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Rock and Roll’s Big Bang

March 19, 2017 1 comment

chuckChuck Berry was rock and roll’s big bang.

Rock and roll did not exist until Berry came “motorvatin’ over the hill” chasing after Maybellene in her Coup de Ville. It took 36 takes….but there it was. Bum note in the opening guitar lick be-damned. It was 1955. Berry was 29 years old. He invented an art-form. It was a mix of blues and country and bluegrass and jazz and pop and folk and big band. And it was poetry. We know this in retrospect. At the time, nobody knew what the fuck it was. To Chuck it was hopefully a way to pay his bills.

It was all driven forward by his stinging guitar playing, inspired by the boogie-woogie piano sound that he could not get out of his head. His solos were the first solo all of us ever learned. And for a lot of us, it’s still the only one we play.

Sweet Little Sixteen. School Days. Almost Grown. Brown-Eyed Handsome Man. Nadine. You Never Can Tell. Roll Over Beethoven. Rock and Roll Music. Little Queenie. Around and Around. No Particular Place to Go. Memphis , Tennessee. You Can’t Catch Me. Back in the USA. Let it Rock. I’m Talking About You. Sweet Little Rock and Roller. Too Much Monkey Business. Carol. Johnny B Goode. Tulane. Reelin’ and Rockin’. Promised Land. If you were going to blast rock and roll into space, you’d put these songs in the capsule and light the fuse. It’s the story. It’s the whole world. If I heard this music for the first time, I’d want to travel to the galaxy where it was created.

The Beatles? The Rolling Stones? No such thing without Chuck Berry. Dylan was finally able to step out of Woody Guthrie’s shadow with “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, which he later admitted was simply a “Too Much Monkey Business” rewrite.

Dylan got the Pulitzer. Wrong guy.

Berry’s songs were soon carved in stone. The man toured constantly, without a band. It was the promoter’s job to hire the backing musicians, and when they’d finally meet Berry, inevitably 5 minutes before the show was about to start, and inquire as to what songs they were going to play, Berry would reply, “we’re going to play some Chuck Berry songs, son.” If the band was good and the equipment didn’t malfunction, Berry would give back $1000 of his earnings (which he always demanded upfront, in cash). “Play for that money, boys!” he’d whoop to countless local cats who would never forget the day for the rest of their lives.

Jerry Lee Lewis is still pissed off that his own Mom considered Berry the true king of rock and roll. “I though I was”, said the Killer to his Mom. “Well, you and Elvis are pretty good”, she replied. “But you’re no Chuck Berry.”

Mom’s know these things.

Chuck Berry is the greatest rock and roll lyricist of all time. I don’t think there’s much argument about that. He wrote his best songs 60+ years ago. Not a single word sounds dated. He could say more in 180 seconds than any man alive. Funny. Biting. Ironic. Aware. Un-threatening on the surface….he was a black man in a racist nation after all….but it didn’t take much in the melon to understand that “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” wasn’t a song about guys with brown eyes. The way he spat out lines like “looking hard for a drive-inn / searching for a corner cafe / where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day” were darkly ominous, in that Berry knew most of ’em wouldn’t serve a black man. But still, he didn’t frighten parents the way an obvious lunatic like Little Richard might have. In fact, most parents, hearing his perfect diction and dead-on teen drama “School Days”, thought he was a white teenager to being with. Surely it wasn’t a 30 year old black father and drop out singing “up in the morning and off to school / the teacher is teaching the golden rule / American history and practical math / you studying hard and hoping to pass..”

He was teen America’s ventriloquist.

He was also a deeply flawed man. Perpetually pissed off, driven by dollars. A philanderer with a sweet tooth. A man stingy when credit was due. A frequent guest of US penal institutions. A maddeningly private public figure who squandered his prodigious talents, grinding out increasingly sloppy versions of his early songs over and over again, literally taking the money and running (his coffee colored Cadillac would be driving away from the venue before yet another unrehearsed backing band had gotten off the stage).

And yet, somehow loved without being lovable.

