Gettin’ Up Gets Harder All the Time

I was in a Publix supermarket one day, and there was an older man crouched down restocking shelves. Not realizing I was standing behind him, he stood up with an audible groan. He turned, saw me, and, looking a little embarrassed, said, “Gettin’ down is the easy part. It’s gettin’ up that’s hard.” I smiled and made a mental note. 

A few days later, one of my favorite co-writers, Kent Agee, came over to write. He’s a tall, lanky guy, and he slouched down in my living room chair, splayed his arms out, looked at the ceiling, and said, “I got nothing.” I told him the story from Publix. Without changing position, he said, “We got something.” He then asked if I had any Johnny Cash records, and I said of course. We listened to a greatest hits album, and kept repeating Cash’s cover of “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” by Kris Kristofferson. There was something so down and out about it, and we thought that we should write something with that feel and tone. 

Being the highly disciplined writers that we are, we then broke for lunch. When we got back, Kent had a framework and lyrics for the first verse. The chorus came quickly. For the second verse, I said, “This guy gets in a bar fight, and he’s sucker-punched.” Kent asked where that came from, and I said I had almost been sucker-punched in a bar that past weekend (fortunately, no fight took place – I’m not a big guy). Kent came up with the line, “I got sucker-punched in Oklahoma by a good ol’ boy whose girl gave me a look.” I loved the way it scanned, but I said, “Tullahoma, not Oklahoma. It’s even sleazier that way.” We made the third verse about redemption, along with the fear of falling down hard again. Because getting down is easy, but getting up gets harder all the time.

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