How it all started
Well, that was some weird shit … now
the fat lady sings
“Well, that was some weird …”
So commented someone in attendance at the Trump Inaugural 4 years ago.
So commented someone in attendance at the Trump Inaugural 4 years ago just minutes into the Trump Administration as Trump finished his Inaugural Address to the nation.
Remember that speech?
The one where Trump said, “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
When he finished someone turned to the people nearby and said, “Well, that was some weird shit.”
That someone was George W. Bush.
By some accounts President Bush said it out loud to Hillary Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton herself tells the story that way.
More than anyone knew, President Bush summed up the speech and previewed the next four years.
Four years that are ever so slowly coming to an end.
It was Yogi Berra who famously said “it ain’t over until its over“.
This gets repeated in close athletic contests all the time.
Another phrase that gets used a lot, especially in late game, come from behind unexpected victories , is that “it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.“
The statement is supposed to be a reference to attending opera performances, especially performances of Wagnerian Opera’s that last for a week or more.
The message is you know the opera is over when the fat lady sings.
Another story on the phrase I have in my head is that the fat lady singing was the traditional closing act back in Vaudeville days.
It also seems to me that the last act was bad on purpose as it made the crowd want to go home.
Much like Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport is designed to help the crowd appreciate and look forward to their own homes even more.
And for some reason I always thought the fat lady sings was a Yogi Berra saying.
So I was surprised to feed the phrase into the Google and learn that the phrase is of relatively recent origin.
According to Wikipedia, “The first recorded use appeared in the Dallas Morning News on March 10, 1976:
Despite his obvious allegiance to the Red Raiders, Texas Tech sports information director Ralph Carpenter was the picture of professional objectivity when the Aggies rallied for a 72–72 tie late in the SWC tournament finals. “Hey, Ralph,” said Bill Morgan, “this… is going to be a tight one after all.” “Right”, said Ralph, “the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”
I was sure it went back much further than that but who wants to argue with Wikipedia.
As Mr. Berra said, “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
Wikipedia states that: “The phrase is generally understood to be a reference to opera sopranos, who were traditionally overweight. The imagery of Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and its last part, Götterdämmerung, is typically used in depictions accompanying uses of the phrase.”
Wikipedia also lists phrases with similar meanings
“It ain’t over till it’s over“, a phrase popularized by baseball player Yogi Berra.
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”, a well-known saying which originated in the 16th century.
“The future isn’t carved in stone“, a phrase meaning that the future can always be changed.
“Nothing is carved in stone” or “It isn’t carved in stone.” a phrase meaning a situation or plans can be changed.
The last one calls to mind when my Father died back in January of 1988.
Boy, Howdy! But does that seem like a long time ago.
When my Father’s tombstone was delivered we all went out to see it.
The stone cutter had made a mistake common to the month of January and the tombstone displayed the year of death as 1987.
We all looked at the stone and we looked at the date and we looked at each other.
As I remember it my brother Steve looked around and said, “What can we do? It IS carved in stone!”
My Dad would have liked that.
But I digress.
I was struck by the Wikipedia entry about my phrase in question and that it stated it is understood to refer to the Götterdämmerung in Wagner’s opera cycle.
Feed Götterdämmerung into the google and the google says that a Götterdämmerung is a collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder.
Well if that doesn’t make you put the coffee down and quote President Bush I don’t know what will.
It is time for the fat lady to sing.
Maybe she has been singing for some time.
I feel like I have wanted to go home and appreciate home for some time.
And the song she is singing is, “Well, that was some weird shit.”