Because when he hit on that familiar rolling riff…and crouched into that crazed duck-walk….it was like being able to converse with the statues in a museum. There he was, in the flesh, the George Washington of rock and roll. And suddenly nothing mattered anymore but the music. Because rock and roll might need her memory jogged at times, but it is true. She never forgets.

The promised land was calling, and the poor boy was on the line.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

Stella – 1 Da Valley – 0

March 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Stella – 1

The Valley – 0

flagOur daughter was stranded at a friend’s house less than a mile away (she had spent Monday night there). And we couldn’t get to her. Road was blocked with an Archbald borough plow being towed with a chain by a large piece of farm equipment. So that made what would have been the stupid decision to drive that much easier. I actually set out on foot with a bag full of warm clothes over my shoulder (she only had a sweatshirt….yea, I know…) like a Saint Bernard intent on delivering brandy. As I walked into the teeth of 40 MPH winds and negative wind chills, even the guy driving the tractor, who saw me appear out of the ether like some sort of crazed mental patient, shook his head and said…”uh….good luck dude.”

I might make it…but there was no way I was gonna subject my girl to the return trip, so I figured she could survive another sleepover at her best friend’s warm house. First world problems, eh?

Still, the last few days have been crazy. My car was in the driveway, put there to make room in the garage for our lawnmower, which I would surely need soon based on 70 degree February days, right? By Tuesday all I could see of my vehicle were the mirrors. My mail box had disappeared….and my dog looked at me like I was deranged when I suggested she go outside and pee. I know we’ve gotten this much snow before. Must have. But it’s hard to remember things being intense all at once. Over 2 feet of snow. Howling wind. Drifts. Roads not just impassible, but gone. Like everybody else, I spend the entire day digging out. Or trying to. At one point a 4 foot wall had built up at the end of our driveway, and when we were finally able to bust through it, a plow would show up as if on cue and start building it back up again. I was inside and out at least 10 different times, desperate to stay ahead of it all. The only thing that made me feel better was pulling up facebook and reading about everybody else. What I was doing was child’s play compared to the rest of the valley. People literally couldn’t get out of their homes. They were climbing out windows. They were digging themselves out to go….well…nowhere….since plows hadn’t reached their roads yet. At all. Our plows might be stuck in the snow, but at least they were out and about. You have to appreciate the effort. You really do. 

Social media is made for shit like this. It was like an evolving Greek tragedy…..written one post at a time. One person was waiting on a 3rd rescue attempt, the first two having resulted in stranded plows. From what I could tell, short of a helicopter or a military operation, they might resurface in the spring. Cars were left on roads, abandoned. People were begging for plows, offering money, booze, whatever. A randy entrepreneur with 4 wheel drive and a smile could have named his own price last night. And of course, anyone with a satellite dish wasn’t gonna Netflix and Chill anytime soon (“you might want to climb up and dig it out….or just wait for spring…”  – rep to customer)

There was good……people helping neighbors. There was bad…..landlords MIA as their tenants struggled to even push open their doors. And there was ugly….people who had genuine emergencies and could not be reached, left to fend for themselves. I don’t know the death toll of this storm, but there will be one. That makes me sad.

People lashed out….wondering why their tax bills seemed to arrive like clockwork but their local DPWs seemed to be taking their sweet time. To steal a line from Lincoln, there’s just “too many pigs for the tits”. I suspect that the workers out there the last few days and nights aren’t any happier with things than the people waiting on them.

Stress brings out the best and the worst in people. I’ve seen both during Stella.

I’m guessing the worst is over. Here’s hoping we get a gradual temperature thaw, and not some crazed summer weather that might raise the rivers and really give folks a reason to pontificate on Facebook. Because water can ruin you day, bubba. Snow is a bitch. But flooding is a whore.

So that’s that. We’ll return to the highways tomorrow…..and this storm will gradually fade from memory, like they always do. In a few weeks I’ll be cutting my grass…..probably with little piles of un-melted snow still in view.

And that’s the way it was. And is. At the tail end of Stella….on the Ides of March. In NEPA, a place we love and loathe with equal intensity. Because we’re human. And we can. So we do.

In a bit…

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

We are a nation of immigrants…

January 31, 2017 1 comment

In the midst of all this constitutional carnage, I’ve had precious little time for reflection. Life gets in the way of a good think. We get crushed with the mundane, the ins and outs of survival. It’s been early mornings and late nights and two jobs and greeting the door like a marathon runner hitting the tape. The last thing in the world I want to do when I finally make it home is flip on the TV to see Donald Trump butt-fucking our democracy. It’s not like he didn’t promise he was gonna do so, mind you. It’s just that it’s all too depressing for a degenerate liberal like myself to stomach. Watching this fat tiny-fingered spray- tanned intellectual basket-case sit at the same desk as Lincoln and FDR, flexing his prick like a 13 year old sitting behind the captain of the cheerleaders, makes me feel like I have bugs crawling all over me.

If you don’t laugh you’ll cry. So try to laugh. Really. The good thing about collective national psychosis is that eventually it ends, and history subsequently paints you as a withered fool, and your grand-kids sit on your lap and say things like….”Poppa….how the fuck did you manage to elect a Nazi President of the US?” Think on that moment, bubba. Where were you when the world changed? And what did you do about it? Remember, after Hitler shot himself in the face in that bunker, every German with his hand raised in that silly salute developed amnesia….and subsequently claimed Hitler was a madman. Uh-huh.

Last night Trump fired Sally Yates, the Attorney General of the United States, and called her disloyal, because she defied his migrant travel ban. Her job is to enforce the nation’s laws, not to carry out the mad twitter-isms of the child in the Oval office. It was a heartening reminder that checks and balances work….or at least they can work, that is if anybody left in DC has any stones. Trump, oblivious, simply reached for the closest toady, a non-descript white guy obviously, and carried on with his illegality. But this little historical footnote will be taught in school someday. Dana J. Boente is the new Robert Bork, the type of legacy that doesn’t get you invited to any parties from now until forever. And Yates is the first martyr of the Trump presidency. The first of many I suspect, although counting on Democrats to grow melons can sometimes give you crows feet.

hqdefaultWe are a nation of immigrants. Unless you’re a native American, you sound like a fucking idiot when you grow all nationalistic. My family came from Ireland. Yours too. Or maybe Italy or Scotland or Africa or South America or Mexico or Germany or England or the Balkans. If Trump was the President in the 1840s one million Irish would have starved to death, instead of assimilating and making the nation greater than it was before. Because that’s what happens. It’s a melting pot….of customs and religions and music and language and cultures. What we eat and what we drink and what we wear. It all comes from someplace else and gets swept into a vortex, and comes out red white and blue. It’s the blues and country and bluegrass and rock and roll and hip hop and power pop and punk and Mozart and the Beatles. It’s Eugene Debs and Martin Luther King and Hunter Thompson and Smokey Robinson and Bob Dylan. It’s Jews and Catholics and Muslims and atheists, gays and straights, girls and guys, men and boys. It’s a big, glorious mess and it’s not always pretty and it doesn’t always fit together like a jig-saw puzzle but it has survived assholes like Donald Trump before and will do it again, because hate is like a match…it burns hot but it doesn’t burn long. And if you hold it too long it will singe your finger. You’ve got no choice, bubba. You gotta blow it out. Or shoot yourself in the face in your bunker. Alone.

I’ve got faith in my country. It’s your constitutional right to be an asshole, so I’ve no illusions that you’re going to disappear. But there’s more of us than there are of you. An asshole is one who judges a group…who refuses to take men one at a time, the way they arrive in this world. An asshole is one who expects a helping hand but won’t offer one. An asshole is one who erects barriers, and refuses to tear them down. An asshole is one who hates. An asshole is partisan and hypocritical. An asshole is racist and ignorant.  An asshole is disloyal. An asshole is un-American.

An asshole is one who doesn’t believe in the better angels of our nature.

So there.

In a bit..

–tf

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

It’s the final countdown….

