“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”, Sly & the Family Stone

Thank You

This is a song with layers.  We all play different roles in life, but that doesn’t mean we’re phony.  Most of us have to be fake at work when dealing with difficult people.  We have our roles in the family.  Our roles as friends.  Neighbors.  Customers.  Whatever our role, we often don’t feel like we can completely be ourselves.

 

“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” is about that sort of stuff to an extent.  But since it was recorded in 1969 there are also racial and social connotations that are evident upon examination of the lyrics.  The first stanza is about police violence, or white supremacist violence in general. 

 

Lookin’ at the devil grinnin’ at his gun

Fingers start shakin’, I begin to run

Bullets start chasin’, I begin to stop

We begin to wrestle, I was on the top

 

Racial attitudes were changing, slowly but surely. 

 

I want to thank you falettinme be mice elf agin

Thank you falettinme be mice elf agin

 

All any of us want is to be liked and respected for who we are.  Nobody wants to have to pretend their way through life. 

 

Flamin’ eyes of people fear burnin’ into you

Many men are missin’ much, hatin’ what they do

Youth and truth are makin’ love, dig it for a starter, now

Dyin’ young is hard to take, sellin’ out is harder

People are afraid of The Other, so they are prejudiced.  People work jobs they don’t like because they need to pay the bills, but then they often miss out on the most important things in life.  Young people are the ones who make the change in the world.  Nobody should have to sell their soul to get through life. 

 

I chose this song because I am looking for an opportunity to be myself 100% of the time.  As long as I work for other people, that cannot happen.  As long as I have to wear an apron and a name tag, that cannot happen.  As long as there is a corporate entity signing my measly paychecks, that cannot happen.  In my non-work life, I am myself wherever I go.  I know what’s appropriate and what’s not for certain settings, but that’s not being phony; that’s being respectful.  I don’t get a lot of respect in my current job, either from the company or from many of the customers.  But no matter how poorly I am treated—and paid—I am supposed to be a robot and pretend it doesn’t bother me.

 

That’s not the way it should be.  That’s the way it is, of course, but that’s not the way the world should work.  Some people are always going to be entitled assholes, and there’s nothing we can do about that.  But why should I be required to absorb someone’s insults?  Why should I have to kiss their asses because I’m afraid of losing my part-time, minimum wage job?  Why is this sort of bad behavior rewarded?  Why do people like this have all the power?  This is the basis for the Brat Economy.  Companies are afraid to not give in to unreasonable demands because they don’t want to lose customers.  Customers can be as abusive as they like and there are no negative consequences.  They will always feel justified, even if everyone else thinks they’re a piece of shit. 

 

It should be more like this:

 

Dance to the music all night long

  Everyday people, sing a simple song

Mama’s so happy, mama starts to cry

Papa’s still singin’, you can make it if you try

 

I would love to work for a company where I was treated fairly and respectfully by everyone.  I would love to not be yelled at about things I cannot control.  I would love to be able to explain things to people who have reasonable reactions to what I’m saying.  But that’s not going to happen any time soon, so I am not meant to be in customer service.  I like helping people.  I enjoy it when someone I have waited on is happy.  I really do!  But I am not allowed to enjoy my job.  There is too much emphasis on being a corporate drone.  I cannot be that.  I can only be me.

 

Nobody tells Oprah what to do.  Or Cher.  Or Madonna.  Or Bill Gates.  Or Richard Branson.  These people are all exceptionally successful, and they don’t have to compromise who they are.  That’s what I want.  And it’s not about fuck you money—well, not just about that!  They all had a vision of what they wanted, and they did everything they could to get it.  They failed.  They had some successes.  They failed some more.  But they stayed true to themselves along the way.  They made it because they tried. 

 

I am not a good actress, even though I have been in a few independent films.  I pretty much played myself in those movies because I don’t know how to become a character.  Madonna cannot act for shit, because she’s Madonna 24-7.  Her persona is bigger than all of her talents combined.  But she’s still successful and powerful.  She does whatever the fuck she wants to do.  You can call her an attention whore if you want, you can say she’s nothing more than a provocateur.  She is who she is, and fuck off if you don’t like her—you’ll pay attention to her anyway. 

 

I want to earn a living doing what makes me happy.  I want to write whatever I want and get paid for it.  I want to have time to spend with family and friends.  I want to be able to chillax whenever I want to.  I want to do yoga and go to the gym every day.  I want to cook great meals and make delicious desserts.  I want to treat people I love to special gifts just because.  I want to help strangers who are struggling.  I want to travel and learn different languages.  Because these things make me who I am.  This is what we all want out of life, a chance to be ourselves.  I am not afraid of showing the world who I am.  I write this blog to figure my shit out, and to share my journey with others. 

 

Thank you, dear readers, falettinme be mice elf agin. 

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