Well, I woke up this morning with the sundown shining in. Kenny Rogers, the country artist behind an array of popular crossover tunes, has died at 81 years old.
You may choose to remember him from hits like “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” or with, Dolly Parton, “Islands in the Stream.” However, I, as an American male who attended college just after the turn of the millennium, will remember him best for contributing to the soundtrack of the Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski, where his first big hit “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” scored a wordless surrealist Busby Berkeley dreamscape.
With minds on the coronavirus, the lyrics’ talk of “condition” can’t help but take on a somewhat depressing medical cast. But on deeper consideration, the medical condition the song is linked to in the movie is quintessentially life affirming, where it backdrops a dance number that not-so-subtly plants the seed for the birth of a “little Lebowski”—the core of Sam Elliott’s direct to camera soliloquy that ends the film. In dark days, let’s enjoy it together, in honor of Mr. Rogers:
Death, birth: that’s the way the whole darn human comedy keeps perpetuating itself. I don’t know about you, but on this shut-in Saturday, I take comfort in that.