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Single Serving
by psychologist, Dr Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT
Song: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Artists: The Beatles

*Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

The late Larry Norman, who suffered greatly throughout much of his adult life, died recently, and carved out an indelible legacy in the world of "Christian" rock once said in a song, /Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music? / I would add, "Why should all the good songs be written and/or recorded while the artist(s) was (were) hopelessly drunk or high?"

It's no secret that the Beatles that the most experimental Beatles music took place, not in a middle of a journey, but a "trip."  Though the title of his tour, /Trippin' through the Sixties/, is a drug-free one, I'm sure Barry McGuire knows what I'm talking about:

The Beatles under-produced it.  Elton John over-produced it in a grandiose, self-indulgent style that made it an irresistible guilty pleasure for me in the mid-seventies.  I probably single-handedly destroyed it here, by putting the BLT in BeaTLes:

*Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds*
words and music by Lennon and McCartney

But the fact remains that, drug-induced or not, this is one gem of a song.  I'm not here to condone drug-use.  As a psychologist, I've seen too many lives destroyed by it.  I've seen to much human potential go down the drain.   I've seen too many marriages and relationships ruined.  I've seen too many patients with a "meth head" to their madness. But I will say this, at the danger of repeating myself: This is one gem of a song! 

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she's gone.

/ The beauty of the song is that you can almost go anywhere with it, and you don't need drugs to take you there.  The lyrics paint a picture that puts one in a dream state.  When the lyrics command you to "picture yourself on a boat on a river," you don't think twice about it, you just jump on that boat and grab the oars.  You're absolutely hypnotized.  You see the "tangerine trees," and you touch, ----even taste the marmalade skies.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds*
Ah... Ah.../

Ah, indeed. 
/*Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies,
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.
Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
And you're gone.

/When you're instructed to "Follow her down" to that "bridge by the fountain," you don't hesitate, not even for a moment.  And when that "newspaper taxi" appears, you're the first to jump into it and take a ride.  Your head might be in the clouds by now, but it doesn't have to be a cloud of marijuana smoke.  By now, you're completely "gone." 

Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties,
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

/When you climb out of the cab, you give the driver a generous tip, even as you eagerly eye the station, wondering where the train will take you.  Well, as the train in this other song suggests, the train can often take you to places you wish you never went.

/This Train/
Daniel Sisco
words and music by Dr BLT

Drugs promise so much, like a lover who loves to lie.  When you use them, they end up using you.  You end up with a broken heart that takes years to mend. So I thank God for the song, and the beautiful imagery it conjures up.  And I thank God for the Beatles.  And that Lucy, she's quite a temptress!  And if you're inviting me to go back to the golden age of rock, I'll gladly go there with you.  But if you want me to go "tripping through the 60s,"I think I'll do it Barry's way---clean, sober and sanctified by the blood of Christ.  Sorry, Lucy! 


Copyright © 1996 - 2008 The Phantom Tollbooth