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Eileen

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies

Willie just pulled up in that big, beautiful, veggie-burnin’ bus of his and called me over because he knew I had a song to write and that I just needed a little help gettin’ it out. You see, I’ve had something I’ve been needing to get off my chest for a quite some time now; a reflection on a quality that has become part and parcel of our society. It has festered it’s way into my soul and has left me plumb rankled. Willie, let’s take it from the top…

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be assholes.
Don’t let ‘em flick boogers or smash lots of bugs.
Let ‘em be lovers of Dylan and Scruggs.
Papas, don’t let your babies grow up to be assholes.
Don’t raise them with anger or a heart of cold stone.
Show them compassion and love.

Assholes ain’t easy to love if they’re young or they’re old.
They’ll just flip you the bird and shout some offensive scold.
Fists of red knuckles, jaws clenched with hard gritted teeth
Meet those who have something to say.
If you don’t oblige him, and he don’t like you,
God help you if you’re in his way.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be assholes.
Don’t let ‘em flick boogers or smash lots of bugs.
Let ‘em be lovers of Einstein and Jung.
Papas, don’t let your babies grow up to be assholes.
Don’t raise them with anger or a heart of cold stone.
Show them compassion and love.

Assholes like smashing old beer cans to toss out the window,
Swatting warm puppies when they pee on his boots at night.
Them that don’t know him won’t like him and then that do
Sometimes won’t know how to take him.
He ain’t bad, he’s just empty, too selfish to let love
Let him do things you think are right.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be assholes.
Don’t let ‘em flick boogers or smash lots of bugs.
Let ‘em be lovers of Tolkien and Bach.
Papas, don’t let your babies grow up to be assholes.
Don’t raise them with anger or a heart of cold stone.
Show them compassion and love.

It has a certain ring to it, don’t you think? Of course, I can’t claim the melody or structure. The original was written by Ed and Patsy Bruce, but it was Willie and Waylon’s recording that made it a #1 hit in 1978. I think it works just fine for what I’m trying to do here.

What am I trying to do here? Good question. I guess I just want people to think about what their actions communicate to the world around them. It’s about those folks who think life is just a play in which they have the lead role and all others be damned. This song is for the driver of the RV who pushed us off the road in Michigan UP when the passing lane ended just so they could make better time. It’s for the folks who decide the campground dumpster or recycle bin is just too far away for that empty case of beer and use the fire ring instead. To the gentleman who parked his rusty Trailblazer in the center of four parking spots at the grocery store. To the young lady slinging all manner of colorful insults at her boisterous children without spilling a drop of Bud Light. Yep, this song is for you.

We all have the power to not be assholes. We can raise our children with love, compassion, and encouragement to be the best version of themselves, but we must also lead by example. Can you imagine a world with fewer assholes? Isn’t it glorious? Go out there and do something nice for someone. Tell your kids you love ‘em.

Don’t leave before listening to these two studs sing the original. Thanks for the help, Willie!

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