Lyric of the Week: STAY COOL
Updated: Mar 30
When you know that the world’s gonna end the next day
And it clamps down all around you and you don’t know what to say
Your seaside town is gonna be another country
That’s ruled by a dictator who’s only power-hungry
The people in the town get forced out by the army
You’re gonna go crazy and it’s no time to party
When the girl you love is in the seaside town
She’s sticking to the roof when the walls are coming down
See this and your mind spins round and round
The soldiers come to shpritz her with their firefighting foam
Shout through the TV Baby Won’t You Come Home
When the girl you love goes after some creep
You get so pissed ‘cause you thought your love was deep
She tells you Stay cool, this ain’t nothing big
You throw your stuff around and smash guitars at the gig
Go out into the street run rings around the block
Knowing you’re a victim of reality shock
Thinking of doing crazy things to yourself
Just burn her letters and her books up on the shelf
Don’t give a damn if you’re looking like a fool
You put your whole life into your love
Then she throws you out with one mean shove
© 2019 The Hesh Inc.
This is one of my earliest songs. I wrote it in the spring of 1982, as a junior in high school.
My family had moved to Israel several years earlier. My family leans to the right when it comes to Israeli politics—all of the Biblical Promised Land belongs to the Jewish People, period. We favor the 'settlement enterprise' and believe that anything less than the Israeli victory lines as of June 10, 1967 are what Israeli diplomat Abba Eban (no right-winger himself, as it happened) termed "Auschwitz borders." We viewed the city of Yamit, on the Mediterranean coast of Sinai southwest of Gaza, as a lawful and rightful expansion of these biblical borders, and supported all who lived there.
Imagine the crisis of faith that ensued, then, when the supposedly right-wing, expansionist government of Menachem Begin acquiesced to the terms of the Camp David Accords and agreed to pull all Israeli presence out of the Sinai—including Yamit. As the final deadline for this pullout loomed closer, the whole country seemed to be convulsed with "peace fever"—and not in a good way. For the right, to which my family and social circle belonged, didn't view this as peace at all, but rather as surrender. We were part of the "Stop the Retreat in Sinai" movement and some of us even went down to Yamit, once the wave of its residents who had accepted the government's meager compensation had evacuated voluntarily, to occupy the empty houses in a last-ditch effort to prevent the withdrawal.
I didn't join them. On the one hand, philosophically, I was against the withdrawal from Sinai. A number of classmates and I considered going down to Yamit and join the protesters, especially on one day when a mass protest had been called by the movement's leaders, but we were prevented from leaving campus by school staff. On the other hand, I knew this was going to be a disaster. And when the girl I had just started seeing had announced that she was going to join the protest, I told her I didn't want her to do it because I (a) feared she would get hurt and (b) wanted her with me, not off on some distant, quixotic crusade. I deeply resented being second to any political consideration, even if I happened to agree with it. As I recall, she didn't end up going either. So she didn't end up on the roof with all those holdouts getting sprayed with firefighting foam before being physically removed from the scene by the army. And so ended the debacle of Yamit, for me and mine.
My supposed girlfriend and I, however, didn't last into the summer. She took a fancy to one of my classmates who had come over to my house one weekend, and she ditched me in favor of him quite blatantly. I never quite felt my blood boil quite as physically as I did then. In that moment I understood what drives some people to commit so-called crimes of passion. It's a good thing that I thought with the big head instead of the little one, because there might have been a few dead bodies by the time that weekend was over had it been otherwise. Ahh, teen angst.
I wrote these words after the boiling settled down and I was able to gather my senses about me; they helped me get through what pretty much amounted to my first serious breakup. I banged the music out on the piano—a Bo Diddley beat reminiscent of Springsteen's "She's The One" and The Who's "Magic Bus." I never recorded or performed this song, although I rehearsed it a few times with my band at the time, the first edition of REALITY SHOCK, in Jerusalem.