Someone included, as people do, a video of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” on a blogpost. Someone else commented that Louis looked like he had a look of contempt on his face during the performance. So I searched for “Was Louis Armstrong happy” and found this ABC news story:
So I guess old Louis wasn’t too happy about racism and such. I hardly blame him for that. I see also that he was happy about marijuana and laxatives. Well, what more do you need, really? You know, I keep a job (barely sometimes) and I live in a red state where pot is illegal, so of course I don’t do any of that stuff, but I support it wholeheartedly. People occasionally ask if I ever did any and I tell them, “I went to liberal arts colleges in the 1970s–you do the math.” Pot isn’t a drinking problem, nor hard stuff, nor wife-beating, nor a lot of other hateful things; it’s a way to slightly alter the day is all. And to appreciate music a little more. And art and literature and tv and laughter and movies and sky and sunrises.
But of course I don’t live in Colorado, or Washington, state or D.C., or Alaska, or California or Oregon or wherever. I live in a red state. So I don’t do those kinds of things. Some people should stay away from weed. People who have used it but just don’t feel quite right when they’re on it, but are still really cool people. The hopelessly nerdy. The stoners who giggle too much and think that Dr. Hook ever did anything good other than “Sylvia’s Mother.” Which would be a stoned version of hopelessly nerdy, I suppose. I read somewhere where Bill Gates is a pothead. There’s no way. Such a greedhead nerd couldn’t be; you couldn’t think that way. But what do I know? Some people who smoke it are violent, which makes no sense. Didn’t the guy who torched the Chicago-area air traffic control tower record himself saying (something like) “Time to smoke this blunt” and then cut his own throat? Some are redneck. Some fly in the face of its purpose in other ways. I still can’t believe it’s really legal some places in the U.S. Though of course not according to the feds.
Apparently Louis was a big fan of laxatives, also. I can use those legally, in any state. I’ll spare you the details, but my body disagrees with my brain about who the boss is around these parts, which is too bad, and sometimes things just are, well, difficult. I’ve had the camera go where no man should go, more than once. Some folks say that’s undignified. Sure, but getting colon or esophageal cancer and lying in a hospital bed and having someone change your diaper is so much more dignified than finding some small pre- condition and “nipping it in the bud.” Anyway, I have something called diverticulosis which is not -itis but still sucks, to the point where I can sometimes have my breath taken away from the stabbing pressure, where you wouldn’t think it would be, really. I’ve had my only sis die of breast cancer and her once-worthless ex die of colon cancer, both in their 50s, so I think of it, too much, and worry if things feel different or more annoying. Not long ago I went in for a checkup, they said it was probably just the same old thing, it’s not really time for the camera again, it doesn’t grow that fast, but we’ll take a couple x-rays of your gut. When I called for the results from the x-rays, I was told there was “a significant amount” in my intestines. So, never mind everything that I say or write or do, or the look in my eyes, I have actual documented medical evidence that I am, indeed, full of crap.
Oh, that’s right, I mentioned something about sparing you the details. So sorry about that. I paid my co-pay just to find out that I should live on fiber and Miralax. And I’d
most likely perhaps maybe do that other stuff that’s legal in some states if I could. So, strip away all his musical talent, stage presence, the problems caused by him being black, and a host of other things, and I’m just like Louis Armstrong. We both wax poetic about weed and laxatives.
Oh, there is also the slight detail of a difference of him leaving a lasting legacy and me being nothing more really than a puff of wind on a cold fall day. Up until tonight I thought that “What a Wonderful World” was done in the late ’50s, early ’60s; it has that dreamy quality about it that sounds like it would have been played on top 40 radio shows right after Acker Bilk’s “Stranger on the Shore”. But it was written in 1967 and only made it to #116 in the U.S., though it was a huge hit in England and elsewhere. It still doesn’t seem like a contemporary of White Rabbit and Sgt. Pepper. I don’t recall hearing it till I was in my early to mid 30s, which was
about 150 years before you were born in the mid to late 1980s. I do enjoy it; it makes me think of the good parts of the winter holidays.
Let’s shut the hell up and listen to it, shall we?
Acker Bilk Stranger on the shore maybe: