Music to Manage By

Posted by jlubans on May 01, 2013

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I have several dog-eared and much marked-up pages of an article from the March, 1979 issue of D (as in Dallas, TX) Magazine. Jerry Campbell, a true Texan, gave it to me in the mid 80s.
“I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself Or Go Bowling” is written by Larry Sons. He plucks the most woeful 150 out of his master list of 400 country western song titles.
Many apply to our workplaces, democratic or otherwise. If you don’t like your boss, you’ll find a song to suit. If you like your drink too much, you will definitely find several songs about drinking yourself into a forgetful and sorry state. And, if you are thwarted in love, well, hell, you’ll have plenty of company as your sad tears drip down your cheeks into your beer.
This has been my go-to list for sub titles for papers and talks for over two decades. A third of the chapters in my book, Leading from the Middle have song subtitles. Some of you may be thinking "Ain't it kinda presumptuous for a Latvian to use counry western music?" Well, I lived in Houston Texas for three years, so that makes me nearly a native.
When I use music titles in talks, their wry humor about life’s complexities often gets a good response, like a well placed joke. Other times, imagine the vibe from a room full of humorless faces and crossed arms. Now, this frigid – maybe puzzled - response is not limited to non-English speaking countries. It’s happened to me in TEXAS! In Georgia and Colorado! And, I’ve gotten zero response in Australia, in England, and in Croatia and Latvia. The latter two have an excuse – my using the most colloquial of English.
When the group’s bemused, maybe it’s me or maybe it’s my topic they don’t like. I mean, many librarians did not like hearing the tones of doom in “Forever, for Us, Wasn’t Nearly As Long As We Planned” when I used it in my talk to underline the huge changes confronting libraries in the late 90s along with the documented-but-denied precipitous reference question drop-off.
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Here are ten for May Day:
How Can Anything That Sounds So Good Made Me Feel So Bad?
From the Gutter to You Is Not Up.
I’ve Got a Funny Feeling I Won’t Be Feeling Funny Very Long.
I’m Too Low To Get High.
Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone!
I Can’t Afford to Half My Half Again.
There’s No Use Running If You’re on the Wrong Road.
It’s Not Love, But It’s Not Bad.
Don’t Tell Me You’re Sorry, I Know How Sorry You Are.
She Took Everything But the Blame.


More to come…. In the mean time, Happy Trails!
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