John Denver and the Unpaid Burrito


Friends make all kinds of bets with each other. There are sports bets, dares to work a certain phrase into calls or meetings, challenges which are designed for online video, and so forth. Then there’s just the good old fashioned bet on who’s right. Stakes are usually small – bragging rights for all eternity, beer, burritos. This is a burrito story.

Once upon a time, my best friend and I were mountain biking. About 7 years ago, it’s not like we were kids. We’re supposed to be mature adults. Anyway, one of my jobs on long rides is finding an annoying song and making it stick in somebody’s head for several hours while we’re roaming the woods or exploring suburbia on the roads. It’s a self-appointed job but the similarly important title of 80’s-movie-quote-guy was already filled – you know who you are.

As we pedaled along, I hit on Leaving on a Jet Plane as a song to put in his brain. That’s obviously older than the 80’s movie quotes but it wasn’t obvious how old. I made reference to it as a John Denver song and my buddy fired back that it’s a Peter, Paul, & Mary tune. I looked at him with complete shock and a burrito bet was on. Hours later we were back in civilization with cell coverage and Google to solve the issue. As it turns out, we’re both right. It’s both a PP&M (three names is too much to type, but shortening it gives me room to gripe about it) and John Denver song. As a result, it was up to us to prove we were more right in order to claim the burrito.

He used Google hits on each artist. I pointed out that John Denver wrote the song. He said PP&M made it famous. I said that they’re only known for John Denver’s song since it was their only #1 song. He pointed out that it was a #1 song for PP&M. I pointed out that John Denver’s got more plays on Spotify and downloads on Amazon. He put a poll on Facebook. I probably insulted some of his – and our – friends. I’d say that we’ve exhausted every data- and emotion-related scenario possible, but that’s not likely. We’ll each find more ways to make our argument the right one.

There’s never going to be a declared winner in the bet. We both want to be right but not in a definitive and unarguable way. Our bet has long ago moved on from being about a burrito to an active form of monopoly shit. Just like Monopoly money isn’t real money, we’re not giving each other real shit. These days, we’ll just bring it up to start an argument for laughs which is OK for us and anyone who watches.

Still, you can’t knock a guy who was a classic on The Muppet Show. Anyone who’d dis a Muppet probably wouldn’t enjoy a burrito anyway.

John Denver Muppets
Happy holidays to PP&M from John Denver and the Muppets.
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