the beachball you’re showing me isn’t lovely.. Such bright, cheery colors! Look how it spins, spins, spins. And spins. Spinspinspinspin. Why, I could stare at that all afternoon. Oh, right: that’s precisely what I’ve been doing. Instead of working and getting things done, you see.

“I think I understand what you’re up to, here. You’re two years old and you know that I’m probably thinking about replacing you in a year or so. You figure that if you can prevent me from getting any of my work done, I’ll lose all of my writing gigs and then I won’t be able to even afford a new MacBook.

“Is that it? I’m exactly right, aren’t I?”

Paul Simon happens to be a singer/songwriter. So his own reaction to the same sort of mental state goes like this:

Everything put together
Sooner or later falls apart
There’s nothing to it, nothing to it
You can cry
You can lie
For all the good it’ll do you

It’s a far more listenable, I must admit. Though hold off on your final judgment until my composer gets back with a few sketches of the melody. I really think “You Choose NOW To Lose Contact With Your Nameservers?” could be the “My Way” of our modern generation.

“Everything Put Together Falls Apart” is a fascinating tune. I’ve heard it a hundred times…

No, wait: this is the Digital Age. I shouldn’t sleepwalk through this and slug in a piece of tired old hyperbole, when I can tab over to iTunes, call up the Get Info box on this track, and get you an exact figure.

Hmm. OK, apparently, I’ve heard it twelve times.

Well, no matter. Even if I had played it a hundred times I still don’t think I’d understand the song’s structure. If it ever shows up on Rock Band — they’d have to issue it a special Folk/Pop waiver, I realize — you could only play it on “expert” level because the melody keeps getting distracted by shiny objects in the distance and wandering away. If your marching band can play and and march to this song, then yours is a very, very good band indeed and I wish to encourage your hard work with the purchase of waxy fundraising candy.

And I do like the sentiment the song expresses (after we set aside the “Dude, taking uppers and downers to get through the day will have long-ranging consequences of both a medical and a legal nature” part). Entropy always wins. Things will fall apart. You can take that to mean “…so what’s the point?” but I see it as a reminder of why it’s so important to keep building.

It’s easy…so long as your damned MacBook feels like it wants to actually function today.

(Yes, my workday began about an hour late this morning. Things were so slow that I needed to close every document, window and app and restart.)

Listen to “Everything Put Together Falls Apart” on the Amazon MP3 Store.

Yes indeed: that link is embedded with my Amazon Associated code. If you click it, everything you buy during that session will result in a small kickback for me in the form of Amazon gift credits. I swear on my love of God and Country that I’ll spend those credits wisely. Which is to say: on foolish things.

Or maybe I’ll use them to buy a new MacBook.

(Aside to readers: probably not. But I’m writing this on Lilith 9, my current MacBook. I think it’s a good motivator to remind your staff from time to time that nobody’s irreplaceable.)

1 thought on ““Everything Put Together Falls Apart” by Paul Simon – Amazon Advent Calendar Day 10

  1. Dominic Thoreau

    Paul Simon’s song structures are like that for a reason. He once said (I think during a VH1 Behind the Music documentary for the Graceland album that he feels if you know exactly what’s about to happen next that you’re already slightly bored, and that this was to be avoided at all costs. Thus he tends to add a lot of almost baroque flourishes, where there’s a lot of detail that sounds interesting, but isn’t entirely important.

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