Jeff Ruby’s Tribute to the Number 40—in Honor of Our Anniversary

In which our resident comedian/dining critic/rockstar-wannabe writes a rap song and gets some high-school kids to make his music video for free—all to celebrate our magazine’s 40th anniversary…


 

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As a rockstar-wannabe with no musical talent, I’ve been lucky enough to convince Chicagomag.com to post a handful of my homemade songs and videos over the years. They’ve mined subjects such as the Chicago Bears, dining critics, state capitals, and a made-up superhero, and the videos made use of props like tongue depressors, shoeboxes, my son, and 10,000 M&Ms. Most of this was done in my basement—and probably should have stayed there.

So I decided to hand over my new song, “40,” (lyrics below) to Henry Harboe and Nick Msall, two 18-year-old seniors at the University of Chicago Lab School in Hyde Park. Smart kids, these two. Henry’s an aspiring filmmaker and Nick’s a talented photographer; when they weren’t applying for colleges, the pair conceived, shot, edited, and starred in the video for free. They obviously had fun with the song, which is a celebration of Chicago magazine’s ruby anniversary, set to a sample from gangsta rap godfather Schoolly D, circa 1987. If there’s any justice in the world, Nick and Henry will both go on to good schools next fall. As for me, I’m going back to the basement.

Lyrics to “40,” by Jeff Ruby

40 winks in a nap, 40 acres and a mule
40 years ago today, Dustin Hoffman was cool
40 days and 40 nights, Noah did what he was told
And Chicago magazine is 40 years old

It’s the length of time that Jimi Hendrix is buried
How many years Al and Tipper were married
Number of thieves Ali Baba controlled
Chicago magazine is 40 years old

40 weeks in a pregnancy
and yards in a dash
40 ounces in the liquor bottles clogging up my trash
For 40 days of Lent
you put tequila on hold
And Chicago magazine is 40 years old

Moses wandered 40 years, and so has Rachael Ray
But the bitch gets by on $40 a day
U2 song on the record went gold
And Chicago magazine is 40 years old

1970, the year of the rooster
Got more chapters than Simon And Schuster
Beatles broke up
Apollo 13 broke down
And so did the sex machine built by James Brown
Things got hot in Kent State and Vietnam
And some time in March my dad rolled with my mom
Chiefs won the Super Bowl
Brazil won the cup
Patton won the Oscar but he didn’t show up
Richie J. Daley was in his fourth term
My man Garfunkel had a crazy-ass perm
We discovered Michael Jackson
Larry Flynt found porn
That was the year Chicago magazine was born

40 hour work week ain’t no shorty
Red Red Wine is by UB40
WD-40 and the 40-year-old virgin
Scientists discovered 40 species of sturgeon

Uma Thurman is 40
so’s the dude from Weezer
It’s the number of times that the homies stabbed Caesar
Tina Fey, Matt Damon, J.Lo, Chris Nolan
40 pounds of poo found in Elvis’s colon

When Snoop turns 40
it’ll be pandemonium
It’s also the atomic number of zirconium
Casey’s top 40 was a joy to behold
And Chicago magazine is 40 years old

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comments
3 years ago
Posted by CincyInTheHouse

My favorite line: "And some time in March my dad rolled with my mom" - for obvious reasons!!

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