Puppies

betrayal2f.jpg

“Harold” was a term we used as shorthand for appreciating those all-too-common situations that betray the handiwork of a sadistically ironic god. “That’s so Harold,” we might say, shaking our heads over our cocktail glasses. Or simply, “Uh-oh, Harold!”

I say “we,” but really there were only three people I know who used the term this way: Me, Jon Frankel and Bill Arning. I think at first we were making fun of a Times book review that used the word “Haroldian” to describe something in a play by Harold Pinter. And knowing very little about Pinter or his oeuvre back then, we may have believed that mordant irony was the defining characteristic of his work. (I still know very little of Pinter’s writing, and for all I know that actually may well be its defining characteristic. Or not.)

Anyhow, the term soon took on a life of its own, having absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Pinter. “Harold” became just “Harold.” And for those weeks-on-end where one’s life became a boiling cauldron of sadistic irony, one could say that “Harold” had moved in.

“Puppies” was written on 109th Street, utter living room nonsense, as the lyrics certainly attest. But of course, sometimes it’s easier to sing nonsense with heartfelt sincerity than it is to resist singing lyrics that cut closer to the bone with affected detachment. The song became a Nightmares live staple, and allowed Reno to execute one of the trickiest maneuvers in all of rockdom: a short and tasteful drum solo.

Puppies

The Nightmares

I woke up on Moday morning
Without any warning
Hey hey hey

And when I went to bed that night
You know I woke up with such a fright
Hey hey hey

‘Cause if the puppies don’t bring the shoes home
If the puppies don’t bring the shoes home
If the puppies don’t bring the shoes
Well, hey hey hey

I was watching television
Trying to make a big decision
Hey hey hey

I was writing with a pen and paper
Trying to compose a criminal caper
Hey hey hey

‘Cause if the puppies don’t bring the shoes home
If the puppies don’t bring the shoes home
If the puppies don’t bring the shoes
Well, hey hey hey

I was killing myself with pennies
Pretty soon you know I didn’t have any
Hey hey hey

And then Harold came to stay
It doesn’t matter what the people say
Hey hey hey

‘Cause if the puppies don’t bring the shoes home
If the puppies don’t bring the shoes home
If the puppies don’t bring the shoes
Well, hey hey hey

2 Replies to “Puppies”

  1. Them damn puppies STILL haven’t brought them damn shoes home.. and all I can say about that is: “Well, hey hey hey!” (My cats hated this song: they would’ve liked it better if it was entitled “Kittens.”)

  2. I forgot that Bill used Harold too. My only familiarity with Pinter the playwright was a production of Separate Tables at the Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck, probably in 1977. I worked on the lighting crew there and Bobby Derektor was in the cast, as Roberta Derektor, successfully passing as the most beautiful girl around. We all knew Bobby as a boy but he insisted on pretending that he was Bobby’s sister, probably because he liked flirting with the lighting crew but also because he didn’t want all the people in the community theater to know, they all thought he was such a lovely girl. I don’t know about the lovely part, but he was certainly a great girl, especially before his voice dropped and his Adam’s apple made a bulge in his throat…anyway, Separate Tables was Haroldian as you describe it, another less subtle example from film being The Servant, which I made you watch at 21First Avenue, towards the end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *