Losing By Recission

(based on the tune “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.)

Those who know me will recognize at once that this is not my usual musical genre.  In fact the only reason I’m aware of this particular song is its use for another parody I once ran across, which dealt with a humiliating experience on a TV game show.   I understand from a commentary on the original song that the title refers not to an intellectual rejection of faith, but rather an old figure of speech indicating a moment of acute emotional stress–acute enough, it seems, to rob the lyricist of the ability to produce a coherent set of lyrics.  This (along with my general unfamiliarity with the original) made it quite a challenge to come up with a coherent set of lyrics of my own.

In any event, both the tune and the original lyrics (to the extent that they make sense) are so depressing that it seemed only natural to use the song for a parody about the problems of managing finances in a large bureaucracy, where the reward for coming in under budget is often to do the same work or more with less money in the next cycle. I will say, in the strongest possible terms, that this parody is NOT about any specific set of circumstances.  It’s just a general observation about how the rules designed to prevent waste sometimes end up causing other problems (including other forms of waste).

If, as I do, you find this one to be too dismal, try imagining it with Victor Borge-style phonetic punctuation. Between the complex sentence structure of the parody and inexplicable pauses of the original, something of the sort would probably be compulsory for any actual performance.

Other programs
Are bigger than ours,
And they need money.
The things we have to go through
To keep our slice of pie!
Because they’ve spent too much,
They’ve set us up.

That’s us in the hearing.
That’s us in the spotlight,
Losing by rescission
Funding we thought we could use
For efficiency improvements.
But, no–we’ve done too much;
We haven’t spent enough.
I thought that we had our funding.
I thought we could go ahead.
I think I thought we’d be all right.

Every dollar
On every item of our year’s
Funding allocation
Has to be spent right on cue,
Or they’ll budget us less for Year Two.
But if we spend too much,
They’ll make it up.

Let’s purchase this!
Let’s purchase this,
Before the big spending freeze.
Let’s purchase this–
It meets
Our need, though policies fail.
Will our budget agencies
Come wailing around?
Will they say, “Too much!”?
I thought that we had our funding.
I thought we could go ahead.
I think I thought we’d be all right.

But that was just a dream.
That was just a dream.

That’s us in the hearing.
That’s us in the spotlight,
Losing by rescission
Funding we thought we could use
For efficiency improvements.
But, no–we’ve done too much;
We haven’t spent enough.
I thought that we had our funding.
I thought we could go ahead.
I think I thought we’d be all right…

But that was just a dream!
(How now, brown cow?)
That was just a dream, just a dream, just a dream….

(copyright 2010-11)

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