WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Onerous

I have a cold. Not a lethal cold or one that will make me wonder why we got flu shots. No, it’s a regular winter cold with the usual drippy nose, hoarse voice, and sore throat. I was supposed to go to the cardiologist today, but when one is getting his or her heart checked, it’s best to not have anything else wrong with you or your readings come out strange.

Garry’s got “it” too. So does my son. The dogs, however, are fine.

Red-capped woodpecker, warbler, and a nuthatch

The doctor — the actual doctor himself — called to tell me to get some sleep, stay hydrated (whatever happened to “drink plenty of liquids”) and later, call for a new appointment. When I felt better. Which was not today.

I had just gotten back into bed (after the dogs barked me out of it). I had fed them two or three small treats, turned on the coffee, and tucked myself back under the covers.

The phone rang. It was the doctor’s office. I said I was trying to sleep, but between the barking dogs and the phone ringing, it was starting to seem pointless.

She said to call back when I felt better and I drifted off to sleep.

Bonnie barks me awake every morning. With or without assistance from the other two.

Duke doesn’t usually bark. He flings himself at the door and tries to knock it down. Once, he knocked the knob and latch out of alignment and was on the bed in a blink.

I don’t need to give him the incentive to do it again. It’s not a strong door. I don’t think it would survive another pounding. Duke’s no giant, but he’s got vim and vigor going for him. His enthusiasm knows no bounds. None. What he lacks in weight, he makes up for in pure energy.

In between interruptions, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” kept rolling through my head. like one of those earworms you usually get from commercials or Disney cartoons. It started and wouldn’t stop. It still hasn’t stopped.

I gave in and got up. By now, my back was hurting enough to get me out of bed regardless. Excessive bed rest makes everything more painful. If I was ever forced to stay in bed for a prolonged period, it would probably kill me.

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe
Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”
Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye


We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”
Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it


Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, “Bridge on the River Kwai”

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide
Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go
U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, “Psycho”, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it


Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

“Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson
Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it


Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

“Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on


We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it


We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …


Songwriters: Billy Joel

We Didn’t Start the Fire lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group


The world is an onerous place. The business of surviving it gets worse almost by the minute. I didn’t think it could get worse. I thought we had bottomed out. Apparently, there is no bottom. Maybe there never was and we all lived in a happy fantasy, each in our own personal parallel reality.

It’s a sunny day and the birds are out. I think I’ll take some pictures.



Categories: #FOWC, Daily Prompt, Fandango's One Word Challenge, lyrics, Marilyn Armstrong, Music, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

26 replies

  1. This might be a tedious response but your post sent me on the following journey! James’s band played this song for years and it’s what I always think of when I hear the Billy Joel “fire” song.

    Here are the Lyrics.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=beds+are+burning+lyrics+midnight+oil&oq=Beds+are+burning+lyrics&aqs=chrome.1.0l6.8598j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    And here’s interesting article about the group Midnight Oil.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Oil

    Stimulating post Marilyn. I thought you might get a kick out of its impact on someone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sun and birds sound positive, and hope you are feeling much better by now.

    Like

  3. There’s still a lot of good in the world, Marilyn, and you get to see it every day at your bird feeder and even with your furry friends.
    Leslie

    Like

    • Yes, that’s true, but there’s also a lot of evil which is affecting many families. At this point, hundreds of thousands of families and many children. It can’t be ignored. Yes, there is good, but right now, the evil has to be addressed. You can’t just ignore the bad because elsewhere is good. That’s how evil takes over governments and countries and starts international wars. That’s how Hitler did it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hope your colds go away soon; and thanks for the earworm! 🙂

    Like

  5. Hope you get well soon. I just went through a two-week coughing spell, and that’s not acceptable at my age. Huddle down and be good to yourself.

    Like

    • I’ve had several ugly rounds of pneumonia. So has Garry. We do have to get out tomorrow because it’s supposed to snow over the weekend and we need a few things. I don’t think it’s going a be a huge storm, but it’s easier to get out before the bad weather hits.

      Like

  6. These days I tend to agree. I want to lay down and rest, but it hurts more to lay down than to sit. so hmmm.

    Like

    • When you’re back is bad, sitting hurts a lot less than trying to lie … in ANY position.

      Like

      • That’s the truth. Two nights ashore I was in such agony, the pain went from my back to my toes and I had to get out of bed but I couldn’t move or stand and igroaned and grunted until I could finally get up only to wobble until I could stand long enough to take a few faltering steps. Once that was done, I donned my winter coat and went outside hoping the cold air would help. It did, fortunately. Took hours ok, I didn’t get back to sleep. Until the horrible feelings in my legs stopped. Not a fun night. Benn bad ever since. Hoping tomorrow is a better day.

        Like

  7. There is flu going around in our part of the world and I am hoping to keep away from it. As I no longer get around so much, or go to the office, I have better chances – I hope. I sleep too much at the moment, but I am so tired and just make the most of it, especially after lunch.

    Like

  8. I hope you feel better soon. Some millennials are pointing to us Baby Boomers and claiming that we DID start the fire. Are they right?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, sunshine. And birds. Bliss. Take care Marilyn. A ‘just a winter cold’ can turn nasty quickly and my own personal opinion is that stress makes those worse. Things can always get better, but they can always get worse too. I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom, if one exists, not by a long chalk. And that’s pretty stressful and terrifying all in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

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