The ‘just plain folks’ in my hometown

When the weekend rolls around, we like to drag out the record player. There’s nothing like old LPs to put our fast-paced digital world in context.

One of our favorites is “Songs by Tom Lehrer.” Lehrer, the American singer, songwriter, satirist, pianist and mathematician from Harvard, is known for the humorous songs he recorded in the ’50s and ’60s.

He also taught a popular course at UC Santa Cruz on the American musical.

Now Lehrer might not be considered PC enough (as in politically correct), but it’s hard not to laugh.

Here’s the lyrics from his song, “My hometown”:

I really have a yen
To go back once again,
Back to the place where no one wears a frown,
To see once more those super-special just plain folks
In my home town.

No fellow could ignore
The little girl next door,
She sure looked sweet in her first evening gown.
Now there’s a charge for what she used to give for free
In my home town.

I remember Dan, the druggist on the corner, ’e
Was never mean or ornery,
He was swell.
He killed his mother-in-law and ground her up real well,
And sprinkled just a bit
Over each banana split.

The guy that taught us math,
Who never took a bath,
Acquired a certain measure of renown,
And after school he sold the most amazing pictures
In my home town.

That fellow was no fool
Who taught our Sunday school,
And neither was our kindly parson brown.
We’re recording tonight so I have to leave this line out.
In my home town.

I remember Sam, he was the village idiot.
And though it seems a pity, it
Was so.
He loved to burn down houses just to watch the glow,
And nothing could be done,
Because he was the mayor’s son.

The guy that took a knife
And monogrammed his wife,
Then dropped her in the pond and watched her drown.
Oh, yes indeed, the people there are just plain folks
In my home town.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

2 thoughts on “The ‘just plain folks’ in my hometown”

  1. We share a passion for Professor Lehrer’s hilarious observations on life and such. As a former Boy Scout and Catholic you can imagine my favorite tunes…

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