When Brad Paisley recorded his Time Well Wasted album, he stocked it with some of his typical witty social commentary, with some love songs and with a couple of gospel-toned pieces. It sold two million copies and won Album of the Year from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.
But in the town of Plainview, Texas, Brad’s title isn’t going over so well these days. Time Well Wasted was featured as the theme of the 2010 Plainview High School yearbook, accompanied by melting clocks, inspired by the work of late painter Salvador Dali. Teachers who took the clocks at face value were insulted that students would demean the hours they spent trying to give them an education.
“If you look at that cover it’s saying school is a waste of time,” Principal Lisa Kersh told The Plainview Herald. “That’s how people would naturally perceive that.”
Of course, plenty of students do believe that. But the album was significant enough that it’s likely familiar to a good part of the student body, and since the guy who originated the title is known for his sarcasm, it’s not difficult to see the yearbook theme in the same light. Like Brad, the yearbook editors were supposedly trying to use a little wordplay to say that their time at the school really was well spent.
“I don’t get why people are making a big deal out of this,” freshman Kourtney Bradshaw told The Herald. “I get everyone’s point, but really, it’s done and you can’t go back and change it. Besides, in a way it was time well wasted. We think that school is a waste now, but in the future we’ll appreciate it.”
Complicating matters, a poem that appears in the yearbook creates an anagram that uses a four-letter word to disparage the high school. The authors deny that it was intentional; the principal doesn’t believe them.
Ultimately, yearbook advisor Nicole Jackson resigned over the flap, according to KCBD-TV in Lubbock. And the students who created the theme — which really is kind of clever — now have an excuse to do more Brad Paisley-related thinking. When they get to be, say, 25 or 30, they might want to follow his “Letter To Me” lead and write a note to their teenage ‘selves.
The yearbook, incidentally, is not the only connection Plainview has with country music. Jimmy Dean, who will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October, grew up there. It was also the birthplace of Brady Black, fiddler with the Randy Rogers Band.