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Tom Smith Disease

Words and Music: © 1994 by Tom Smith
I used to work for a nasty little dump (because of the alleged management; the job itself wasn't that bad, just low-paying) that prepared university-press manuscripts. I used to type some of the most amazing stuff into a computer for further processing. Well, one morning, I found myself staring at a page informing me that, in 1874, at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London (the same Bart's where Holmes met Watson), a doctor researched and documented a bone disease that struck children between the ages of six months and two years; and that, in his honor, this disease was referred to as, "Tom Smith's Arthritis." Now, when you find out at 8:30 a.m. that there's a child-maiming bone disease with your name on it, it tends to color your whole day. Listen to the recording on Plugged for guest appearances by Magenta, Columbia, Edmund (bastard son to Gloucester), and Londo Mollari. True fact! Most of the songs on this tape were arranged completely or mostly in the tremendous music-improvising-and-arranging software SuperJAM! But not this one. I did this one note for note, and I hope it sounds as good to you as it does to me. Gee, I can kinda write piano music!

In the Old Days, the priests filled the rituals and feasts
With power and magic and mystery,
And, when angered, they cursed -- and, to my mind, the worst
Was: "May you go down in medical history!"

Those woad-wattled Wiccans would wither wide woodlands
While widows wept wildly with woe;
Well, one of them wailed out a curse, and it failed --
Until just a few days ago!

Now I stare at girls' buns and make up lousy puns,
I guess I've got Tom Smith Disease,
I've got hair on my pudge and a craving for fudge,
I think I've caught Tom Smith Disease,

Guitar in my left hand, a Pepsi in right,
Surrounded by lovelies whose sweaters are tight,
I've written today what I'm singing tonight,
I think I've got Tom Smith Disease.

Well, it started one spring with that Frank Hayes-ish thing
That makes you go blank on the words.
Frank would just start to croak us a tune, then unfocus
His eyes, and say, "That's for the birds!"

Now, Frank found fine filk, fitting friendly folks' feelings,
Fostered female fen fondling Frank.
On me, they draw knife, and say, "That's worth your life!"
I guess I know who I should thank.

Clark Kent is un-sexed and I'm probably next,
I think I've got Tom Smith Disease,
I've got Domino Death and Three-Oh-Seven breath,
I must have caught Tom Smith Disease,

I've got songs about aliens, vicious and grody,
Songs about Smurfette and Wile E. Coyote,
I wish I could blame it on booze or peyote,
But noooooo, I've got Tom Smith Disease.

Moonwolf does historical ballad,
With style and skill and panache.
Juanita does horror, both funny and squalid,
Then sells you her tapes for your cash.

Leslie Fish does Kipling, or protest, or pagan,
Or songs of forgotten deep space.
Me? Dead Piglet, dead Robin, Ronald Reagan,
And I can't get this grin off my face!

So, if you're out filking and somebody's milking
The audience for all that they're worth,
If they're shreiking at wordplay that'd make any nerd say,
"I have to get back to the Earth",

If he's telling tall tales till tis' tempting to taste-test
Tums-Tetly titanium tea,
Kindly use something dull on the back of his skull,
But be careful, 'cause it might be me!

I've got groupies, awards, and some torch-waving hordes,
And certainly Tom Smith Disease,
My romances don't last 'cause I filk them too fast,
I'm a victim of Tom Smith Disease.

When I pick up my pen, the stopwatches appear,
My music just gets weirder year after year....

I can't shut off the puns
Any more than the leer,
It's like gluing the leaves back on trees.

At some point, of course, I
Should mention the Dorsai
Whose logo is by Kelly Freas.

... I can't think of a pun.
Hm. I guess the song's done.
And Bradstreet.

There's no cure till I die,
But who better than I
To "suffer" from Tom Smith Disease!

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