I want to teach you a lesson in the worst kind of way.

September 7: Just One Yesterday – Fall Out Boy

This song choice embarrasses me a little bit, but I’m going with it anyway. I went on Spotify last weekend to look up their newest single (though, truth me told, I’m still not sick of “LIGHT EM UP UP UP”), and somehow 45 minutes later I realized I’d listened to the entire damn album. And, God help me, I liked most of it.

There must be some kind of support group for people who actually like Fall Out Boy, right?

They’re one of those bands I can never take seriously, mostly because their lyrics never make any sense whatsoever, but the melodies are always so catchy I can’t help but keep listening to the nonsense. I mean, really, how exactly do songs know what you do in the dark? And what does that have to do with lighting ’em up? What exactly are they lighting up?

The lyrics to this song are no less awkward or confusing, but as usual, I love the melody. And because I’ve been thinking a lot about the past, and the passage of time, and regrets, the one line that I can understand – I’d trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday – has stuck with me.

But, you see, I wouldn’t. Not a chance in hell. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind going back in time to live through a yesterday one more time – being a carefree 20-year-old student in Paris, for example, or the night the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in Detroit. But trading all of my tomorrows for just one yesterday? That’s some serious regret right there.

Regret is a funny thing. “I wish I’d…” is a bad road to go down. I’ve definitely gone down that road, many, many times. That road takes me back to my senior year of college, where I’d give a stern lecture to my 21-year-old self about all of the reasons she shouldn’t drop whatever aspirations she’d had and stay at home because of a guy. I’d tell her about the heartache and the loneliness and about just how little money will be in her checking account in ten years. I’d tell her how she could be a high-powered media exec by now, if she just forgot about “giving it a try” with the guy and move to New York or LA right away and work her ass off.

But the thing is, if I did that, if I gave that girl that lecture, I have no idea how she’d really turn out. She definitely wouldn’t be the woman I am today, forged by the experiences I’ve had. She may visit Greece, but she’d never live there for a year, learning the language and the culture and the real people, not just the people who take your ticket at the Acropolis. She may have more money in her checking account, but she wouldn’t know the sheer joy that comes with finally coming out of a long tunnel to a new apartment all her own, a job she loves, and the feeling that after years, her life is back on track. She wouldn’t have met the people I’d met, formed the friendships I’ve formed. She might turn out to be a sort of awful person – have you seen 13 Going on 30? – and I’d never want that for myself.

So today’s September Song doesn’t necessarily describe how I’m feeling today. Rather, it’s just a catchy song I like that got me to thinking a bit about life – something you definitely weren’t expecting from Fall Out Boy, I’m sure.

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One thought on “I want to teach you a lesson in the worst kind of way.

  1. For historical accuracy’s sake, the sentiment of “trade all of my tomorrows for just one yesterday” is hardly a Fall Out Boy original. It is perhaps best known as a line in Janis Joplin’s “Me & Bobby McGee,” though that was a cover, and the song was originally penned by Kris Kristofferson. Still, he borrowed the line from Jenny Lou Carson, who sang “I’d Trade All Of My Tomorrows” [“for just one yesterday”] in the 1940s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2u9VipfDvg), a song that was later a hit for Merle Haggard.

    The idea surely predates Ms. Carson in some literary and/or theatrical form, but this is as far back as I was able to trace musically.

    [Note: I know that Fall Out Boy’s lyrics weren’t actually the point of your post, and tangenting on the history of the line would have distracted from your main points (hence why you didn’t include it). I’m just a stickler for citations and properly crediting sources.]

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