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The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

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This song was Timbuk 3’s only significant mainstream hit, just making it into the Top 20 and they released it in 1986 coming out on their Greetings from Timbuk3 album.  The inspiration for the song, and specifically the title, came from when Barbara MacDonald said to her husband singer, guitarist and songwriter Patrick Lee MacDonald, “The future is looking so bright, we’ll have to wear sunglasses!”  Barbara made the comment being serious and sincere, but Pat heard the comment as an ironic quip and wrote down, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”.  This song was widely misinterpreted as having a positive outlook on the future, but this was a time when the Berlin Wall still existed and we were still in the Cold War, so it was actually written as an ironic criticism of society and an impending nuclear holocaust that worried everyone.

Pat was from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and he started playing semi-professionally when he was thirteen, just out of 8th grade. He met fiddle player and backup singer Barbara K (K for Kooyman, who was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas) in 1978, when she joined his band Pat MacDonald & the Essentials in Madison, Wisconsin.  Things were going great for Barbara and Patrick in Madison, Wis., during the early Eighties as they met at college, married, started a band and then a family.  Their first EP was coming out, and their calendar was starting to fill up with gigs.  The couple had set their sights on moving south and had much to look forward to.  This song became a hit, not just a hit, but an anthem for the Eighties, high schools and graduating classes used it as their theme song and fans wanted to don their sunglasses and dance to the music.

In this song, a young nuclear scientist has a bright future ahead with a grim outlook, because of the inevitability of the decade ending with a nuclear holocaust. His crazy teacher wears dark glasses and there is a job waiting for him after he graduates and with this money he will be able to buy a lot of beer. He refers to himself as “a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes”, which makes him sound a bit creepy.  They used a jam box, which is a portable stereo tape player to make up their rhythm section and this consisted of homemade drum and bass tracks cranked out of a low-end boom-box which became the duo’s third member, providing rhythm and other musical support pre-recorded by Pat to augment their acoustic guitars, harmonica, violin and voices.

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

I’ve got a job waiting for my graduation
Fifty thou a year, buys a lot of beer
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

Well I’m heavenly blessed and worldly wise
I’m a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

 

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression (including but not limited to short stories, a piece of flash fiction, poems, lyrics, artwork, photography, (etc.) that you can share with the writing community. Alternatively, if you are a musician, and you have played this song solo or in a group, it would be awesome if you could post a video to showcase your own work.  You could write about how you learned to play the chords or how you learned the lyrics.  There is no need to stick with this song, as if you like to write about another Timbuk 3 song, or another song about wearing glasses or about school, teachers or studying, that would work.

The whole point of this MM Music challenge is to get you to think, to trigger something so that you can show how creative you are and everyone is welcome to participate. People were terrified of Communism and the Red Scare reached a fever pitch between 1950 and 1954, when Senator Joe McCarthy caused the black listing of many people in Hollywood as he began his accusations which led to hysteria. The term red was synonymous with communism and Americans feared that the Soviets were bent on world domination after they developed an atomic bomb.  The Cuban missile crisis lasted for 13 tense days in October 1962 and the Cold War raged on from 1947 – 1991. If you would like to write about being afraid of Communism, or nuclear war that would be perfect.  If you remember the Red Scare, or Joe McCarthy, or the Berlin Wall, or the Cold War, then please feel free to write a post about that.  If you feel that the only thing that will survive on this planet are cockroaches, then write about that.  You could also write about Ronald Reagan’s trickledown economics, or the map of Florida that Mikhail Gorbachev had tattooed on his head.

Dylan Hughes has next Friday, August 30 with her First Line Friday and then I will be back on Friday, September 6 with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘Baby, I Love Your Way’.  When you are finished writing your post, create a ping back to this post, but you can also place your link in the comments section below if you desire.  This Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge has a special feature called Mr. Linky, which will allow you to instantly link your post after you click the Mr. Linky Button, and then follow the directions that are given.

About newepicauthor

My About Me section is meant to provide my readers with an honest picture of myself that gives a little bit of background information on who I am and I will wrap this up with a catchy image. I am a story teller and I like to use my imagination. I am interested in many things, but a few of my favorites are watching the NFL and playing golf. I do not like onions and I always make sure that my food does not contain any. I had two wonderful parents, my dad Herb Adams was a television repairman and my mother Mary Adams was mostly a stay at home mom. They are both deceased now and I miss them. I am a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in control systems. I held many different positions because I worked mostly as a consultant. I did work as a Substitute Teacher, for a while, but the kids were awful. I am happiest when I am writing, as this gives my life has a purpose. Forming a sentence with meaningful words that articulate my inner feelings is an everyday quest for me. Every writer needs to tell their story, and all writers have their own style. All stories starts off with characters, who are able to entertain the reader. Creating realistic lovable characters is the best way to tell a story. If you are able to develop characters that become real to you, then you will know exactly what they will do say and do next and this lets your story progress to the completion. Writing changes everything and having the calling to create something new through the power of words is much more than just making marks on a page. Once written, a book can be used by many people to learn and be entertained. The act of writing can be compared to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it contains an inherent fuzziness, because various people may derive different meanings from reading the same words. You can never know the true nature of written words and the best I can do is hope is that people will understand the meanings that I am trying to convey. There are no clear-cut laws on how to write and it is impossible for me to determine how my readers react to my books.

7 comments on “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

  1. Pingback: The Future Looks Bright Ahead – A Unique Title For Me

  2. newepicauthor
    August 23, 2019

    Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    MM Music Challenge is back again today, but I must caution you that listening to music may cause uncontrolled outbursts of joy and happiness and also lead you to becoming more energetic, creative and spontaneous, so enter at your own risk. No just kidding, the song today is about the future, so do you think that it looks bright for those people involved in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, or will some of them be going to prison. Come join in the fun, write a story and make my day.

  3. Pingback: #MM Music Challenge — Shades of Darkness – Tao Talk

  4. Pingback: Future Too Bright – a MLMMM ….. hmmmm challenge – JP the Wide-eyed Wanderer

  5. Pingback: Colors – Reena Saxena

  6. Pingback: MM Music Challenge: Kala Chashma Aka Black Sunglasses | queennandini

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This entry was posted on August 23, 2019 by in Uncategorized.
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