We Will Not Go Together When We Go

Now, I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the musical stylings of the inimitable mathematician Tom Lehrer, but he is who I am attempting to imitate tonight. He has in fact released all his musical work into the public domain, for which I thank him heartily both as an artist who perceives copyright as a capitalist threat to free expression and as a parodist who is now in no possible danger of being sued. My song merits content warnings for the horrors of late-stage capitalist wealth inequality, fascism, and climate catastrophe, and while the tune is cheerful, the lyrics are decidedly not. Lehrer’s original, “We Will All Go Together When We Go”, was about the threat of nuclear apocalypse and bespoke an equally overwhelming fear of mass devastation, but this must be taken in the context that Mr. Lehrer has survived the sixty-five years between the song’s writing and the present day, and none of you fine folks in the audience seem particularly irradiated. It is therefore that I offer this song in the millennia-old human tradition of making music about the seemingly world-ending tragedies that befall us, that we may grieve and/or make mock of them tonight in order to prepare for a morning where the world stubbornly refuses to end. So, without further ado, I am proud to present, “We Will Not Go Together When We Go”.

When you attend a funeral,
It is sad to think that sooner o’
Later those you love will do the same for you.
And you may have thought it tragic,
Not to mention other adjec-
Tives, to think of all the weeping they will do.

But don’t you worry.
No more ashes, no more sackcloth –
Every armband made of black cloth
Merely decorates your murderer’s brown sleeve:
For the flood that will drown you
Gets your friends and family too …
The survivors will not even think to grieve.

And we will not go together when we go.
What a nauseating fact that is to know.
There’s no comforting bereavement:
They will call it an achievement,
Yes, we will not go together when we go.

We will not go together when we go.
We’ll be televised in liquid crystal glow.
They will claim we lacked endurance
As they pocket our insurance,
And they’ll buy a few more ads after we go.

Oh, we won’t bake beneath just one greenhouse.
They’ll buy beachfronts in DC without their spouse.
Equatorial devastation
By the Disney corporation –
Who banned H2O for looking like the Mouse!

And we will not choke together when we choke.
They’ll write thinkpieces about the cloying smoke:
With unequal distribution
Of their factories’ pollution –
Mourning for the billions dead, dismissed as “woke”!

Oh, we will not cook together when we cook.
They’ll just hit us with a brief indignant look.
Saecula solvet favill-ion
At eight hundred parts per million,
And the party will all get to write the book!

Oh, we will not burn together when we burn.
They will make us all stand there and wait our turn.
Who could fear nuclear fallouts
With their whining about callouts?
They can kill us just by stealing what we earn!

And we will not go together when we go.
Coming first to Khoekhoe and Inuk, you know.
As we die for Musk’s frivolity
It will reflect inequality:
Yes, we will not go together
As we die out in the weather
Yes, we will not go together when we go!