Elegy for Dick Jones

Phil Brown sang a short, simple song. Technically, the song was two bars long, but the second bar was just a clone of the first bar, modulated up a fourth. He sang it well, loud and randomly, whenever he felt the time was right, with no obvious economic considerations. Shooting slow baskets at Hessel Park, for example, while we waited for the Mark Foutch Brass Band to perform, as they did each week, in the pavilion just up the small hill to the east of the courts.

When after eight or nine performances Phil Brown‘s libretto still made no sense, I decided it didn’t matter and began to sing, more or less, along.

”DIG JOE‘S MAH-AH-MAH! DIG JOE’S MAH-AH-MAH!!“

”It‘s not ’Dig Joe‘s Mama,’“ said Phil. ”It‘s ’Dick Jones‘ Mama.’“

”‘Dick Jones’ Mama‘?“

”Dick, Jones’, Mama.“

So instead of asking, ”Who‘s Joe and why do you dig his mama?“ (which I’d considered earlier), I asked, ”Who‘s Dick Jones’ mama?“

”Dick Jones‘ Mama is just a concept I came up with. I like the way it sounds.“

And he started singing again. So I joined in. And Mark Foutch’s Brass Band, in bright-red uniforms with gold trim and epaulettes, wisely muffled us with Sousa.

A few weeks later, I was singing ”Dick Jones‘ Mama“ in front of a Baskin-Robbins that was celebrating its recent invention of Pink Bubble-Gum® ice cream, when Beth Hewitt (whose parents later gained national attention with Hewitt vs. Hewitt, a Marvin vs. Marvin--style palimony suit filed September 19, 1979), said, ”What are you singing? It sounds like ’Dick Jones‘ Mama.’“ I proceeded to describe the events I attempted to describe to you a few paragraphs ago as best I could, though hopefully without using the terms economic considerations and libretto.

Seven years and 2,000 miles passed with very little mention of Dick Jones or Dick Jones‘ Mama. Then, a month or two after I had moved into the Dungeon, the basement of a 10-story UCLA dormitory, Dick Jones’ Mama returned. I caught myself singing it, not proudly or intentionally, but consistently, every three or four days, while shaving.

One of the adjacent Dungeonites asked, ”Who‘s Dick Jones?“

So I related the story of Phil Brown and Dick Jones’ Mama pretty much as I described it to you and to Beth Hewitt. And while walking down the hall perhaps a week after that, I overheard three Dungeonites discussing Dick Jones in Room 114.

The next morning, ”Dick Jones is just a concept“ appeared in ballpoint blue ink above Urinal No. 2, and thereafter Dick Jones and Dick Jones‘ Mama began a whirlwind descent into mainstream Dungeonspeak.

(”I’m going up to Dick Jones‘ Mama’s vending machines. Anybody want anything?“

”Nothing for me, thanks. Dick Jones, however, would like three packages of little chocolate doughnuts.“)

Similarly, a list of several hundred Dick Jones--ified pop-culture hackpuns made its way down the inside door of Stall No. 3, eventually spreading to the walls. Excerpts:

The Dick Jonestown Massacre

Behind the Green Jones

It‘s a Wonderful Jones

Deep Jones

The Devil in Dick Jones

Butch Cassidy and the Dick Jones Kid

It’s a Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick Jones

The Great Dictator Jonestator Mamatator

My Three Jones

Arsenic and Dick Jones

The Effects of Dick Jones on Mama-in-the-Moon Marigolds

Dick Jones (and, to a lesser extent, Dick Jones‘ Mama) remained in popular usage until the end of our second year of dormitory life -- in June 1982 -- then faded out among all but the most retentive Dungeonites. Unaware of his disciples’ reverent propagation half a continent away, Philip Matthew Brown, creator of Dick Jones‘ Mama, creator of Dick Jones, died tragically alone on May 10, 1995.

The Mark Foutch Brass Band (http:walkingfrog.tripod.comfoutchband-2.htm) continues to inspire.

Today, more Dick Joneses use the Internet than any other communications matrix. Here are some favorites:

Dick Jones, Chairman of the Board (www.gamepuzzles.comdickbio.htm).

Dick Jones, Electronic Media Futurist (www.pia.netjones.htm).

Dick Jones Interactive (www.dickjones.com).

DallasFt. Worth Realtor Dick Jones sez, ”Drop me and [sic] email and say ’Hi, I saw you on the Internet.‘“ (www.realtor.comdallasdicjones).

The Official Dick Jones Web Site (www.jps.netrjphoto), home of aerial photographer Dick Jones.

Autographed picture of Dick Jones, the voice of Disney’s Pinocchio (www.cyndi.comitems3258.htm).

Dick Jones, inventor of the soft-tip dart (www.bullshooter.comdj.htm).

Dick Jones‘ Medieval Miracle Cookies (www.hpl.hp.compersonalJohn_WilkesSarumcookies.html). ”Caution! These cookies are very hard and may be hazardous to your teeth.“


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