The open floor plan they've implemented at work has indeed fostered important conversations. "What exactly DID Billie Joe and his girlfriend throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge?" my boss asked.
"I always figured it was a baby," I said.
"A BABY? Why? I figured it was flowers," said my boss, as he unceremoniously ripped a whole sentence out of the document he was editing.
"No, no, NO. Flowers are what she threw off afterward, as kind of an offering to Billie Joe and her river baby," I said.
"Why does it have to be something as dramatic as a baby?" he asked, thinking I was being a girl.
"Well, why else did she lose her appetite? Her mom cooked all morning and she hadn't touched a single bite."
"Because her BOYfriend is DEAD," said my boss, rising to look at the lyrics I'd Googled.
Ned emailed me right then. "How's your day going, sweetie?" he wrote.
"Well, we're having a pertinent discussion about what Billie Joe threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge," I wrote back. "What do YOU think?"
"I dunno. Rocks?" Ned offered.
I don't understand why everyone doesn't understand this song. If they were throwing ROCKS or FLOWERS off the bridge, they wouldn't have added the haunting part about how somebody saw a girl who looked like our narrator and Billie Joe McAllister, who never had a lick of sense, throwing something off the Tallahatchie Bridge. It had to have been something IMPORTANT.
"Hey, did you guys know they made a movie of this?" asked my coworker, showing us his phone.
"What the song didn't tell you, the movie will," he said.
"I know what WE'RE doing Friday night!" I wrote to Ned. "And it stars Robby Benson!"
"Seriously? You honestly believe I haven't seen that movie a hundred million times, along with the rest of America? Robbie Benson's Billie Jo McAllister jumps off the Tallahatchie Bridge due to the guilt he feels for some drunken homosexual encounter," Ned told me.
Hunh. Really? I've never HEARD of this movie, and now it turns out Ned knows it by heart like he does The Big Lebowski. Who knew?
So, ignoring the stupid plot of the 1978 movie, what do YOU think they threw off that bridge? Also, can you try to work the line, "And now Billie Joe McAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchie Briiiiidge" into a conversation today? And try to say "Tallahatchie Bridge" as low as you can. Report back to me.
And before I go, I'm happy to report that if you Google "Ode to," "Joy" still beats "Billie Joe."