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You build up a wall, you live in a shell

Postpone the real issues and then all is well

Sheltered haven’s your life, like blinders on a horse

Deciding not to decide is a matter of course

One day you’re gonna wake up

And get zapped back into the real world

One day your illusions are gonna break up

Reality Shock will have the final word.

You played with less than a full deck, loaded and marked

Poker face joker ace like an old-hand shark

You stacked the odds against me and you dealt it hard

But all you built out of it was a house of cards

One day babe, that righteous wind

Is gonna blow your flimsy creation away

One day babe, it’s gonna do you in

Reality Shock like lightning on a clear blue day.

Shocked by reality! What more can I say

Like the day your child will tell you he or she is gay

Your best friend, the “man’s man,” he loves to wear a dress

He wishes he was born a girl—you never would have guessed.

Wake up in the morning and find your lover is gone

Got big bills to pay but your account is overdrawn

Can’t get no job without a home, can’t get no home without a job

The taxman cometh and he leaveth thee robbed.

Radio says the president has been shot dead

Now the country’s running leaderless like a chicken without a head

The controversial prime minister has just resigned

There’s chaos in the streets like everybody’s lost their mind.

Go on and live your life and go your merry way

Put one foot in front of the other, come whatever may

Delude yourself into thinking things aren’t as bad as they seem

Believing you’ll wake up soon out of this terrible dream.

But one day soon it’ll all hit you at once

And your ship of stability will run aground

You’ll find that all you held dear was just a front

Your unsinkable faith will follow the Titanic down.

One day it’s all gonna blow up in your face

And you’ll be scrambling to find your voice

What you thought was substance is just empty space

Circumstance will leave you with no other choice.

Well one day it’ll all come down like a ton of bricks

You’ll realize you can no longer pretend

Your cheap wooden house will get blown to tindersticks

Reality Shock will get you at the very very end.

©2023 The Hesh Inc.

""US Antisemitism 2023" - original AI art by The Hesh Inc.
Antisemitism raises its ugly head in America, 2023.

"REALITY SHOCK" is, of course, the name of the project that my longtime musical partner, Izzy Kieffer, and I have been carrying on, on and off, since our high school days. But the history goes a bit deeper than that; it is the title of a song written by two members of the original REALITY SHOCK band, saxophonist Gedaliah Ben-Israel and guitarist Emil Leuchter, back during the band's original run in Jerusalem in the 1980s. It was originally written as an instrumental, with a jazz/r&b vibe akin to that of Van Morrison's "Moondance," and when it was performed live, Gedaliah would deliver a fiery sermon during the song's midsection after the band had jammed on the main theme a few times. He would describe being caught by surprise after one's reality had been altered by sudden change in circumstances, blowing a few lines on the sax after each example of such reality shock. In those early days, though, the band went by the decidedly uninspired name of "The Electric Blues Band" and needed something more exciting to interest potential audiences, and while brainstorming on new names during rehearsal, Izzy decided that the song title would make a great band name. The others in the band, including yours truly, liked the idea, and that's how the whole thing started.

The original tune, "Reality Shock," never had any lyrics; it was always performed as an instrumental jam, framing Gedaliah's brimstone and fire. In the early 2000s, when Izzy and I were performing once more under the name REALITY SHOCK but as a duo, joined at times by several other musicians, I decided to write some lyrics to fit the music. I drew upon some of the images from Gedaliah's rap, especially in the third verse, and added my own as well. The "Theme From" was added to the title as a sort of in-joke dating back to "Theme From Rawhide" in The Blues Brothers movie. Oddly enough, though, "(Theme From) Reality Shock" was never recorded or performed ... but that could change soon.

These lyrics took on an urgency in the wake of the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol; "there’s chaos in the streets like everybody’s lost their mind" especially resonated. And now, in 2023 America, on college campuses and in the city streets, vicious antisemitic demonstrations are happening, the likes that have not been seen since 1930s Germany—and I don't make such comparisons lightly—as responses to the Israeli war against the bloodthirsty terrorist group Hamas in Gaza. "Reality shock" reigns again as any pretension toward civility is gleefully abandoned and people reveal their base instincts of anti-Jewish hatred. I can only pray that sanity reclaims this country but fear that the monster cannot be put back into its bottle.

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