Barenaked Ladies – an impossible interpreting challenge

During my cardio workouts I listen to a custom playlist of fast(ish) songs to keep me going. The list has songs from Pink, Maroon 5, Lifehouse, Matchbox 20, Jimmy Eat World, 3 Doors Down, and Barenaked Ladies along with a few others. I’ve heard all the songs enough times that I’ve pretty much figured out how I’d go about interpreting them into ASL should the need ever arise.

[scene location: SxSW]
Panicked Cop: Oh my God, is there an ASL interpreter in the house?
Me: I’m an ASL interpreter.
Panicked Cop: You have to help us, we have an emergency!
Me: What’s wrong, is a Deaf person hurt?
Panicked Cop: No, much worse! Maroon 5 is about to perform and we don’t have anyone to interpret for them!
Me: Never fear – I’ve been training for this moment for months!

The one major exception is several songs by Barenaked Ladies. Do you have any idea what the lyrics to One Week actually means? Eg: “Hot like wasabe when I bust rhymes / Big like LeAnn Rimes / Because I’m all about value” Yeah, me neither.

Maybe that one is a little unfair. But it isn’t as if Some Fantastic is any better although I have a really great interpretation of “I can’t stand to wait in line long / So I built a new machine / It just measures up the distance / and then eliminates the folks between” that I’m just dying to share with someone who will appreciate it.

Alcohol is a better but still a bit challenging due to the personification and direct address of alcohol in addition to another person (“O Alcohol, I still drink to your health” is said to alcohol but “A Malibu and Coke for you” is obviously not). By no means is that unsurmountable but does take a careful reading of the lyrics to parse through it.

The take-away is that you shouldn’t come looking for me if BNL need an interpreter for their shows. Instead I’ll show up to sit directly in front of the interpreter to see what he/she does with some of that crazyness!