This I Believe: Life Needs More Cowbell

Feb 22, 2016

The world would be better off with more cowbell.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to check out one of Saturday Night Live’s most famous sketches.  Performed in April of 2000, “More Cowbell” starred Christopher Walken as producer “The Bruce Dickinson” and Will Ferrell as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle, along with other SNL cast members as the band Blue Öyster Cult in a parody of their recording session for “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.”

The band is dissatisfied with Frenkle’s excessively loud cowbell playing, while Dickinson repeatedly asks for “more cowbell.”  Frenkle bangs his cowbell while dancing in the small studio, and after three takes and the band getting increasingly mad at Frenkle, Dickinson exclaims, “Guess what?  I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!”  The sketch has proven to be one of SNL’s most famous, and has made its way into the top ten SNL sketches of all time.  I have seen countless t-shirts, signs, and memes constantly demanding the reader of “more cowbell.”  In fact, the phrase itself has become one of the biggest pop culture catchphrases.

You’re probably asking yourself, why, of all things, would we need more cowbell?  The answer is simple: the world needs more cowbell because having “more cowbell” is synonymous with stepping out of your comfort zone and having some fun in whatever it is you’re doing!  When someone adds “more cowbell” into their routine, it instantly becomes more memorable because he or she is removing himself or herself from the box they live in, the box where nothing ever changes.  Let’s face it: routine can be nice, but without some cowbell, it becomes incredibly repetitious and boring.  Cowbell is the spice of life.

We need more cowbell in our homes.  Why live the same day over and over again when you can switch it up a bit?  Turn off the television, put away your iPhone, sit down with your family, and play a board game!  Go on a long bike ride!  Have a picnic in your own yard!  Cowbell doesn’t have to cost anything.  Some of the best cowbell happens when people unplug and simply interact with each other.

We definitely need more cowbell in our schools.  So much of school becomes the same boring routine week after week.  Students are far too sedentary as they spend their days sitting in the same uncomfortable desks, bent over their notebooks.  There’s an extremely high stress level surrounding testing of all sorts.  And it’s not just students; teachers seem equally stressed when they have to grade papers, write tests, and lecture to classes.  Why don’t high school kids get recess of some sort?  We go seven or eight straight hours of intense concentration with only 30 minutes for lunch.  I say we hit the cowbell hard for a morning and afternoon brain break to allow everyone to relax.  Why couldn’t beanbags, couches, or cushioned seats of some sort replace desks to make learning more comfortable?  These are just a couple cowbell suggestions, but you get the idea.

As he consistently brought “more cowbell,” Will Ferrell’s SNL character was brilliant.  Gyrating to the beat in his scraggly beard and undersized shirt, he showed America that the unconventional is exactly what we need to elevate us out of the ordinary, to amuse and inspire us, often to change up our day and make us laugh.  More cowbell.  This I believe.