Weekday pass

Sometimes, the lyrics I mishear are a lot more clever than what a pop star and/or her co-writers intended.

This thought has been sitting around in my head for a couple years, and it’s been sounded to friends, strangers, and any other party who will listen ever since I found out the bit I heard was incorrect.

“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift. From the album 1989 (2014).

Actual lyric:

“Grab your passport and my hand/ I can make the bad guys good for the weekend.”

What the lyric should be:

“Grab your passport and my hand/ I can make a five-pass good for the weekend.”

You know how some people purchase a weekly pass when they take public transport? There’s sometimes an option where you can get a five-day pass. It’s desirable for folks with traditional desk jobs who do not work weekends, and therefore have little need to commute then. Considering Swift has already introduced the idea of travel, it made sense to me that she would continue the theme.  And in order to have any reason to use a passport (other than for purchases of age-restricted goods like alcohol) you need to go somewhere which processes international trips. Maybe a seaport, an airport, or train station. True, maybe Swift and her admirer are driving to the station, but terminals like this don’t have very much parking space, considering trips are constantly embarking.

Suppose Swift’s friend works at a bank, and he thus possesses a five-day pass to ride the subway. They go on their date during a weekend. But Dude has a weekday pass, which isn’t valid, or good, for the weekends. So, Dude would have to purchase another pass in order to accompany Swift on her adventure. Maybe a round-trip pass, one-day pass, two-day pass, or perhaps even a weekend pass. But because Swift is so generous, she goes the extra mile to ensure her date needn’t do that. She “can make a five-pass good for the weekend.”

She would explain to the ticket operator or conductor that this gentleman was with her, and she and her friends get celebrity treatment. Or maybe she has some other pass that allows her to pay both their fares.

But instead of giving us this beautiful slice-of-life moment, she gives us this trite dichotomy between good and bad. This idea that so many others have explored.

Why aren’t lyrics better?

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