Welcome Back: Here’s a Little Game I Play When I’m Stoned

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So, there is this TV show in the ’70s called Welcome Back, Kotter. It starred Gabe Kaplan, who is still alive and has made a name for himself in professional poker. The show also launched a very young John Travolta into fame. And what was this once-popular but now obscure sit-com about? A teacher, Kotter (Kaplan), returns to his old inner-city neighborhood to give the street kids there a better education. Kotter is giving back to his community. Can you feel that?

Initially, the show was called just Kotter, but when the musician/songwriter John Sebastian composed its theme song as Welcome Back, the producers loved the tune so much, they changed the show’s name to Welcome Back, Kotter. (A little TV history never did anybody no harm.)

When I first watched the ’70s sit-com, it was already old (this was in the ’80s—I’m a Gen-Xer) and a bit boring, to be honest; but its very catchy theme song stuck to the core of my being with so much force that even now, even in the years when I “wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled,” my head plays a game with two of its catchiest lines whenever a spliff lifts my steam of consciousness high above the ground.

The two Welcome Back, Kotter lines, which lead the listener to the song’s chorus, go like this:

Yeah, we tease him a lot
Cause we got him on the spot
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

Here is where the fun begins. I mess with the first two lines. For example, I will sing in my head:

Yeah, we tease him a lot
Cause he’s a bit of a snot
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

Or:

Yeah, we tease him a lot
Cause he smokes way too much pot
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

Or:

Well he sneezes a lot
Cause his nose is itchy like a crotch
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

Or:

Well he loves to cook spinach
In less than a minute
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back..

Or:

Well he hasn’t got a buck
Cause he spent it on the last fuck
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

Or:

Well he loves a banana
Cause it reminds him of a chick called Hannah
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

Or, and this when I’m really high:

Well he knows time dies
When you are moving at the speed of light
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

Eventually the high comes straight back down to earth, and the hour or so spent reformulating the passage from the TV tune seems like 1000 and one nights.

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