You rise with a startled jerk from your supine position, shivering, body caked in a gelatinous sweat that could only be the product of near-100-percent humidity. An alligator bites your foot from your leg as a steady downpour and fierce winds commence inside your small, grime-bespattered bedroom, which looks surprisingly like a Vietnamese jungle crossed with a riverboat.
Suddenly, a financial analyst and tarot card reader appear in the doorway, holding hands, mumbling something about all of your money being gone and your girlfriend cheating on you. You begin to cry and twitch.
An impending flood of adrenaline unlooses into your system, urging you to run. Just then, an earthquake commences—magnitude 14.8—creating a sinkhole below your Bayou shack that swallows you and all your worthless belongings into center-of-the-earth obscurity …
* * *
Does any of this sound familiar to you? It should.
At one time or another, we all will suffer the terrifying ordeal of being unsure whether we’re trapped inside a Creedence Clearwater Revival song. It is a psychological phenomenon that may strike at any moment and, unfortunately, is totally unavoidable.
Do not panic! It is usually a mistake to assume you are trapped in a C.C.R. tune, although it is sometimes difficult to discern. It requires amateur knowledge as to the telltale signs, combined with a level head, to uncover the truth behind this daunting query: am I really stuck in a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, or is it just my imagination?
The following is designed to help you sort fact from fiction and mentally prepare you for what could be the most harrowing experience of your life:
* * *
Nightfall is descending. You notice commuter traffic has thinned a bit, and there is a pleasant, festive vibe in the air. You hear cheering, then music. Something down-homey. Gradually, you are able to pick out each instrument as you walk toward the sound’s source: a washboard, a kazoo, harp, gut bass. The crowd is gathered around the source, now, throwing shiny round pieces into instrument cases. You have no shiny objects, but it does not seem to matter. You hang around regardless, happily absorbing the scene…
Q: This really reminds me of the tune “Down on the Corner.” Is this where I am? Inside “Down on the Corner”?
A: Hmm. While this would be one of the better, mellower C.C.R. songs to get stuck in, I’m afraid it’s not the case. Since you do seem to be near a corner, however, and given the street musicians and pedestrian traffic, it’s much more likely the corner of Fifth and Market streets in San Francisco, outside Powell Street BART station. It’s also quite probable that, though you sincerely believe you are listening to Willy and the Poorboys, it’s actually just a homeless guy who calls himself Diamond Dan—surrounded by gullible, inebriated tourists—simultaneously playing all those instruments himself. Sorry.
* * *
You wake in a dreary place. Dreary, but definitely familiar. You’ve been there too long, broke, hopeless, and everyday is worse than the previous. Once there was the prospect of fame and fortune, but that has faded. The bus ride into town cost you all the cash in your wallet and you feel like there is no way out, except perhaps to walk. You are exhausted, friendless, and jaded with the local music scene. Everyone is drunk and there are grapes. Boy, are there a shitload of grapes around …
Q: I feel like, I don’t know, maybe I’m trapped in the song “Lodi.” What should I do?
A: This is so common that it almost doesn’t merit response.
In no way, shape or form does Fogerty make mention of grapes, or any other delectable fruits for that matter, anywhere whatsoever in this track. Pretty obvious, right? So, because there are no vineyards in the song “Lodi,” but everything else seems spot-on, we must conclude quite simply that you are stuck in Lodi, California proper, which, not coincidentally, is chock full of vineyards. This probably isn’t the first time you’ve been stuck there, either. Right?
Now pay attention better this time. Rent a car on your credit card (I recommend Alamo). Take CA-99 south about ten miles. Merge onto CA-4 going west. Go a few more miles till you pass through Stockton. This should get you back to Interstate 5, and then it’s a straight shot to L.A.
* * *
Your deceased father, twice your size for some peculiar reason, tells you a grave story of an anal-probing incident he experienced at the hands of the “The Man” many years ago. He explains that you will undergo the same fate if you are not careful. Then you run, naked, as fireworks resound in the distance. You run until suddenly you are tall as he was, watching yourself riding on the back of a giant harnessed alligator with a woman of royal blood who cooks great gumbo. Finally, you metamorphose into a locomotive until you pass out …
Q: Am I being held prisoner inside “Born on the Bayou”?
A: You are being held prisoner by LSD—really, really fucking good LSD.
Q: May I please have some?
* * *
On the horizon looms a full, gargantuan orange moon, increasing in ominous enormity by the second. There is violent shaking, lightning cracks, flash floods, all intensified by an oncoming maelstrom of gale-force wind, sleet, and rocky detritus. You have your things together and have made your peace with God. This is the end. Apocalypse …
Q: This has to be “Bad Moon Rising,” right? I mean, come on.
A: Upon initial examination, there is indeed a fair chance you are stuck inside “Bad Moon Rising.” The imagery is unmistakable, no doubt.
But ask yourself this: Did I, in fact, “go ’round tonight,” as the song warns against doing for fear of death? Or did I stay home to watch Armageddon for the fourteenth time with my celebrity-obsessed girlfriend in the meager hopes of ingratiating myself into receiving a blow job?
This was an honest mistake on your part. Ben Affleck’s acting abilities are frequently misconstrued as a portent of End Times.