(First, my usual disclaimer: this is a Friday post, so it’s a little irreverent, and meant for your enjoyment! It’s part of my “Unhealthy Pop Song Lyrics” series.)
Today we’re taking a look at the song, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” I decided that since this song was sung by Bette Midler (playing the character “CC”) in the film “Beaches,” just after her character’s best friend died, I would critique the song from the perspective of her departed best friend Hillary, played by Barbara Hershey. So here’s the situation: CC sings the song, and Hillary, having died and found her way to heaven (and wised up a bit), has figured out how screwed up most earth-bound relationships are (or at least most earth-bound pop songs), and keeps interrupting her old friend. So here goes:
CC: It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine; that’s your way.
You always walked a step behind.
HILLARY: What?! I never had sunlight on my face? What, are you kidding? CC, I love you and all, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t cold. I wasn’t hiding in your shadow. Yes, I understood that when we were friends, you were the celebrity. You were the performer. But I have no regrets. Did I let you shine? Meaning, let you shine while I “walked a step behind”? Um, sorry, but no. Get over yourself! Yes, I was an introvert. I didn’t seek the limelight. But that doesn’t mean I sacrificed my life for you. I just had a different style, a different personality. And to tell you the truth, I’m a little bit shocked that you didn’t know that! But–go on. Keep singing your song…
CC: So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.
HILLARY: Hold on, CC. You had glory–meaning, I didn’t? And I had strength, meaning, you didn’t?! I know these lyrics sound sweet, but why are glory and strength polar opposites? Why can’t you be famous and strong? Like, oh, you know, not this Hillary, but Hillary Clinton? That woman’s got it goin’ on! (Yes, we’re following the Democratic presidential primary up here. And even though we know who’s going to win, it’s fascinating!) But as I was saying, why do you think I had a beautiful face but no name? Did you forget that I built a career of my own, that our friendship–as lovely as it was, don’t get me wrong–that our friendship wasn’t the whole point of my life? Sorry, CC, I wouldn’t trade our friendship for anything, but I’m proud of my career. I’m happy with all of my life, not just the great times I had with you. And as for my beautiful smile, OK, sure, sometimes I smiled when in fact I felt a little miserable (who doesn’t?), but I like to think that for the most part my smile was just that: my smile. I led a good life. Don’t forget that, my friend.
CC: Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
HILLARY: Oh, CC! All this pressure! I am the wind beneath your wings? Seriously? It’s sweet of you to call me your hero, and I guess I’m flattered that I’m everything you’d like to be, but to be honest, I never saw you that way. I never thought you were unable to have your own great life, to fulfill your own great destiny. I appreciate your praise, but really, you’re flying high all on your own. You don’t need me for that.
CC: It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know the truth; of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.
HILLARY: (sighing) Oh, CC. You know, there wasn’t that much that went unnoticed between us. Not to be snarky or anything, but I was pretty bright when I lived on earth. And you should know it’s not healthy to say you would be “nothing” without me. I miss you–I really do!–but I don’t want you singing that line to me now that I’ve gone. You would be nothing without me? Come on! You don’t have to pretend I made you who you are as a way to honor me or pay me your respects now that I’ve died. (And I don’t want to sound nasty, but it kind of makes my death all about you.) If I’m a true friend, I’m comfortable with you just as you are, not you as an extension of me. Well, CC, I think I better go. But–no kidding–thanks for the song. Really. And I wish you all the best. I’m not the “wind beneath your wings.” I hope you know that. (If not, just ask your therapist!) But I am your biggest fan! xoxox, your friend,