Day at a Time

This song began to take shape in response to a breakup (yes, there’s a pattern to my early stuff), and I chose the upbeat Latin jazz style as a friendly wake-up slap to myself.  As part of getting my own material into the Spiny Norman roster in 2000, I had adapted “Tenders of Affection” and “The Seed” into song form, and had revised “Pride”, and it occurred to me to take this song, which I had never completed, off the shelf.

Part of the fun on this one was the different style (though Juan Arraya, our bassist, gently insisted on introducing a less generic Latin bass line than what I’d suggested), and the other part was playing with the rhyme scheme.  I gave myself a little freedom: 2 out of the first 3 lines in each stanza (any two, but only two) would rhyme with each other, and the 4th line would rhyme with either the adjacent stanza’s 4th line (for 4-line stanza’s), or the word “time” (for 5-line stanzas).  The result made me happy.  We only played it a few times (and the Latin percussion track I played on the HandSonic overwhelmed the song a good bit), but it’s still a good pick-me-up.

A Day at a Time

© 2000 music & lyrics by Eric Schrager

Hello my friend—good morning to you!
The cafe has a breakfast special.
And you don’t want to miss it, do you?
There’s a new day ahead!

I know the score—she told you goodbye,
And though you swore that you would not cry,
The pillow’s wet, your eyes are swollen,
And you wish you were dead.

To tell the truth, I saw it coming,
But I’m not in the mood for whining.
The sky is clear, the sun is shining—
Get your ass out of bed.

You got so caught up in tomorrow,
Today became pure stress, and now she’s gone.
I see you all awash in sorrow,
But give yourself a tiny break, will you?

How can you live, is that your question?
Well then, I’ve got a small suggestion.
It’s so ridiculously simple
That it’s really sublime:
Take it a day at a time.

You think that dating’s such a hassle;
Jump right to love!  You’re so romantic.
So in the air you built your castle,
Then it came crashing down.

And now you’re having trouble breathing,
The world is pain without her in it.
You’re feeling anguish every minute,
And you’re ready to drown.

You can’t go back—you mustn’t ask it!
You left your heart in pieces on her floor.
She’ll put the shrapnel in a basket,
And send it UPS—they can bill you.

It wasn’t long since I’ve been through it,
And if you wonder how I do it,
Why I’m not just a pile of jelly,
The only reason is I’m
Going a day at a time.

(Instrumental Break)

I know you think you’ve had enough for
The rest of your life, but I’ll tell you this:
Just living through the pain you suffer
Will make you stronger—if it don’t kill you.

And later when you’re feeling better,
A day will come, you’ll find another.
And when it happens, listen brother,
Try out a new paradigm:
Love her a day at a time.


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