Wednesday, June 25, 2008

If I Had a Boat

We live right next to Hoover Reservoir, a big, man-made lake that supplies the drinking water for most of Columbus. Boats sail on that lake at this time of year, and I go out there and watch the skinny, suntanned people on their boats and think, "I wish I had a boat."

The last time I went sailing on that lake the boat (not owned by me) tipped over, I fell into the water, my lifejacket went up around my neck, constricting my arm movements, and I kind of bobbed there on the surface, a human buoy, until some kind owner of another boat towed me in to shore. It was not all that great of an experience. Still, I want a boat.

I sing this song:

If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

If I were Roy Rogers
I'd sure enough be single
I couldn't bring myself to marrying old Dale
It'd just be me and Trigger
We'd go riding through them movies
Then we'd buy a boat and on the sea we'd sail

And if I had a boatI'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a ponyI'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

The mystery masked man was smart
He got himself a Tonto
'Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
But Tonto he was smarter
And one day said Kemo Sabe
Kiss my ass I bought a boat
I'm going out to sea

And if I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

And if I were like lightning
I wouldn't need no sneakers
I'd come and go wherever I would please
And I'd scare 'em by the shade tree
And I'd scare 'em by the light pole
But I would not scare my pony
on my boat out on the sea

And if I had a boatI'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a ponyI'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat
-- Lyle Lovett, "If I Had a Boat"

8 comments:

Jim Janknegt said...

I'm sure you know the old saying: Buying a boat is the second best day of your life. The best day of your life is the day you sell your boat.

Brother-in-law Bill said...

In the same vein, if you want the experience of owning a boat, I'm told you should stand in the shower with your clothes on and throw money continually.

My guess is you just wanted an excuse to share the lyrics to one of my favorite songs from arguably Lyle's best album (first one, I believe).

SDG said...

I sing the refrain of this song to my kids All. The. Time. Absolute perfection.

I heard the refrain one time on the radio, just that snatch of the song, and I remembered it forever. I didn't know at the time it was Lyle Lovett, although I wasn't surprised when I found out.

I never looked up the rest of the words. I knew they could never live up to the perfection of the refrain.

Years later, someone else heard me singing it, looked them up, printed them out and gave them to me. Sure enough. I still sing only the refrain.

Andy Whitman said...

Steven, thanks for commenting. I fully understand why you'd only sing the chorus to your kids. But I'd nominate that verse about the Lone Ranger and Tonto as a perfect verse, too.

patrick said...

One of my all-time favorite songs! And one I've sung it with my kids for years. At some point, though, it dawned on me that they weren't relating to any of references in the verses (except the bit about not needing sneakers), so my six-year-old and I collaborated on a new verse with contemporary references. We taught it to his class at school when I did a music day with them, and it was a huge hit.

St. Izzy said...

This is without doubt the Lyle Lovett song that drops into my head most often. About once a fortnight it just pops in to say hi. Some of my students now recognize snippets without ever having heard Lyle sing it. Which is a shame, really. Cause I can't sing.

keith said...

Ha! That song's funny! I need to find it and listen.

Julana said...

Great song.
Enough to make you want a boat.