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I am a Monster

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

Yesterday, a dear friend asked me if I would come and play at his daughter's birthday party. She was turning seven. I am used to being invited to parties with the added request that I bring my guitar. No one asks my actress friend if she will do a monolog from a Law & Order SVU she was once on. No one asks my pal, a plumber, to demonstrate sink unclogging techniques - although I would like that a lot.


Eight-year-olds are not my normal audiences. I sing topical or political songs, depressing songs with a hopeful twist at the end, songs where I cuss a lot, and my specialties - songs about the apocalypse and repressed childhood lesbian attraction. My usual crowd consist of jaded middle-aged people who are so relieved when a show starts at 7:00 PM, as opposed to 10:PM. So, I was a little worried. I had never played a kids birthday party before. What songs do I play?


I asked the dad to tell me a couple of things that his daughter thinks is funny. I had the idea to write a little spontaneous song for her. He said, for some reason, she had been using the word "Banana Butt" lately. He added that she is obsessed with Abby, her Pony. So, I started with some uptempo songs like "Karen By Night". I told them she was a secret spy - not a lush who dressed in drag to sneak into gay male leather bars. So far so good. I had their full attention. I was a regular Raffi. Then, I went into the made-up song about how Abby the pony was a banana butt.


Well, all of a sudden, our birthday girl looked at me with such rage. I thought lasers would shoot from her eyes and strike me dead. She pointed and yelled that Abby was nice and not a Banana Butt! Then she got up, ran to her mother and cried. The performance ended.


I don't think in all my years of performing have I felt like such a failure! I made a seven-year-old birthday girl cry. I ruined her party, her birthday, possibly her life. I am a monster! I am the evil birthday clown that the parents hired. I am John Wayne Gacy!


I was stunned and couldn't help bursting into tears. The birthday girl skipped off with a couple of friends, then everything seemed to focus on me. I didn't mean it to be. All the parents, one by one, assured me that I did nothing wrong, that it was not my fault, that kids are, well... tricky. A couple of guys grumbled to me about cancel culture running amok. I have no idea how that correlates, but I got the idea that they say that about everything and as much as they can.


I waited for someone to take me home. I noticed that the birthday girl seemed okay. I spotted her laughing and grabbing another girl's hand to whisk her off to show her something. I, on the other hand, am scarred for life.


I once thought about doing a kids record. It would be so fun. I think I have a good lyrical and melodic sense for it. And I love kids! I actually do. But now? I think I will stick with adults, and I will never ever call anyone's pony, a Banana Butt.


As always, I will add a song here. This is I Hate Horses from the Dottie's Charm record


Bobby was a cowboy Liked to roam the Range It's a bar near Great Neck The man sold vans and he was strange Found a stirrup in the gutter Did a bourbon stumble home Laid the thing beside my pillow Smelled like garbage and an ice-cream cone I hate horses All my friends drew horses Never looked that free to me Scared and crazy as can be I hate, I hate horses Marina mimosas Another dude another time Said the stirrup changed the world Like the printing press or Patsy Cline He took me home to his pick-up We drank booze and watched the stars Said he team-roped in the rodeo That's code for something people do in cars I hate horses All my friends drew horses Never looked that free to me Scared and crazy as can be I hate, I hate horses But I got one stirrup to my name Cracked and dirty stirrup for my claim Trick rider, won't you lean down for me? I'm dying in this dust Oh, I hate horses All my friends drew horses Never looked that free to me Scared and crazy as can be I hate, I hate horses I hate, I hate horses


Jill Sobule / Adam Levy / Sam Lipsyte

5 Comments


gorelow jeff
gorelow jeff
Nov 23, 2021

One day the grown up seven year olds will look at the video and see the genius that was there at the party

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quinn3127
Nov 23, 2021

Ah well - the wee folk can be mysterious and capricious; things mostly went well, that should count for something.

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Debbie Cieslik
Debbie Cieslik
Nov 23, 2021

Adorable (except for the tears, of course)! So... now you hate horses AND ponies?!... ;)

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Dave Walsh
Dave Walsh
Nov 23, 2021

Lol, stories of failure always seem to be the best ones. In hindsight they become comical, but it sure sucks in the moment. Dottie's is a top 3 record of mine BTW of your vast catalog, and I got 'em all and then some.

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upstatealoyisus
Nov 23, 2021

Someday, birthday girl will come to know most ponies are indeed banana butts. For some reason your experience reminded of a 'Bewitched' episode: "The Solid Gold Mother In Law," where Samantha attempts to convince Darrin to allow Endora to give Tabatha a pony ride via witchcraft. : )

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