Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mama Don't Allow

Note: If you're concerned about the lyrics of modern songs, and the negative impact they can have on society and morals, this is the post for you. I also long for the good old days, long ago, when an occasional reference to "hoochie koo" was the worst you'd hear.  Even then, it went over most people's heads, thinking it had something to do with sneezing.

A song that really gets my goat is a country song called "Mama Don't Allow." The key thing in this song is that the instrumentalists in the band have a chance to show off their chops. Seems pleasant enough until you listen closely to the lyrics. In each case, it has to do with disobedience to Mama, as it is clearly stated that she doesn't allow whatever-it-is, the dobro, guitar, piano, etc.
Mama don't allow no guitar pickin' 'round here,
Mama don't allow no guitar pickin' 'round here.
Well, we don't care what Mama don't allow,
We're gonna pick our guitar anyhow.
Mama don't allow no guitar pickin' 'round here.
At which point the guitar picker joyously takes the instrumental break, and I turn it off. Because, in my opinion, that's shameful. If you're just wantonly going against your Mama's wishes, you're flirting with the destruction of society and life as we know it. In my opinion, Mama's will, her desires for us are only good. And whereas it might not be immediately clear to us why Mama would disallow guitar pickin', the piano, the dobro, fiddle, and all the rest, she must have a good reason; it's not necessarily for us to know.

For me, that's the policy that's going to get us furthest in life, accepting Mama's will whether we understand it or not. I firmly believe that. Was I ever disobedient to Mama? I actually was, and I lived to regret it! One day she caught me at the lake, playing with salamanders, when I was clearly told that I should never visit the lake by myself. She was angry, I'm sure, but since her whole concern was for my well-being, I know she was mostly relieved. I hadn't drowned nor suffered salamander poisoning, which was very bad that year.

From that moment on -- and I suffered terrible dreams of being dangled over the fires of hell -- I resolved to treat Mama's word like inviolate law. She said it, and whether her reasons were crystal clear to my feeble mind or entirely inscrutable, that's the way it was. Which policy, incidentally, led to me to be the clearheaded, mentally strong, entirely wise person you know so well today.

But too many people, I'm afraid to say, haven't had those experiences or dreams. And so they've never taken the vow. And these are some of the ones singing this vile song, "Mama Don't Allow." They think they're just having a "good time," laughing it up. Maybe their Mama was broken down in spirit, and kept to herself in the other room, and twiddled her thumbs. If she did, I'm sure she had her reason, worried that her children had somehow tragically slipped her grasp. The other Mamas held her up as an example of what not to do.

Of course I understand life, I understand how it goes. The very nature of music is it appears to grant greater freedom to the soul, which quickly veers off into some dangerous territories. Because if it's received by someone without sense and maturity, they can fall off the deep end just like that. Mama comes running in, her dress up around her face, crying her eyes red, but nothing can bring her children back. The transgression is accomplished, and the foundation of society, at least in miniature, has collapsed.

Somehow, tragically, to will the good is not just in us; it's tough to know the difference. Even Mama, I'm guessing, had to learn it somewhere, probably from her Mama. She knows boundaries are important, that you want to screen yourself off from what is negative. Just like she doesn't want you running in to expose yourself to dangerous viruses and bacteria, so she wants your mental condition to be kept safe.

So, next time you hear some jug band, or acoustic combo, going strong on "Mama Don't Allow," and they're giving you that big old stupid grin like they're enjoying themselves wantonly flaunting their disobedience -- going strong and confident on the dobro, piano, guitar, harmonica, bass, or even drums -- just withdraw from the scene and save yourself. If you can pull a person or two aside and tell them what's really going on, that would be good. But for Mama's sake, don't allow yourself to be pulled back in!

We want to get back to a righteous standard. And we need more Mamas speaking up to their children and loved ones before it's too late. That's my desire in life, now that my own Mama has passed on. I can still remember, of course, and, besides, I'm getting about old enough, music isn't much of a temptation at this point. I hear it from a distance and hobble the opposite direction just as fast as I can.

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