How much do I adore you readers?
My love for you is bigger than the crank case on a new 18-wheeler.
You light a flame in my heart that's hotter than a griddle at McDonald's in the middle of July.
You chase my blues so far away that a county mountie couldn't find 'em again, even with a CB radio and snow tires.
If anybody ever harmed any of you, I'd get meaner than a drunken skunk whose woman just ran away to Amarillo with his best friend.
And if you ever left me, why, shoot, I'd be lower down than a hound dog doing the limbo.
Well, now you know why I write columns for a living rather than titles to country songs. The former is for stiffs like me. The latter, done well, is for artists.
A fellow columnizing stiff, Larry Bonko of the Ledger-Star in Norfolk, recently unearthed several artists. He asked his readers to send him the best country music titles they could think up. Larry got 341 replies. I don't know how many he forwarded to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but I dang sure hope the pouch included these:
"Losin' the Love of Your Life Can Be Harder Than Scrapin' Burnt Grits Off an Old Frying Pan."
"Without Whiskey or You, I'm Just Sittin' Here With a Six-Pack Full of Tears."
"You Spread Your Love Around Just Like Peanut Butter and Now You're in a Jam."
"My Pickup's Red, Her Eyes Are Blue, I'm Havin' a Hard Time Choosin' Between the Two."
"I Tripped Over the Hound Dog As I Walked Out the Back Door of Your Heart."
And so on.
I thought these titles were so good that I decided to shoplift Larry's idea (with his permission) and turn it into a full-fledged contest. I propose that you put on your thinking caps and mail me the funniest country music titles your devilish minds can conjure.
What do you win? My influence may be massive, gentle readers. But it's not massive enough to promise you enduring fame and success in Nashville.
Downtown Alexandria is another story, however.
There's a radio station over there called KIX Country (105.9 FM and 730 AM). KIX plays lots of songs every day with titles like those above. The maestro of ceremonies on weekday mornings is John Bodnar. His news anchor and sidekick is Paul Bottoms.
I called John last week and asked him three things:
1) Would he and Paul agree to help me judge the entries I receive? (John said yes).
2) Would he and Paul invite the winner and me to be guests on their show, so we can make fools of ourselves before a vast listening audience? (Yes again).
3) Would he and Paul, as well as the winner, be my guests for a rootin'-tootin', gullet-fillin', mind-alterin', smile-producin' brunch, soon as we all get off the air? (Yes a third time).
So the machinery is in place, y'all. The challenge is greater than a swallow from a cold one on a Texas afternoon. The anticipation is stronger than the suspension in my darlin's new 4-by-4. The rewards are larger than a freight train full of love going whoo-whoooooo through your heart.
(Psssst! Levey! Calm down a second and give us the address).
Oh, yeah. Sorry. It's Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.
Please get your entries in before April 1. And thanks more times than Oklahoma has highways.