Posts Tagged ‘song’

Soul Sister

3 March 2010

Dear J-

There are some days that I wake up full of ideas and suggestions, and unfortunately, more days that I get up with some song in my brain on endless repeat (Train’s Soul Sister has me missing Mister Mister, Broken Wings and Tina Matthews) driving all rational thought from my head. We have two particular bits of infamy in the local scene; again the UCSD situation rears its head (one symbol of intimdation — a noose — might be construed as a mistake, despite the mealy-mouthed convenient apology issued, but two means a trend, and not a joking one) and Chelsea King, whose disappearance appears to have come to a tragic conclusion.

I’m not particularly impressed by the apology issued by the student in question, which basically claims ignorance of the symbolism of a noose — quit acting uppity or it’s you next — and that it was made as a joke. You don’t put a joke on public display, and you generally don’t forget about it, either. I do appreciate that the student would take responsibility for their action, and I’m not sure what else can be done at this point. That said, the introduction and escalation — seriously, putting a Klan hood on Dr. Seuss? — speaks volumes about what those kids on kampus campus are learning, or not learning. It’s bad judgment followed by terrible decisions; there’s really not much more the administration can do short of closing the campus. Everyone must forgive; no one can forget.

I look at the massive search conducted for Chelsea King and wonder if there might have been a connection to the disappearance of another young girl last year, Amber Dubois; had the same effort be conducted on her part, would the suspect have been in custody earlier? Would we have had to talk about remote jogging trails and the promise of young people? It’s all hindsight, and it doesn’t change anything today; the would-haves of the world would fill the universe. The world I remember had me and my brother running around outdoors for hours and days without supervision and without consequence, but those days are as irrelevant as Mister Mister lately.

Mike

Advertisement

Value System

13 August 2009

Dear J-

I heard a story of dubious origins; supposedly some famous musician (the version I heard had Paul McCartney, so I’ll refer to said musician as he — feel free to insert your favorite as needed) gets invited to a party where the Beach Boys are playing.  As he pulls up to the house, they’ve just finished warming up and launch into their set, which kicks off with God Only Knows; upon hearing it, Paul’s convinced that he’ll never write anything so beautiful, and he starts the car up again and leaves without ever having set foot in the house.  Aside from the obvious questions of verification, it makes for a pretty picture; a talented peer recognizing his limitations and bowing out gracefully, face obscured by shadows in the growing night but surely crestfallen.

We get many opportunities to measure ourselves; multiple books will try to convince you that kids of a certain age should be doing these things, or that you should have accomplished these life goals by now, surely.  Whether travel or gastronomy or awards or collections, recognition is the reward; there’s an inane sort of gratification in knowing that whatever obscure achievement you’ve reached, some like-minded person will be able to recognize it and celebrate you for it.  Of course,  more esoteric does not always translate to better galas; while few may be able to understand the science behind Nobel Prizes, the Oscars are awarded to movies accessible by millions.

I like to believe that there is some truth to the story because it fits in with my mind’s system:  everything can be ranked, even if the criteria are not quantifiable.  GM is better than Ford.  SEGA is better than Sony.  It brings order to the chaos that is the real world; by most measures, whether sales or overall health, these  rankings are generally untrue.  Maybe it’s part of our criteria for cultural advancement:  how much order do the people of ___ make of their world — those with more ranks and classes are assigned a higher status.  Is more classes actually better, or is it just more — do they actually value the need to box everything up?  The danger is in this temptation to rank individuals and cultures the same way, with arbitrary and subjective criteria; saying “I’m better/worse than you because …” is a slippery slope that’s only led to misery before and forever.

Mike

Always So Magic

6 December 2006

Dear J-,

There’s a line from The Wedding Singer that sounded great — Robbie, Adam Sandler’s character, says he wants to be a songwriter, one who’s going to write a song that makes people think “Man, I get what he was thinking when he wrote that.” Isn’t that the whole purpose of writing anything?

I’m back on the East Coast again again for the first time in what, eight years? At least since I was in school, and I can only think of everything that’s changed since then. Was it always so lonely, this being apart, a whole continent in between?

(I don’t wanna be lonely, baby, please help me)
I wanna love you all over

— Huey Lews and the News, Do You Believe in Love

I know that it’s got to be some kind of minor hell, or more precisely, some kind of karma for never appreciating all the thousands of kindnesses theVet does for me every day. Man that sounds horrible, like I just miss having a servant. Let them eat cake, that kind of stuff. Lonely’s more than that. Days like these, nights like these, I feel lonely in my own skin. I just don’t know what to do by myself any more. No, lonely’s gotta be somewhere between the last seat on the bus and watching the lights flicker and glow out at closing time. It’s empty chairs and desperate calls to 411, trying to remember, trying to reconnect. Lonely’s knowing just how many vacant minutes fill each dark night. It’s 18 000 days — 540 000 hours of knowing exactly what you need and learning how badly you picked that bet. All this time I thought the future was just more of the same, and I dreaded it a thousand times more than the million slow deaths of humiliation I’d already had in my life — the petrification of actually having to stand up and speak in front of everyone, everyone’s eyes, everyone’s expectations weighing a thousand tons of stares.

Dream a dream of the future with me — grey at the houses of worship, lines changed to canyons (you know I’m now almost halfway to where grampa was the first time we met?) — but that’s only the part I can’t control. I’ve said it before: now I can’t wait. Each day is a day closer, and thus another chance to discover. Yeah, I know it sounds completely Polyanna, sunshine lollipops and rainbows and yet I still can’t help but feel a little giddy about it all. Maybe it’s just who I am, but I’m still learning, learning that love is in the details. Figure it this way: 80 years, 365 days, 2 times the sky catches fire at dusk and dawn. 56 000 opportunities to share your life and amazing times while the world reminds you it’s all still magic, it’s all so magic.

Mike