Too Much Time on My Hands
Here in L.A. we have a radio station called “Jack FM”. Their whole thing is “Playing what we want.” There are no DJ’s, no talking, and no requests. Basically someone put an iPod shuffle on the radio. But it is one rockin’ iPod shuffle.
Even though I’ve been listening to Jack for three or four years (however long it’s been on the air, it was formerly the classic rock station Arrow, which I still occasionally call it), I still discover songs I haven’t heard before, or re-discover songs I haven’t heard in quite some time. So it was with Too Much Time On My Hands, by Styx1. I knew the lyric “Is it any wonder I’m not the President?” which amuses me because of how the singer does it, sounding like a pouty child. But for the first time I really listened to the lyrics, and I discovered that, like Alanis, they had apparently written a song hinging strongly on a phrase they were using incorrectly.
The phrase “Is it any wonder…?” is meant to be ironic — it’s usually used as part of an explanation, and the expected answer to the idiom is “no.”
“The guy was insulting my wife, is it any wonder I decked him?” Et cetera.
But as you can see by reading the lyrics, in most parts the question becomes straightforward. “I spend my time in bars and have nothing going for me. Is it any wonder I’m not a criminal?”
As a matter of fact, it is a wonder.
I guess I can’t entirely say it’s being used “wrong” since, grammatically, it still kind of makes sense. It’s not like the out-and-out wrong usage of Ironic in the song of the same name. But that’s not what the phrase is understood to mean, so it seems a little weird to use it that way.
“Is it any wonder I’ve got too much time on my hands” is, however, fairly non-sensical. Because he doesn’t explain where this time has come from. If he had talked about being fired from his job, or something, this might have worked, but he just jumps in on having too much time on his hands, and never bothers to explain where it came from. So “is it any wonder” is out of place.
The only time it’s used in its most common form is the line about being President. Maybe that’s why it’s the one I remembered best.
I do have more important things to write about than Styx songs, I swear. But at the moment it’s more important that I do them, than blog about how I ought to. So in the meantime, anyone else got song lyrics that just bother them every time they hear the song2?