Last week Meg found herself in a Pioneer Day crisis AND IT WASN'T EVEN PIONEER DAY.

She desperately needed a non-copyrighted audio version of the State Song, UTAH! This Is The Place! for some project at work because Meg has a very weird job.

When you find yourself dealing with paranormal activity, you call the Ghostbusters. When there's a bank robbery in Gotham, you call Batman. When you need to remember how good bread is, you call Oprah. But when there's a Pioneer Day crisis, you call the hell out of Eli Whittlebottom McCann.

So that's what Meg did. She called me right up. She asked me if I could possibly figure out how to play the State Song on the piano, record it for her, and send her that recording.

A few things you should know about my piano skills: they are exactly impressive enough that people ask me to do things but not quite impressive enough that I'm able to do those things.

I asked Meg if she at least had some sheet music I could look at. I don't know why I asked her this. I sight-read piano music at a Kindergarten-equivalent-reading level. In any event, she told me that after searching the ends of the Earth, she was convinced that sheet music for our State Song does not exist.

This doesn't surprise me. I've always known in my heart of pioneer hearts that this song probably spontaneously wrote itself from wind chimes.

I told Meg, skeptically, that I would "try." But without at least having some basic chords, I didn't think I would possibly come up with something.

I totally underestimated the magic of Pioneer Day. And the long-lasting effects of spending an absurd amount of school time learning hand actions to "IT WAS BRIGHAM YOUNG WHO LED THE PIONEERS ACROSS THE PLAINS!" and "NEW TECHNOLOGY'S HERE, GROWING FASTER EACH YEAR!" instead of other things. Like math. And stuff.

Because not long after I sat down at the piano, I had come up with this hokey clip:

I sent it to Meg, proud of myself for actually being kind of helpful. She almost immediately responded with, and I'm paraphrasing here, "THIS IS COMPLETE GARBAGE AND NOT AT ALL WHAT I WANTED YOU EMBARRASS YOUR FAMILY NAME."

She further explained that she needed something "pared down." I interpreted this as "mainstream" and I immediately assumed the role of "misunderstood artiste" whose masterpieces were being chucked to swine. But then I immediately sold out and gave the people what they wanted. And, considering that I wasn't even getting paid to do this, I think I learned from this experience that it really doesn't take a lot for me to give up on my dreams.


After I created this, I played it for Skylar, who then recorded me doing the dance move that involuntarily came from my body while it played.

He sent it to Meg who responded that we should turn it into a ten-hour video loop on Youtube. I don't know how to do this, but I think it would be my most valuable contribution to the Internet to date.

~It Just Gets Stranger