“Get Rhythm” by Johnny Cash in Delight in Disorder (the soundtrack)

They say misery loves company. Mostly misery makes company miserable. As I was sliding into a post-college depression, I had many friends who were good listeners and showed me great understanding compassion.  I was stuck — living in an unfurnished apartment, working in a plastics factory, aspiring to be a writer but writing crap and going nowhere. People without vision perish. I was dying on the vine.

Then a friend of mine met someone who turned his life around. She made someone who was maybe even more miserable than I was happy. I began to believe such a blessing might indeed come even to such as the likes of me. If life wasn’t simply taking the shape of a song for me, I would hum along just the same, like the shoeshine boy in Johnny Cash‘s “Get Rhythm.”

Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues
Come on, get rhythm when you get the blues
Get a rock ‘n’ roll feelin’ in your bones
Put taps on your toes and get gone
Get rhythm when you get the blues

A Little shoeshine boy never gets low down
But he’s got the dirtiest job in town
Bendin’ low at the peoples’ feet
On the windy corner of the dirty street
Well, I asked him while he shined my shoes
How’d he keep from gettin’ the blues
He grinned as he raised his little head
Popped a shoeshine rag and then he said

Get rhythm when you get the blues
Come on, get rhythm when you get the blues
A jumpy rhythm makes you feel so fine
It’ll shake all the trouble from your worried mind
Get rhythm when you get the blues

Get rhythm when you get the blues
Come on , get rhythm when you get the blues
Get a rock ‘n’ roll feelin’ in your bones
Put taps on your toes and get gone
Get rhythm when you get the blues

Well, I sat down to listen to the shoeshine boy
And I thought I was gonna jump for joy
Slapped on the shoe polish left and right
He took a shoeshine rag and he held it tight
He stopped once to wipe the sweat away
I said you’re a mighty little boy to be-a workin’ that way
He said I like it with a big wide grin
Kept on a poppin’ and he said again

Get rhythm when you get the blues
Come on, get rhythm when you get the blues
It only costs a dime, just a nickel a shoe
Does a million dollars worth of good for you
Get rhythm when you get the blues

(“Get Rhythm” is the fifth song on my autobiographical Spotify playlist Delight in Disorder)

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