onight I saw my sister Katy and we watched an old X-Files episode while her cats acted like loonies and crawled around the apartment. The episode we watched involved a speeding train and a mysterious NSA agent (maybe) and a possible alien-human hybrid who also may have been a leper or some sort of unfortunate human experiment, while Scully was running around with a subcutaneous implant in her neck finding mass graveyards of big-skulled mutants and a whole colony of lepers underground. Really nice, friendly lepers with a terrible story to tell. What a great show – every time I watch an episode here and there I’m reminded of how well-made, funny, twisted, dark, and amazingly solid that show was. We used to watch it as a family on Sunday nights; my dad always claimed to dislike the episodes “with bugs crawling out of peoples’ eyes” (ie every episode), but I knew he secretly liked it. Which is why I once bought him an ugly X-Files t-shirt as a present.
As I drove home, I was listening to The Wolf (a local country station that plays the same 7 or 8 pop country hits twenty times a day each) fairly loudly, as I sometimes do when I wanna really feel the road beneath me, and I reached over to the radio to shut it off. I was hit with a sudden urge to try and write lyrics to the cake-cutting song, which is a tune I am considering writing for when it’s time for me and Jessica to cut the cake. I came out with a sort of chorus or possibly part of a verse:
we all want a slice
we all need a break
so not cuttin’ that cake
would be a giant mistake
we’re gonna cut that cake
cut it clean through
so go grab us a knife, baby
cut it straight and true
you’ll feed me a piece
and I’ll feed one to you
we’re gonna cut that cake
just me and you
As I sang it I imagined Jessica singing background vocals, echoing my words, panned left with some lovely reverb on her lovely voice. I imagined a smooth country drumbeat, some banjo, some twangy guitars, and as much Southern sass to my voice as I could muster.
When I got home I sat down immediately to get the lyrics down before they escaped from my head and then invited Jessica over to play it to her. I picked a basic chord progression and strummed it home. She began to dance a bit and snapped her fingers and got into a pretty good groove there for a second.
“You like it?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said. I then played it again, but with a quicker, rollicking, fingerpicking bluegrass lick this time. It took her a second, but she found the rhythm and soon our messy little hallway was a hoedown, for a few fleeting moments.
“Every song you write, baby, for the wedding,” she said, “we’ll do a test where you play it and then we’ll see if I can dance to it!”
“But baby,” I said, “this is the cake-cutting song!”
She gave me a look. You know, one of those looks. “Bret,” she said, “our wedding is going to be one long nonstop dance party. You better believe we’re dancing to the cake-cutting song.”
“Oh yeah!” I said, remembering.
I’m getting excited about writing a cake-cutting song, and perhaps even figuring out if there are any other opportunities to slip in a homemade tune. For some reason I can’t entirely wrap my mind around, it has become clear to me that the cake-cutting tune needs to be a country song, or at least a tune with some twang.
I’ll keep you updated on my progress, dear readers, as I know you await news with bated breath and wobbly knees.