MELODY: If You Can’t Say Anything Nice By Mike Cecconi

Word: Melody
Word Count 500

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice
By Mike Cecconi

I asked Frank how he was able to function here, even with the curse making him seen as a person
instead of a sasquatch, even knowing his education in human studies. “You took classes about
us,” I said, “but you can’t learn how to plow a field reading books, if school was all it took, I’d
be a screenwriter, not the family art-bum.”
Frank, by means of explanation, asked “you know the song Werewolves Of London?” Of
course I did, Dad raised me on classic rock. “To be honest, that song’s about me.” I later read a
biography that said Zevon had been watching horror movies stoned, but I’ve learned to believe
Frank’s testimonies over urban myths.
“I did three semesters of field work living here. Mage had put a glamour on me similar to
the Thirty Mile curse except it’d work anywhere.” He explained at seven feet tall (“six-eleven” I
corrected) and no papers, he needed itinerant grunt work, so he ended up a roadie, hefting amps
as if small dogs, loading vans. Mostly, he’d worked for Warren Zevon.
“What was he like?” I asked. “Okay when the chemicals were right, madman when they
weren’t. Genius and damage aren’t interdependent, but they do have high comorbidity.” Frank
smiled. “One night on the road, I did a run of Chinese take-out and when I got to his room, he
was so high on God-knows-what he saw through the spell, started screaming I was a goddamned
werewolf. Next afternoon he apologized, said that was some strong stuff but it gave him an idea.
I am that vain, Mike, but the song really is about me.”
“I wrote a parody of that once, about bland middle-class idiocy…” and though I have an
octave-and-a-half vocal range, I’m in key enough to hold a melody, so I sang it, softly enough to
not bother the rest of the diner:
I saw a white guy with a Chinese menu in his hand/soaking his thrift-store tee-shirt in the rain/he
was looking for a place called PF Chang's/gonna get some inauthentic beef chow mein/a-woo/
white guys in suburbs/a-woo/white guys in suburbs
if you see him looking for your credit card/better hide it away from him/generous NPR donation
late last night/white Guys in Suburbs again/a-woo/white guys in suburbs/a-woo/white guys in
suburbs/a-woo
he's the heavy-handed gent who always loves to vent/how all his coffee beans are trade-fair/don't
let him get you alone/he'll show you his iPhone/fulla albums by James Taylor/a-woo/white guys
in suburbs/a-woo/white guys in suburbs/a-woo
well, I saw Tim Conway walking his wife's dog/doing the white guys in suburbs/I saw Tim
Conway Junior walking his wife's dog/doing the white guys in suburbs/I saw a white guy buying
organic wine at Trader Joe's/he drove a Prius/a-woo/white guys in suburbs drive hybrids/a-woo
“Well?” I asked Frank, “what do you think?” He took a sip of his coffee, looked me up
and down, put his cup on the table and said, “I like your shoes.” If you can’t say anything nice…

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