Cab Calloway “Everybody Eats When They Come to My House”
I’m driving to work this morning and this fascinating song comes on the jazz station during Old Timey Big Band Orchestra Hour. If you were to listen to the words, you’d hear this pattern: Cab says a person’s name, and then he says what that person could expect to eat were they to come to his house.
Now, I’m no stranger to food metaphor as filthy innuendo in the old timey jazz orchestra genre, but I swear I could not figure out what the lyrics could possibly be innuendoing. Here are some guesses:
- Food is drugs. Cab is a successful recording artist and has access to all the best drugs for his jazzbo friends, most of whom are junkies. “Pass me your pancake, Mandrake” would probably mean heroin. “Chile con carne for Barney” is probably also heroin because everything is heroin.
- Food is the dick. Cab will literally fuck every person who walks through his door. Mandrake, Tallulah, Micky, other Micky—no one is safe from the dick, which is probably food-shaped and enormous.
- Food is just an excuse for Cab to tell us all how many friends he has, which he knows will make us feel like we’re somehow less important or less successful, but really just speaks to his own insecurities, I mean what is he trying to prove—we have just as many friends as he does and most of our friends would be happy with a taco (vagina).
- Cab’s “house” is a mental construct he’s built over many years of his deteriorating grasp of what’s real and meaningful. He finds himself “inside” this “house” when it gets the hardest. This one is too sad to even keep typing.
- “Try the salami, Tommy”, “Taste the baloney, Tony”, “work my hands to the bone in the kitchen alone”, “do have a bagel, Fagel”, “here, you get the cherry, Jerry”. I honestly have no idea what any of these ones mean. Bagel might be his bottom.
I like to imagine Mr. Calloway slaving over an hot stove.
"They’ll be here soon," he thinks.
He has left messages on the answering machines of several of his friends. None of them has returned his call. Mandrake. Fagel. Talullah. None of them. Still, Cab maintains a smile. As long as he’s cooking, he’s got nothing else on his mind. He continues to knead dough,
His phone chimes, It’s a text from Davy.
"sorry bro. maybe next time, i don’t fell too well. more gravy for you, right?! haha, later."
Cab grimaces briefly, but quickly maintians his eager smile. He slips the phone back into his pocket. He re-flours his hand and continues to form falafel.
It chimes again. This time it’s from Plato.
"ah man, I’m out of town. too bad man. eat a tomato for me bro!"
It chimes again. And again.
Cab doesn’t bother reading them. He knows what they say. He flings the skillet at the wall. Hot oil runs down the wall and across the tile and onto the adjacent carpet. Half-cooked falafel is scattered around the kitchen and living room.
Cab knocks over a plate of bagels as he slumps against the counter opposite the stove. He had spent the afternoon kneading the dough, forming the donuts with his hands, and boiling and baking them.
"Fagel will love these," he had lied to himself through gritted teeth.
He flings one bagel into the fume hood, then another. His face gets redder and redder with each bagel he flings.
"God dammit, Cab! Why do you even try?"
He bounces a bagel off the fume hood. It lands on the linoleum in front of him and rolls into his leg. He snatches it up and tears it in two. He stuffes most of one half into his mouth as he continues to scream and cry.
EVERYBODY EATS WHEN THEY COME TO MY HOUSE!!!”