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A weblog by Laura Moncur


I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead

Filed under: Personal History,Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I just found out the news today. “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parents both died on April 9th from carbon monoxide poisoning. They started a fire in their fireplace and forgot to open the flue and both died of asphyxiation. Someone I respect and honor is grieving and there is nothing I can do about it. Weird Al has posted an official message to everyone about the entire thing, correcting press errors, thanking his fans and explaining his actions for the near future.

I’d like to say that everything I’ve learned about life, I learned from Weird Al, but that’s not true. He has kept me happy during sad times. He has kept me happier in happy times. He has taught me three things: Everything You Know Is Wrong, Dare To Be Stupid and I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead.

Everything You Know Is Wrong

Sure, the song is silly. When you read the lyrics, it is really easy to lose the message in the stories and vivid descriptions. When you listen to the chorus, however, you hear it all. Don’t assume anything. The theories that were presented to you as facts before have changed. Just keep your mind open because it might be that everything you know is wrong.

Everything you know is wrong.
Black is white, up is down and short is long.
And everything you used to think was so important
Doesn’t really matter anymore
Because the simple fact remains that
Everything you know is wrong.  – “Weird Al” Yankovic, Everything You Know Is Wrong, 1996

Plus, this is the song with the phrase, “prosthetic lips” which sounded so insanely funny to me until I saw Michael Jackson’s nose fall off in court.

Dare To Be Stupid

From the first line, “Put down that chainsaw and listen to me” to the last line, “Dare to be stupid” repeated ad infinitum, this song just makes me want to get up and do something important. There have been times when I’ve been heading to an unpleasant activity and I’ve had the strength to survive it because Weird Al blared that phrase at me enough. One of the few stickers that live on the Beetle is the phrase, “Dare To Be Stupid.”
The future’s up to you,
So what you gonna do?
Dare to be stupid!
 – “Weird Al” Yankovic, Dare To Be Stupid, 1985

The song tells me to not worry about looking stupid and to risk it all. It’s ok to fail as long as you’re out in the game and working your hardest at it. Quit worrying about what other people are thinking about you and go out there and follow your dreams.   I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead

I’ve never heard him perform this song live. I don’t think he does anymore because there are a lot of words in that song that he would have to eat, in particular, “Don’t want no part of that vegetarian scene.” Since he’s a vegetarian now, I’m sure it’s hard for him to sing that song with a straight face anymore.

Since I’m such a hippie in some respects, I’m sure that my friends would be amazed that I love this song. It’s so dismissive to healthy eating, exercise and quiet time that it sounds like a protest song against the California Culture, but if you believe that, you’re not listening to the chorus.

I may as well be hyper
As long as I’m still around
‘Cause I’ll have lots of time to be laid back
When I’m six feet under ground.
 – “Weird Al” Yankovic, I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead, 1983

There is no time to waste. I have to live this life to the fullest now, while I can, because tomorrow I might be dead. I have to do all that I wanted to do today, because I might be pushing up the daisies tomorrow. Someone must have taught him this wisdom.

So, thank you to the two people who taught Al to live life in the moment, to get the job done despite fear and to keep his mind open to possibility. Thank you for bringing “Weird Al” into the world. Thank you for buying him an accordion instead of a guitar. Thank you for teaching him that morbid humor can heal.

Al, may the force be with you, man. I hope you find comfort when you need it and distraction when you need it. May your music heal you as much as it has healed me.



  1. Wow! That was very nicely worded. I felt really bad when I found out about Al’s parents, too. You put down in words how you felt about things, and quoted Al’s work. I really liked that. Nick and Mary will be missed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Comment by Patti Brown — 4/19/2004 @ 7:42 am

  2. You feel the same way wabout Al that most of us at WOWAY do. He has been with us with through his songs when we needed him to be to cheer us up to just to have some silly fun. My personal theme song is “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead”, which as you said about yourself is funny because I too am somewhat of a hippie. I just belive you should try to get as much out of life as you can while your stil here. I have never met Nick or Mary but you can see from Al what kind of people they were. Sweet, down to earth, people with a GREAT sense of humor. Thanks for posting this. It was a pleasure to read.

    Comment by Jenni Bush — 4/19/2004 @ 8:00 am

  3. Wow! Thanks so much, for that, I think you summed up what many people feel. Al has expressed so many different things to us in this life, and I’m sure that he got that from his loving parents, who would go to the end of the world for him. They were so generous to the world, and everybody at WOWAY, and me also, know that this is a tremendous loss, and I don’t think many of us and especially Al will ever feel EXACTLY the same way we did, as before their death. Thanks, Alinite1, WOWAY.

    Comment by Jeremy Samples — 4/20/2004 @ 5:55 pm

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