Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree

The other day I was driving along, listening to a classic rock station on the radio. The Joker, by Steve Miller was playing. I was about to click it off (I’ve never been particularly fond of the song), but before I could do so, this familiar line caught my ear:

"Some people call me the space cowboy…Yeah! Some call me the gangster of love…Some people call me Maurice…Cause I speak of the Pompatus of love."

Pomatus? I hadn’t thought about that word in years. I am old enough to remember when The Joker first hit the airwaves. It was 1973. In fact, I was old enough then to really care about music. Steve Miller wasn’t a musician from my parent’s generation. Glenn Miller was! Steve Miller was on the bandstand of my ge-ge-neration!

Pomatus? Well, frankly, when I first heard the song, I didn’t know what the word meant. And being fifteen, I guess I was a bit too self-conscious about my vocabulary to ask someone. So I let it go. Quickly, I grew tired of the song and stopped caring that I didn’t know.

Fast forward to 2006. It struck me listening to The Joker again that I still didn’t know the meaning of a pompatus of love. How ridiculous was that? I went home that night and did a search on the internet. Turns out the word doesn’t exist in any legitimate dictionary. Steve Miller made it up, based loosely on an R&B song from the 1950s. It’s kind of an interesting story. There’s a good write-up about it here.

More interesting to me, though, is that I could wait 33 years before I cared enough to look this up. Thirty-three years! You’d think I’d be pissed off after all that time, that I’d been duped into believing a word was real when it wasn’t, a word made up by an artist I never really cared for. But I’m not. The sum total of my reaction was: “Huh, interesting, well, I wonder what the weather is supposed to be tomorrow…better head over to weather.com.”

Here’s the best part. In another 33 years I’ll be old and senile. I’ll probably forget that I ever looked up the meaning of pompatus. So I’ll do another search. And buried in those search results will be a link to this story – that I wrote! Won’t I be surprised.


Mike said...

Never did like that song, now I like it even less. Steve Miller, I've got your pompatus of love right here. Wait, that doesn't sound quite right.

Cyn said...

I got into an argument with a girlfiend about that word back when the song was popular (I never really fancied the song much, either). I tried to look it up in the dictionary back then just to prove my point--and like you, didn't find it. No Internet back then so thanks for sharing the scoop on the "midnight toker".

Cyn said...

Ugh, I said "back then" three times. Way to proof my post.:/

Anonymous said...

Nice blog entry; funny and very readable. Came across you while Googleing various "The Joker" lyrics. Take care. -Thomas
P.S. I do like three Steve Miller Band Songs: "Going To The Country", "Fly Like An Eagle", and "The Joker" and I was born in 1986.

Dalan said...

I really liked how you eneded this blog it was funny
i never knew what tha word meant, nor did i even think about it
thanks for that tho i know now

Anonymous said...

Well, I also was googling the lyrics LOL
And Steve Miller still rocks as long as I only hear him every 5 or so years, but WHEN I DO, I rock with it ;)

Cute writeup... and tell poster #1 "likes steve miller less dipdrip..." yeah, looser...

Anonymous said...

i want to know what are the peaches and trees????