“A Talk With George” is a song by Jonathan Coulton about the journalist George Plimpton. Plimpton was known for writing about what it’s like for a “layman” to take on a pro boxer or go out for the NFL. He also co-founded The Paris Review. The song starts out with “what if George Plimpton wanted to give you some advice about life?” (Although of course some of it is probably “Jonathan Coulton giving advice about life.”) An example:
So enjoy yourself, do the things that matter
Cause there isn’t time and space to do it all
Love the things you try, drink a cocktail, wear a tie
Show a little grace if you should fall
Now, parts of it are preposterous. Even if Hemingway were still alive, the chances of just hanging out a lot with Hemingway would be pretty slim for most of us. That’s how I think of the first part of the song — it sets the stage. And then comes this verse:
Be ringside at the Rumble in the Jungle
Make friends with Hunter S. and Jackie O.
And when they shoot poor Bobby down, you wrestle Sirhan to the ground
Love your friends and miss them when they go
That’s the 5th verse of this 9-verse song, and it earns its place in the middle for the line “Love your friends and miss them when they go”. What else is there, really?
Leave a Reply