Doing the right thing adheres to standards

Published 10:52 am Wednesday, June 12, 2024

By Les Ferguson Jr.



“I got a little change in my pocket goin’ jing-a-ling-a-ling. Wants to call you on the telephone baby, a-give you a ring. But each time we talk, I get the same old thing, always no hug-ee no kiss-ee until I get a weddin’ ring.”

1986 was a good year for the Georgia Satellites as they released their debut album and the song “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.”

Some readers may end up with an earworm for the day as they remember this song, while others may wonder where my head can be found. Just know that over the years, my family has had to listen to me loudly sing this—sometimes because it came on the radio, other times because I spontaneously started belting it out. 

I enjoy this song to this day. Maybe one day I’ll get called up on stage to show my rock and roll chops. 

In the meantime, Marshall Ramsey, one of Mississippi’s treasures as a cartoonist and commentator, once told me he was a high school buddy of the band’s drummer, Todd Johnston. I remain duly impressed. 

What about this song has kept my attention all these years? I love the melody and rhythm—the driving beat moves my feet. The vocals are just outstanding.  But it is the storyline of the song that really grabs me. 

As the lyrics progress, the singer’s advances to his heart’s desires are rebuffed three times. The first you saw above. The second and third are just as powerful, if not more dramatic. 

I’ll let you Google the lines. Just know you’ll read about vows, free milk, a cow, and true love and sin. Ultimately, we learn that there will be no “hug-ee, no kiss-ee until you make me your wife.”

Why am I using this valuable space to write about the Georgia Satellites and their best-known song? That’s a good question, and I’m not sure I have a good answer. I didn’t intend to go in this direction, but nevertheless, here we are.

Since we are here, you can take the moral of the story and make it about dating, marriage, etc. But I think the point is rather simple: set wholesome, good standards and don’t compromise them for anybody or anything.

Try that at work. Or at home. Or wherever or whenever you might find yourself. Life is far too short to do anything else but the right thing. 

If I close my eyes, I can still hear my mother say, “Just because everyone is jumping off the bridge doesn’t mean you have to as well.”

Indeed, as cliche as those words have become, they have indisputable wisdom. As I’ve been known to say to a teenager, “Do the right thing every time, all the time.” 

“Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

(Proverbs 21:3 CSB)

God loves you and so do I!