Saturday, June 2, 2007

Hillary's Still Here

The Story And The Lyrics

This is a parody of the great Sondheim standard I'm Still Here, which was introduced in the vastly underappreciated 1971 musical Follies. The song has since become an anthem of sorts for women of a certain age who've been around the block more than a few times, e.g., Shirley MacLaine, Streisand, etc. OK, it's an anthem of sorts for nutty women of a certain age who've been around the block more than a few times. Why shouldn't Hillary have a shot at it?

I originally wrote the parody about six or seven years ago (I've since updated the lyrics to reflect more recent events). I snail-mailed a copy to Frank Rich, who responded with a really nice note telling me that he enjoyed it so much that he sent it off to Steve (Mr. Sondheim to you). A few weeks later, I got a personal note from Steve who claimed to be "very impressed" by my effort, further complimenting me for my "funny and fresh" rhymes, and for my "rhythmic sense" which, in Steve's opinion, "makes the whole thing very sharp". Let me repeat that: Stephen Sondheim sent me a personal note, pecked out on His own typewriter and signed in His own handwriting, lavishly praising my parody of a song that He Himself had written. (At this point you may, like me, choose to go back and re-read the previous two sentences.) A correspondence of sorts ensued, in the course of which Steve and I discussed, among other things, why Larry Hart is overrated as a lyricist and why I thought that Steve would really enjoy my parody show Holiday For Heretics, a CD of which I mailed to him under separate cover. A few days later, a bit of a chill began to creep into our relationship, and like Victor Laszlo seeking to chat with Senor Ugarte, I began to find the conversation a trifle one-sided. The smoke signals from Camp Steve were unmistakable: Don't call us, we'll call you.

In the event of a major natural disaster, after making sure that my family is OK, the first thing I'd run back into the house to save are the letters from Steve. I can only hope he feels the same way about mine.)


Good times and bum times
I’ve seen ‘em all and, my dear
I’m still here
State dinners sometimes
Sometimes just Carville and beer
But I’m here
I made Webb Hubbell
Sing the blues
Got into trouble
With the jews
Kissing Yasir in the rear
But I’m here

I've been in limbo
Thanks to that slimeball Ken Starr
And I'm here
Paid off the bimbo
That was one pricey cigar
But I’m here
Sat still while sickies
Called me “bitch”
Helped Harold Ickes
Dig his ditch
Ditto Vince Foster—that was a titch
More severe
Still, no-one knew I was there
So I’m here!

I fought the rumor
I'm into nubile young things
And I’m here
Sucked up to Schumer
Soon started clipping his wings
And I’m here
I’m sorta pretty, not too dumb
Said, "New York City, here I come!"
Love those Bronx Bombers, come on chum
Hear me cheer
I rode a goddamn subway
And I’m here!

I’ve shouted out “Kids first!” and “It takes a vi-i-ilage!”
Nobody's laughing today
‘Cause once you've said “Kids first!” and “It takes a vi-i-ilage!”
Nothing you say sounds cliché

Chappaqua's cozy
Just a bit proper and prim
So I'm here

Neighbors get nosy
Wondering who's home with him
While I'm here

Look at me, mama
I got spunk
No more high drama
No more funk
Barack Obama
You two-bit punk
Go get yourself a career
I'll be here!

I’ve moseyed over
From the left side of the road
And I’m here
Prayed to Jehovah
Please let John Kerry implode
And I’m here

Don’t like the Senate-
So damn small
Two more years then it’s
Time to haul
Back to that house down the mall
Let me steer
This time I get the office
And I’m here!

I've gotten through
"Girlfriend, why don't you just leave him?
After what he put you through?"
Or better yet
"Girlfriend, if you ever leave him
You'll just be Hillary Who"

Final Chorus

Good times bum times I've seen 'em all and my dear
I'm still here
State dinners sometimes, sometimes just Carville and beer
Met all the players
Learned the ropes
I've scolded mayors
Told off Popes
Practiced how not to appear
Lord knows I've covered my rear
And I'm here!