chopped liver productions
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copyright 2018 janice leber / chopped liver productions
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monkey at the wheel


monkey at the wheel
janice leber 2018

not really sure how we got to this place
headed toward a future that's hard to face
my heart is racing and the blood is flowing
i don't dare look to see how fast we're going
i can tell you know exactly how i feel
so buckle up, buddy, there's a monkey at the wheel

monkey at the wheel, monkey at the wheel
taking us for a spin, though
throwing feces out the window
don't know how it happened,
can't believe it's real,
but we're sitting in the back seat
there's a monkey at the wheel

i guess it sounded like some kinda fun
let the monkey drive! what could go wrong?
but so many folks he's already hit
I'm starting to think this monkey's unfit
the engine's revving, i hear the tires squeal
buckle up buddy there's a monkey at the wheel

monkey at the wheel, monkey at the wheel
he's driving on the shoulder
every day i'm ten years older
we're headed for a cliff,
and clearly this is not ideal
but what can you do
when there's a monkey at the wheel

i wake up in a panic,
what will the news reveal?
we're going down in flames
there's a monkey at the wheel

about the song

True story: I dreamed I was boarding the "N" express from East Oakland to San Francisco. In the driver's seat, nattily attired in driver's jacket, jaunty bow tie and peaked cap, sat a monkey.

"Hey," I blurted out, "YOU can't drive this bus, you're a monkey!"

Apparently the monkey had heard this one too many times. He went bananas. He began screeching, jumping up and down on the seat, and pounding on the steering wheel in anger. Then, with great restraint, he calmed himself and took a deep breath. He turned an icy glare toward me and gestured toward the patch on his jacket.

I leaned down to get a close look. The patch read: "SAFE DRIVER 5 YEARS."

Well, this time we're all in this bus, and there's no patch on the monkey's jacket.

Writing the song

I've been shaking my head for a year now, in wonderment that the head of this country is a profoundly ignorant and hateful person whose only interest is his own bank account. I knew he'd be a disaster, but he has definitely outperformed my gravest concerns.

Then came the "shithole" series of comments. Ouch, my heart hurts. Suddenly, in addition to shaking my head and sighing, I was thinking, "Oh crap, we're all powerless in the back seat with a monkey at the wheel." I thought this phrase so many times in the course of a couple days, I began to realize it had to be a song. So I sat down and started writing and before I knew it, the song was complete and recorded and needed a video.

The old Getty photo of two soldiers sitting uncomfortably in a monkey-piloted jalopy was my point of departure. At first it was hard to find media for my video, but eventually I was impressed by the number of videos there are of monkeys driving poorly. And actually, now that I think about it, that's an excellent metaphor for the state of our nation.