Thursday, June 11, 2009

In praise of Golden Boy Peanuts

Occasionally I'll hear a catchy song that celebrates the wondrous ordinariness of life, a stellar example being the song "Gold Boy Peanuts" by the Mountain Goats. Apropos of nothing, I found the chorus bouncing around in my head a few minutes ago,
there are no pan asian supermarkets down in hell
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts
there are no pan asian supermarkets down in hell
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts
and decided I wanted to hear the actual song, rather than just my mental reconstruction. A few Google searches later, and I'm still without the song (which is no real bother--I have the original Object Lessons:Songs about Products EP at home), but as a consolation I stumbled across this wonderful description of the song and its lyrics:

The Golden Boy peanut becomes the main attraction on the flashy streets of heaven. It is the reason for life—that elusive thing everyone searches for and few find. Don’t squeeze life for meaning anymore. Take a jaunt to your local pan-Asian supermarket and it can be yours for a low, low price.

The peanut seems like a good choice for ultimate meaning. Unassuming, nutritive, delicious. Why not? I’m not sure that life is best captured by the moments of high drama and intrigue. A huge percentage of it is occupied by thinking about food, staring at walls, and laughing senselessly. Why not valorize these small experiences over the scarce moments of capital-letter life (Bravery, Courage, Love, and the like)? Maybe we wouldn’t be in such a stressful hurry to do something Meaningful if we valued peanuts (literally and metaphorically).

In “Golden Boy,” The Mountain Goats cordially invite us to remember these wonderful little details of a day, to exalt and worship them. Do so and your heart will fill with lovely minutia until it overflows and spills red confetti on the dirty back of a winter street.

"There are no pan-Asian supermarkets down in hell."


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