“I’ve Got the World On A String” was a popular song declaring satisfaction, ease and comfort during a time of its opposites. The reeling depression years prompts Harold Arlen’s 1932 song of supposed victory and newly found strength. He cleverly uses as an image not a rock or mountain or religion’s certitude but what, a string.
The flimsiest of substances, a string can be broken by a single lit match, a quick tear or a tangling that causes many of the string parts to become enmeshed. Confidence based on a string. “Wow, is that future secure or what?” we say to ourselves. As the song goes, the string is even “around my finger.” “That’s supposed to make me feel better? The string holding your security is tied around your finger?” we say to ourselves once again. I guess leaving the Depression Years meant everyone is alone making due on his/her own.
Due. What a great word. What is “due” me? We use the word “entitlement” these days to describe everyone receiving something that we’re not while we’re receiving all sorts of our own societal entitlements. There is always the “dew” that falls from heaven and then there is the “due” that is horizontally shifted to us. What is “due” us? Our Christian faith says rightly absolutely nothing. Arlen was correct by using a string as an imaginary personal strength.
Employees these days feel as secure as a piece of string. Older adults live on a string, everyday. If you’re in you’re 90’s, you may even feel that string getting caught up sometimes in itself but you continue to move the world, or least your world, with the your string.
“What a world,” continues the lyrics, “what a life, I’m in love.” A string separates us from one element to another; be it our due or our death. A string. The weakest of images but its best to keep us stringing along in this world that we feel owes us its due; or better yet its dew.