The Right Word

There’s a movie out now titled “Call Me By Your Name.” I haven’t seen it and I don’t intend to. It seems so boring I got drowsy just looking it up on Google. That notwithstanding, it’s been nominated for three Academy Awards. The only reason I bring it up is, every time I hear the movie mentioned in all the pre-Oscar hype, it reminds me of song.

The title of the song is, “You Never Even Call Me By My Name,” and it has been called the “perfect Country & Western song.”

The song’s chorus goes like this:

“Well, I’ll hang around as long as you will let me.

I never minded standin’ in the rain.

You don’t have to call me darlin’, darlin’.

You never even call me by my name.”

The song was written by Steve Goodman. He sent it to David Allan Coe, proclaiming it to be the perfect County & Western song. Coe begged to differ.

He wrote back and said it was NOT the perfect County & Western song because “he hadn’t said anything at all about Mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison or gettin’ drunk.”

Goodman considered this, and then wrote an additional verse. He sent it back to Coe who finally conceded the point, the song was now perfect.

The new verse was:

“Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got out of prison,

And I went to pick her up in the rain.

But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck,

She got run over by a damned old train.”

The song was released in 1975. The movie is set in 1983. The song is country, the movie is set in the country of Italy. The song is fun, has been recorded multiple times and covered by Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Charlie Pride. The movie has a running time of two hours and 12 minutes, but probably seems longer.

I can’t say for sure, but something tells me if I found myself in a theater showing Call Me By Your Name, I’d be hoping to see a train headed in my direction.


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