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101 Things to do at a Railroad Crossing

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101 Things to do at a Railroad Crossing

if you have the right music playing

 In light of the ever increasing train traffic servicing the Canadian and Wyoming coal fields and rolling downstream to China where it’s converted into electricity to make us more stuff to grow their economy and our trade deficit, I had a thought. Well, several actually, so I wrote some down on my way to work a while back as I waited patiently for a train to get through Sagle.

Working independently (a trait I learned playin’ marbles with my older brothers), the left side of my brain was counting coal cars while the right side conjured up verses as my eyes recorded snapshots of all the vivid lettering going by. It was almost I-MAX in scope, although it’s possible I may have parked too close to the cross arm.

And it just so happened that early rapper Johnny Cash was braggin’ over my radio about all the places he’d been to, followed immediately by Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues. This had some effect on the construction of the following lyrics.


You can do anything man, almost anything, man

You don’t have to scream, man, waitin’ for a train, man

Don’t let it get to yer brain, man, you can do anything…

U can take a break, learn to bake, rub an ache for Pete’s sake

stare, glare, take care, be aware, mend a tear, don’t be square look over there, read a book, create a new look, turn over a new leaf, face yer grief zone in or zone out, sit and pout or pick yer snout

or both at once, practice grunts, even punts or other stunts

but you can’t go to the can even if you ran or make a pan 

of peanut brittle or go forward more’n a little, relax, listen to the clacks,

send some tweets, read some Keats or clean the crap from under yer seats play with your hair or some solitaire, truth or dare,

check the air in your spare, play with your phone, 

apply for a loan, polish yer trombone, if you’ve got one,

have some fun, think up a pun, train’s almost done!

play musical cars, compare scars or hardy-har-hars

pretend you’re on Mars, clean yer glasses, cover yer asses

look before ya leap, go to sleep, pole dance, romance

try to find some miscreants.


From Wyoming to Seattle, man, you can hear the rattle, man

China needs our coal man, train after train of coal, man

with a mile and a half of train, man, you can do anything.

Clean your purse or make it worse, take a pill, write a will

learn a new skill or just sit still and meditate 

on how often yer late, family trait, I can’t wait.

think about God or a new fishin’ rod, toe jamb, boo jam,

how to fix yer wig-wam, put on some make-up

go ahead and wake up, eat some groceries, 

rub your rosaries, readjust your hosieries

detail your dashboard, give me the patience Lord

and deliver me from bein’ bored

or take a nap if yer prone, contemplate yer vast unknown,

acid rain, personal gain, down the drain, future pain,

goin’ insane, brush yer teeth, make a wreath,

pull those mats and clean underneath, get plowed,

be proud, self endowed, re-avowed, read aloud, grow a beard

that’d be weird, knit, spit, ‘get lit’, throw a fit

yell “That’s it!”, turn around, rebound,

pet yer hound, check your vitals 

clean yer whitewalls, fly a kite, see the light

be less contrite, more erudite, who’s right

give up spite, bird watch, hold yer crotch

don’t pee, c’est la vie, revue your life, call yer wife

knock yerself out, think about trout, hock a loogie

learn to boogie, study graffiti, dream about Tahiti, 

check a score, tell the train what for and so much more.


‘Cause you can do anything, man, almost anything, man

you don’t have to scream, man, waitin’ on a train, man

don’t let it blow yer brain, man, you can do anything!

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Author info

Scott Clawson Scott Clawson No, he's not the electrician, he's the OTHER Scott Clawson, who's a quality builder when he's not busy busting a gut while writing his humor column for the first issue of each month, or drawing his Acres n' Pains cartoons.

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music, railroad, Scott Clawson, songwriting

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