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Melted Cheese

December 9, 2008

Picture an incredibly warm, sunny afternoon in the middle of who-knows-where Arizona.  The sun envelopes your skin closely, baking it through and through.  It seems to hang much closer to the ground here than it does elsewhere on Earth.  A girl stands on a street corner with her mother, waiting to cross.  She is wearing an oversized caramel t-shirt and shorts that are just a bit too short to be seen from far away.  She never did learn how to pack.  As she stands and waits, from across the street to the left a drunk Hell’s Angel with a liquor-thick Southern accent hollers, “Hey!  Is yore dawghter ayteteen?”  She is sure the tipsy biker isn’t talking about her.  Her mother is sure of the opposite.  Who was that girl?  None other than yours truly.  Adventures in the realm of cheesy rock.

It all began in another tiny sun-soaked town a few days before the biker incident.  You see, “Take it Easy” was a smash hit for the Eagles, and a small goldmine for a little patch of the Southwest.  It starts, “Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see.  It’s a girl my lord in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.”  There really is a Winslow, Arizona, and it is home to no less than three stores selling all things Eagles.  One of them even has “Take it Easy” on a loop wafting from speakers near the door.

Nearby is a statue of Glenn Frey, the Eagles’ lead singer, guitar at his side.  Behind him, on a wall missing the rest of its building, is a mural of girl in a pale blue pick up truck.  Winslow is proud of its fifteen minutes of fame, and don’t you forget it.

I really couldn’t believe how elaborate it all was.  So much effort dedicated to two lines in a song.  As a tribute I bought a t shirt that said “I drove ___ miles out of my way to stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona”.  I still haven’t decided how many miles should fill in the blank, and I’m tempted to add “and I don’t even like the Eagles” to the bottom.  But that’s not what the shirt is about.  Instead it’s a reminder of the ridiculous, strangely heartwarming legend that sprang up around the song.  It’s cheese rock at its finest, and it’s mostly harmless.  Just make sure you don’t get too near a Hell’s Angel.

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