Copyright

Copyright: (n) the exclusive right to make copies in music

I had just turned nineteen years of age when I was sitting in the back area of my mother and father’s loan company which they had opened in our small town, and for some inexplicable reason, there was a piano situated in one of the corners.

I don’t know how it got in there. I don’t know whether someone was unable to pay their loan and offered their piano as penance—but it was there.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I was also present—with my new wife, whom I had only been married to for about seven months, but we already had a first son. (You do the math.)

Long story apparently being made longer, I decided to walk over to that piano and write a song. I had sung songs for years. I had done my karaoke versions of popular tunes long before the “Kary” came from “Okie.”

I don’t know what gave me the idea that I could write a song. Maybe it was because I was nineteen and pretty convinced I could do anything. Somewhere in the expanse of the next hundred and eighteen minutes, I wrote two songs. I had no idea if anybody would think they were good—I was so damn impressed with them that the notion of seeking another opinion seemed redundant.

I did not know if I would ever write another song, so I immediately wanted to make sure these two songs were not only recorded, but copyrighted—to make sure that no less-talented individuals would steal them, attaining great notice and gain.

There were two ways to copyright my songs. I could make original copies of the lead sheet and words, and mail them to myself, and never open that envelope because it would have the stamped date on the outside from the official Post Office.

This did not sound dramatic enough to me.

So instead, I pursued the other avenue, which was to contact the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C, and receive innumerable forms, which I filled out, paying a small price for each composition. From that point on, once it was cleared that my songs were indeed original, I would have a copyright for all time.

My God. Who could resist such majestic red tape?

I went through the entire process, and even today, somewhere buried deep in a box in one of my closets, is a certificate informing the whole world that my two songs made a visit to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and returned home again—sanctified.


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Almost

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Almost: (adv.) not quite or very nearly: e.g. he almost knocked Georgina over

I don’t want to be cynical but I must point out that we have become the Almost States of America.

“Almost” is our new favorite word. It used to be a compound word — “fries-with-that.” But now, we have embraced the message of emotional anemia, spiritual weakness, mental denseness and physical laziness.

May I give my definition of “almost?”

  • It is the universal certificate given for trying.
  • It is the party thrown for a victory that never arrived.
  • It is the hug provided for losers.
  • It is the hand grenade that never exploded.
  • It is the swimming pool without water.
  • It is the kiss on the cheek.
  • It is the “let’s be friends” in the vernacular.
  • It is the pat on the back instead of the vigorous thump.
  • It is the reassurance we give one another, that most of the time it is the lot of human beings to see the finish line and pull over well short, for a McDouble.

I am guilty of failing, but I have forbidden my addicted, crack-whore soul from going down the path to the pusher of inadequacy and getting my fix of blandness.

Yes, I am prepared to fail without being told that I tried.

I want to look at the pile of stink I’ve left behind in my endeavors without insisting that it’ll be good fertilizer for the future.

I want to admit that my “almost” was not only not good enough, but should be forgotten as quickly as possible, in a flurry of sweat-drenched training.

  • We almost have a President.
  • We almost have a Congress.
  • We almost have progress.
  • We almost have racial equality.
  • We almost have an educational system.
  • We almost have a solution for poverty.
  • We almost have drug addiction on the run.
  • We almost have figured out gun control.
  • We almost have a church.
  • We almost have entertainment.
  • We almost have excellence.
  • We almost have almost of what we need, without having almost of what it will take to do almost everything.

Don’t tell me I tried. Don’t tell me I almost got it. Let me fail. Let me suffer.

Let me rise from my ashes  … and do better.

The Almost States of America could never have won the Civil War. We could never have defeated Hitler. And we certainly would never have landed a man on the moon.

If we’re not careful, hundreds and hundreds of years from now we will be remembered like ancient Athens–a society that tried democracy … and almost pulled it off.