Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cool song lyrics

"In The Days Of A Caveman"

When you go on camping trips you're stuck right out in nature
Foraging the forests like a primate
Using sharpened tools instead of hotplates

Your thumb and forefinger supposed to show you're not a wild beast
You can hear their noises at night time
They don't have to keep a certain bedtime

See in the shapes of my body
Leftover parts from apes and monkeys

Sometimes when I lie awake I hear the rainfall on my tent fly
I think of all the insects that are sleeping
And wonder if the animals are dreaming

See in the shapes of my body
Leftover parts from apes and monkeys

In the days of the caveman and mammoths and glaciers
Bugs and trees were your food then; no pyjamas or doctors

And when I finally get to sleep, I dream in technicolor
I see creatures come back from the Ice Age
Alive and being fed inside a zoo cage

My friend Andy introduced me to the Crash Test Dummies back in the late 90s. I've got about six of the Winnipeg, Manitoba band's albums. They had one hit song, "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm," back in 1993, and then fell, like all one-hit wonder novelty acts, into obscurity. The song lyrics above are from their best-selling album, "God Shuffled His Feet."

This song always reminds me of my first overnight backpacking trip with my own equipment in the spring of 1999 on the Ice Age Trail from Townline Lake in Langlade County to the lookout tower (the highest point on the Ice Age Trail, 1,875 feet) in Lincoln County in the Harrison Hills segment. I remember Esther and I camped about this time of year, and that it was cold at night, and gray and blustery during the day. At one point we heard gunfire close by, so started singing loudly, ridiculously loud, in an Ethel Merman stridency, "Please don't shoot us! We're people, not turkeys, most of the time!!!" Or something along those lines. We stopped for the night at what the map listed as a shelter. The "shelter" was a lean-to, a bullet-riddled aluminum roof -- no sidewalls, no floor, the muddy ground it sheltered littered with broken glass and used as a firepit. We slept in our Kelty Zen tent for the first time ever.

The next day took us through the Harrison Hills, still my favorite and, in my opinion, prettiest section of the Ice Age Trail. The lakes nestled amongst the topsy-turvy (like a dropped chocolate cake) landscape seemed black and imposing. I remember we crossed a river, and as I was putting my shoes on a little yellow bird lighted on a small branch just inches from my eye.

I just heard this song again, and whenever I do it reminds me of that weekend. It is funny, but in spite of the fact I've ventured to far more beautiful places and given up many of the ridiculously stupid backpacking ways I had then, I still think that weekend in the north woods was one of the best backpacking experiences ever.

Maybe it's just stupid, simpering nostalgia. Probably. It was seven years ago. Or maybe it was just a good trip. I'll have to venture back someday and find the guestbook in the lookout tower. What did I write? What day was I there? Does it really matter? Is the next Ice Age upon us?

2 comments:

Jody-Lynn said...

Winnipeg is not in Ontario, Winnipeg is in Manitoba. Also Crash Test Dummies had two hit albums. Their first one had the Superman song on it and then the next album is the one you are talking about with God Shuffled his feet. Just thought I'd update you on the CTD info.

greg said...

Yes, you're right. God, do I feel foolish about the Manitoba/Ontario mixup. And "The Ghosts That Haunt Me" sold more than 400,000 copies in Canada alone. The cool thing about "Superman Song" is its grassroots path to success. It spread from station to station based on listener support, something unheard of in today's conglomerate age.