One-Hit Wonders and An Unguided Tour of One Mind Snapping

The artwork is the cover of The Knack’s Greatest Hits, which I imagine is 12 remixes of “My Sharona” and the Single Version of “Good Girls Don’t.”

I’ve always loved one-hit wonders, from Wheatus (“Teenage Dirtbag”) to Thunderclap Newman (“Something in the Air”) to Johan Pachelbel (“Canon in D”) to Carl Douglas (“Kung-Fu Fighting”) to Fountains of Wayne (“Stacy’s Mom”), although I picture each of the artists in a Holiday Inn bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana, playing that same hit three times in the same set. Except for Pachelbel, who died, I think, in the early 1700’s. Him, I picture with an eraser in his crypt, slowly removing each note of his classic.

Decomposing, as it were.

Because of this love, I’ve always wanted to have one hit, one song that everyone knows and that will be the lead in my obituary. While I’ve written a few dozen songs, only one ever made it to the top of a chart, and that was a specialized list indeed: favorite songs to sing on car rides with my daughters before they developed any musical taste. That song, “Out-of-Town Tuna Fish,” was always neck-and-neck with Loudon Wainwright’s “Dead Skunk,” and often came in first.

Alas, I fear I may never accomplish that goal, although I continue to write and record songs no one will ever hear. Sigh. What I do write for public viewing is these columns, and a very kind reader sent me an email to update the list I published a while ago that pulls together the most popular columns of the first six months. So, Samantha, this is for you—nary a hit among them

An Unguided Tour of One Mind Snapping

Drug/Alcohol Rehab Stuff

How to Exit Your Escape Vehicle

Lazarus and the Prodigal Son Got Nothing on Joe

Too Smart and Charming for Our Own Good 

No More Crises Because That’s All Life Is Three-Dimensional Russian Roulette: Heroin and Me

Alcohypochondria: The Disease I Discover, Describe and Suffered from

Swimming Together, Not Drowning Alone: Thoughts on Alcathons

I Wasn’t an Alcoholic. I Just Drank to Stay Sane

There is No God, But that Doesn’t Stop Him from Working

A Pair of Christmas Miracles

Adoption Stuff

Sally Piper Words, Words, Words: A Brief Sketch of Sally Piper, a Woman I Never Knew

Sally Piper Had A Peck of Unplanned Pregnancies

Political Stuff

You Can’t Wring Your Hands with a Fist in the Air

A Patriotic Rant with a Twist: A Veterans View of the National Anthem

“But He’s a Muslim”: The Reason (I think) I’m Being Given an Award

An Undelivered Speech at the Turkish Cultural Center’s Friendship Dinner (along with what I did say)

Wouldn’t It?: Response to the Texas Church Shootings

Tiny House Stuff

Tiny White Box Profiled in Vagabond Monthly

“My Name is Keith and I . . . Live in a Tiny House

A Phrase that Will Not Pass My Lips

Veterans Stuff

Today is Not a Good Day to Die: Waiting for My Murderer (or a sad man) (or no one at all)

The Hermit with the Pastor’s Heart or How I Managed to Avoid Death, Make Some Jokes and Maybe Help a Veteran a Little Bit

Childhood Stuff

Food Fights and Politics

First Memory and Existential Dread

Marie Myers, Hogan’s Heroes and Me

Mi-Te-Na Born and Mi-Te-Na Bred

False Valor on the Mantelpiece

Shooting a Chickadee

Silence is Golden, Slumber is Final: A Fishing Story

Cute, with a Side of Evil: Making My Grandfather Cry

Murdering Chatty Cathy:  A Fairy Tale

Totaling a Car at 11: I was Trying to Get Out of Trouble


Rumors Can’t Be Disproven—Please Spread These!

Casper’s Pensees:  Thoughts on Ghosts

Rejected Book Titles

More Rejected Book Titles

Mocking My Betters:  Luckily the World is Filled with Them

On Being a Double Orphan





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