Friday, January 9, 2009

Let Us Sing of the Recession

©2009 by LeeZard

We are in a recession of nearly historic proportions and something keeps telling me to write about it. The problem is, nothing new comes to mind. Experts and non-experts with far more economic expertise than LeeZard have written ad-nauseum about this sorry state of affairs. I have a solution.

I’ve always said “LeeZard has a lyric for everything (usually someone else’s).” Let’s go to work shall we. See how many tunes you can name without looking at the footnotes.


1.  The place I go to draw my pay,
Closed the door on me today.
Told me just to stay away,
And don't come back again.

2.  Project cancelled
Tumbling central
Red money.

3.  They used to tell me
I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead.
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?

4.  Now thems were hard times back in the eighties boy
People barely had enough to get by.
Oh not me footloose and fancy free
There was nothin' to myself I'd deny.
But fellas listen to my story now
Though you have heard this tale before.
Take care of your needs and watch out for your greeds
Or that wolf will be at your door

5.  Wire in a fire representing seven games in a government for hire…

6.  Take me to the power
Take me to the heat
Take me to the cleaners
If it's open to the street.

Something's got to pay off
Something's got to break
Someone's got a fortune that they're begging
Me to take.

7.  When the money runs out
What will we do?
Turn around and start anew.
Takes all your lovin' babe
To pull me through.
Without your love what would I do?

8.  Once I lived the life of a millionaire. Spending my money, I didn't care.
I carried my friends out for a good time, buying bootleg liquor, champagne and wine.
Then I began to fall so low I didn't have a friend
And no place to go. So if I ever get my hand on a dollar again I'm gonna hold on to it ‘til them eagles grin.

9.  My stock is down and out. I used to be worth my weight in gold.
That was before the great depression kicked in and rocked us.
And that was before the hurricane came in and stopped us.

10. Money, it's a crime,
Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a raise it's no surprise that they're
Giving none away.

11. All of these people are much brighter than I
In any fair system they would flourish and thrive
But they barely survive
They eke out a living and they barely survive.

12. Are you out there Mr. no one.
Is my investment growing?
Sorry that I got so drunk
But I wrote you a poem

Did you search me?
Did you turn me over?
While I cold turkeyed
On the sofa?

Did you steal my money?

13. Yes, please somebody,
please go out to Washington for me.
Yes, please, please somebody,
please go out to Washington for me.
Yes, think about us out here.


1. “Worried Man,” Johnny Cash
2. “Red Money,” David Bowie
3. “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” Gorney & Harburg
4. “I Used to Have Money One Time,” Jimmy Buffet
5. “It’s the End of the World As We Know it,” REM
6. “Easy Money,” Billy Joel
7. “When the Money Runs Out,” Leo Sayer
8. “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” Cox & Feldman
9. “Movin’ Mountains,” Usher
10. “Money,” Pink Floyd
11. “It’s Money That Matters,” Randy Newman
12. “Did You Steal My Money?” The Who
13. “Recession Blues,” Author Unkown (Performed by Billie Holiday)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back Out - Out Back

©2009 By LeeZard

Many of you might be wondering, “Where have you been, LeeZard?” Many others probably don’t give a damn. Whatever. I have a note from my doctor.

It seems my back surgery of November 24, 2008 was merely an appetizer. The gods of back pain were not through with me. About a month after surgery, I made the silly assumption that I’d be able to resume some semblance of a normal life. So, when the Pacific Northwest was hit by a series of uncharacteristic snowstorms that left nearly a foot of white stuff outside Chateau LeeZard, I didn’t hesitate to pick up a snow shovel – and that 50-pound bag of sand. BIG mistake.

Two days later, when a car got stuck in a snowdrift outside of The World’s Best Girlfriend’s (TWBGF) house, I likewise dove right in with a snow shovel. Second BIG mistake. Later that evening my back was a little sore. The next morning I was back to big time back pain. To quote my latest hero, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, “Holy crap!”

This was different than the pain that led to my first surgery. That was severe soreness down the back of both legs caused by a compressed spinal canal. That pain was gone. YAY!

This was sharp pain starting on the right side of my lower back, running through my butt then down my right hip and leg. Each day it got worse until the Aleve was no longer working and I called my faithful Doc.

“Mmmm,” he Mmmmed, “sounds like a herniated disc.” That didn’t sound good to moi. “Let’s get you right in for an MRI,” he added (“Gee, I haven’t had one of those in a few weeks,” thought I.) “We’re right up against New Year’s Eve and if it is what I suspect, I’ll want you to see the back surgeon before the holiday.”

“Yup,” said Doc the next morning following my MRI, “it’s just what I thought. You’d better call the surgeon. I’ll send him the report.”

Well, quicker than you could say “Holy crap,” the back doc was on the phone saying, “Don’t even bother to come in to the office. I’ll see you in surgery this Monday. I’ll explain it to you before we go in.” That didn’t sound good to moi.

In the meantime, the pain got worse – which I didn’t think was possible. By New Year’s Day I was once again incapable of walking and close to tears every time I tried to stand up. Even though I still had a very healthy memory of my recent physical withdrawal from narcotic painkillers, I did not hesitate (under Doc’s guidance) to jump right back on the Vicodin train. “If you take it only for the week before surgery, you shouldn’t have to worry,” he counseled. By the weekend, the Vicodin was useless and I was once again contorted in agony. Never have I so eagerly awaited a surgical procedure.

The hours dragged by ever so slowly but Monday morning finally came and the back doc stopped by pre-op to tell me what he’d be doing. “We’ll be carving away the portion of the disc that is herniated. Compared to your last procedure, this is fairly minor.”

“By the way,” he added, “this is unbelievable. You should’ve been able to shovel that snow without any problem.” Thanks, doc.

That evening as I lay in my hospital bed enjoying a surprisingly pain-free post-op drug haze, the back doc stopped by.

He looked at me for a minute and shook his head. “I can only imagine the pain you were in. When I got in there it was much worse than what showed in the MRI. Your disc EXPLODED. I was pulling fragments out all over the place, from behind the nerves, everywhere.” It sounded like he was describing post combat surgery and shrapnel removal.

Today, as I write this, I am just a little sore but I can walk without a limp. I took one pain pill yesterday after I got home from the hospital and one this morning. But, for the first time since last February, I feel like it is (duck, here comes the pun) finally behind me.

Are there lessons from all of this? Well, I found out how much pain I can take before I become a blithering idiot. I also learned that the phrase “good with pain” is total bullshit.

I also learned – and here I’m going to get a little sappy – that no matter how bad things get, I still find things in life for which I am grateful and I can still find time to think of, and help, others. Perhaps the biggest lesson, though, is knowing that I don’t have to hide from adversity and there is no shame in depending upon others for help.