Meyran Kraus

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Ironic
by Alanis Morissette

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn't it ironic... don't you think?

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
"Well isn't this nice..."
And isn't it ironic... don't you think?

Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything's okay and everything's going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out
When you think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up in your face

A traffic jam when you're already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It's meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn't it ironic... don't you think?
A little too ironic... and yeah, I really do think...

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out.

Now, How Was That Ironic?

Dear Alanis,
Although I am a huge fan of yours and enjoy your work in general, I couldn't help giggling upon hearing these lyrics, especially when they unyieldingly ask: "Isn't it ironic... Don't you think?"
...Well, no, I don't. *You'd* like to think that 'unlucky' was a fine synonym, when, if you had looked that word up, you would have known that you are way off. In fact, it has long been established that not a single one of the situations that take place in your text conveys in any way the pure meaning of irony; instead, they were aptly identified by the pundits as 'just a lot of annoying bummers'.
What they lack is that tiny and sudden twist. In the first lines you have unwittingly defined a guy that's a tad shy of a hundred dropping dead as 'ironic'. Huh? Where is the twist? I'd find it odd if he *lived* another sunny day...
Finally, I thought you might get a kick out of the few offhand samples of genuine irony I've worked on (again, as a fan), and maybe even use them as addenda to your song:

"It's like a fire in the Water Department..."
"It's like an airborne, heavy food-kit crushing a weak African kid..."
"It's like someone dedicating a song to irony, when, funnily enough, the only hidden irony is in failing to do so."

Yours truly,
Mey K.

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A Tribute to the Month of May:
Anagrammed paraphrases of two poems and two literary quotes relating to May.

It was the month of May, when foliage on herbs and trees wore a sleek green coat; When a tiny, coy bud did open and an indigo blossom did tease with its sweet odour and lusty poise; And when lovers, too easily enticed by the same force which reawakened nature outside, felt their hearts soar again, reminisced about those past trysts, past plights, and bygone gaieties, and yearned for a renewal of this magical acuity which is love.

(From 'La Morte d'Arthur' by Sir T. Malory)

Mother of Hermes! O, still youthful Maia!
May I sing to thee
As thou wast fawned on, at wet coasts of Baiae?
Or may I woo thee
In earlier Sicilian? Or thy smiles
Seek as they once were sought at Grecian isles
By bards who died content on dulcet sward,
Leaving apt verses to a little clan?
O, bring me their old spirit, and unheard
But by the wary Primrose, and the span
Of eden and few ears,
Rounded by thee, my song'd die away
Content as theirs,
Rich in a dogged worship of a day.

(Keats)

It is in May that wise Nature holds up at us her irate forefinger, bidding us to always be aware that we are not gods, but overconceited limbs on her own family tree. She assures us we are siblings to the chowder-doomed clam and the sad-eyed donkey; lineal scions of the wee daisy and the great ape, and, in a way, first cousins to the cooing doves, the tooting mallards and those weary abigails and cops in the parks.

(A little piece of 'The Marry Month of May' by writer O' Henry)

Oh, I can't tell you how it was,
But this I know: it came to pass;
Ceased on some bright, mere seamless day
When May shone young... Oh, favored May!
As yet those poppies were not born,
Retained between safe blades of corn;
One last egg had not hatched as yet,
Nor any bird foregone its mate.

Oh, I can't tell you what it was,
But this I know: it sure did pass.
It hurried free with cheerful May,
As all fair lives, it drained away,
And rendered me old, cold and gray.

(Christina Georgina Rossetti)

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Updated: May 10, 2016


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