“Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band
Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon?
Doo, doo doo
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrow.”
~Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Looking Out My Backdoor”
My dad came home the other day extremely excited to talk to me.
“Bonnie,” he said, a big smile on his face. “I’ve got a nonsense song for you!”
The song was “Looking Out My Backdoor” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. My dad had listened to it many times before, but he hadn’t paid much attention to the lyrics. This time, however, he found himself listening more carefully to the words.
“It’s all nonsense,” he explained to me in a rush. “There are elephants, a giant doing cartwheels, and a statue wearing high heels! I thought you might be interested.”
Naturally, I was. In fact, in honour of my dad’s discovery, I would like to spend some time discussing this song today.
Let’s start with the title: “Looking Out My Backdoor.”
What does it mean?
Well, it probably means many things to many different people, but to me, it seems to suggest the importance of concentrating on the present moment. When we keep our eyes focused on what’s before us, in the future, we often end up missing what we have right now.
And, in the case of this song, what the speaker has is a good time.
He has imagination. He has fun. He has the ridiculous.
He knows that sometimes, when reality knocks, it’s better to pretend that no one’s home.
It’s better to take a break from life and enjoy a mental vacation. Even if people think you are a little insane when you do.
To be sure, that is exactly what the speaker does. His song resembles the nursery rhymes of our childhoods. The rhymes that we supposedly outgrow as adults.
But the truth is, we never outgrow our need for fun. We never outgrow our need for play.
The backdoor to our childhoods is never shut. Indeed, sometimes it is only when we experience our lives from the view of our child selves that we are actually able to feel truly at home.
Maybe that’s why we enjoy these nonsensical songs so much. We love the play–we love the release they offer us from the grown-up responsibilities we carry in our daily lives.
I love that my dad and I can indulge in a bit of nonsensical play now and then. I love that he will never be too old to have fun or express wonder at a new discovery.
The fact is, sorrows come whether we buy them or not. They are more like burglars than solicitors. But they can’t steal our joy unless we let them. My dad has helped teach me that.
One of the safest ways to guard our joy is to share it with others. It is a great way to scare away unwanted troubles and feelings.
Today, I am looking out my backdoor and am seeing all of the wonderful, goofy moments I have shared with my dad over the years. I want to thank him for always adding a bit of play to my life. His nonsense fills my heart with so much joy! The happiness he shares with me and the world is such a gift. When the sorrows come, there is no one I’d rather sing them away with.
Doo, doo doo…I love you Dad.
Nonsense and all.