One Lurch over the Line
…coined by Sylvia Wright in Harper’s Magazine (“The Death of Lady Mondegreen,” November 1954) from a mishearing of a stanza in the Scottish ballad “The Bonny Earl of Murray”:
Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands
Oh, where hae you been?
They hae slay the Earl of Murray,
And laid him on the green. (Misheard as “and Lady Mondegreen”)
You’ve probably heard the story about how the line “‘scuse me while I kiss the sky” in Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” was “misheard” as “‘scuse me while I kiss this guy,” although apparently Hendrix started singing “kiss this guy” on purpose while pointing at Otis Redding, who must have been in his band or something at the time.
Be that as it may, the Archive of Misheard Lyrics was formed, and it can be addicting, speaking of which, one of the mondegreens on the site is Robert Palmer’s “I’m addicted to love” misheard as “I’m a dick with a glove.”
I’m one of the sloppy listeners who thought Creedence Clearwater Revival was singing, “There’s a bathroom on the right” rather than “There’s a bad moon on the rise.” And in the early 1970s I misheard Brewer & Shipley’s “One Toke over the Line” as “One Toe over the Line,” as did half the people at the white-bread top-40 radio station I worked at, and the other half weren’t telling. But somebody tattled, and they pulled my favorite song from the playlist. Toe, toke, I didn’t care. Here it was, 1972, and I didn’t know what a toke was. And “One Toke over the Line,” was, and is, a great song.
So, where hae you been, ye highlands and ye lowlands?
You were supposed to keep me on task. As it happens, because of your inattention, I have not fulfilled my pledge to you regarding additions to my eBay store inventory. Oh, I’ve added some merchandise, but at a snail’s pace. Stuff happens, you know? Emergencies arise. Food must be eaten. Sleep must be slept. Books must be read, and ears must be cleaned out with a bent paper clip.
I gamely brought several boxes of previously unsold eBay merchandise up from storage. I courageously dumped the stuff out of the boxes onto the kitchen floor. I cravenly fled, my screams echoing off the appliances.
To an A.D.D. person, a pile of stuff looks like a massive storm cloud, blurry around the edges, with no distinguishable components. Back when I was taking A.D.D. meds, I could pop an Adderall and watch the cloud resolve itself into individual items, essential for tasks such as folding clean laundry and putting it away (usually two separate processes undertaken days, if not weeks, apart).
In the pile of eBay stuff, there are too many potential categories in which to organize: brass that needs to be polished, brass that’s fine the way it is; children’s clothing that needs to be washed, or doesn’t, or touched up with an iron, which is in some other room in a different pile. Women’s dresses that need to be measured and weighed. CDs and books that need to be photographed and weighed and priced according to what similar CDs and books go for on eBay.
And then there’s the listing. NO, I don’t want the Gift Icon. NO, I don’t want to ship a $1.99 fleece sleeper in a flat-rate USPS box for something like ten bucks. NO, I dont want pretty doodads framing my item description.
I have, however, discovered eBay’s free Turbo-Lister, which might make the listing part easier. Now if I could only get eBay to send someone over to do a little touch-up ironing. When I find my iron.
May Whoever’s On Duty bless you and your endeavors. —Mary