January 17, 2017 1 comment

We’ve only got a few more days with an adult in charge, so enjoy the security while it lasts, bubba.
donald-trumpRationality is about to leave the building, replaced by the arrogance and whims of a petulant, overweight, tiny-fingered man-child with a giant hard-on for shirtless dictators and the vocabulary of a 4th grader who spent two years in 3rd grade. Don’t blame me. I didn’t vote for this preening shithead. But in a democracy, or whatever it is you call it when you can get the most votes and still lose, this sort of thing can happen. Welcome to America. Or as it will soon be known, the place where nobody has any health insurance because those who need it the most vote for the guy who promises to take it away from them. We may still be the greatest nation on earth, but we sure as shit can’t lay claim to being the smartest. Before Trump, George Bush was universally regarded as the dimmest bulb to ever light the Oval office. In comparison to the guy about to move in, Bush was a fucking Rhodes scholar…a shining beacon on a hill. And I actually miss him. He was, at least, a grown-up.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Toby Keith are ready to rock the capital, followed by some kid who didn’t win America’s Got Talent….and a band called 3 Doors Down, whom I’ve never heard of but I presume are way better than Ted Nugent, who for some reason wasn’t invited. Neither was Kid Rock, another talented performer. Not sure who’s in charge of entertainment, but if Trump makes waterboarding legal….this person might be a great pilot program.

Even the people who voted for Trump are starting to hate his guts. He enters the White House with approval ratings already between his legs….and with his astounding propensity for making bad situations worse, inauguration day is really shaping up to be nothing more than the start of an inevitable death march. He’ll either be impeached or quit. Anybody who thinks this guy is gonna lay around his tower for 4 or 8 years, surrounded by the Secret Service, eating taco bowls, watching Fox, and tweeting about rigged polls while his angry white base makes do with self medicating and beating up the odd Mexican….well, they don’t understand the average dumb American voter. Fool me once. Hell…fool me twice. But….as George Bush once sorta tried to say….”well….we won’t get fooled again”. That’s wall is gonna be expensive Jethro….but try not to pay attention to that tax collector behind the curtain.

Truth be told, the man is fucking doomed. American history is filled with bad Presidents. Rascals. Rogues. Criminals. Failed actors. But never has such a certified idiot taken the reigns. Never has a man been more innately unprepared for a job that requires, if not intellectual brilliance, at least a modicum of intellectual curiosity. I know lots of people who voted for him. They did so for a variety of reasons, none of them exactly noble, but if propaganda didn’t work all the propagandists would be out of work. And while they are loathe to openly admit they made a mistake, that day is gonna come, believe me. As sure as the day Mexico returns the bill for the wall with the words “fuck you” scribbled next to the “return to sender” stamp on the envelope….or the day they get sick and can’t pay their medical bills. Trump voters these days seem confused and stunned, like a duck hit over the head. It ain’t everyday the guy you just voted for is alleged to be such a fan of golden showers. It’s not the most promising of beginnings. More like the guy who trips and face-plants on the first hurdle in the Olympic final.

Enjoy the shit show bubba, ’cause it ain’t gonna last.

That’s the good news….or the bad news, if you think…say….three years of a brown-shirt like Mike Pence is gonna make America great again. If so, I’ve got some lowered health care premiums to sell you….

It’s the final countdown….which reminds me of that Geico commercial with the band “Europe”……rocking the lunch room with their latest hit, looking all the world like potential Trump inauguration headliners. How nobody picked up on this is beyond me. I wish someone had asked me.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

Christmas Eve, 2016

December 24, 2016 Leave a comment

It’s Christmas Eve. Santa rides this evening….and in the wee hours when the kids are down it’s a great night for reflection. The house dark except for the tree lights…and maybe a gas fireplace roaring at the flick of a light switch. Drink in hand….we can ponder. We can conjure up all the lost dogs and mixed blessings of the past year, and vow to do better. We can stop taking for granted those we love, and maybe pledge to right any wrongs we’ve done. We can, for a few quiet moments at least, allow all the accumulated weariness to fall away. We can talk in whispers and hold onto each other for dear life and sleep the sleep of wounded but grateful survivors. Because we made it one more lap around the sun.

18905_show_landscape_large_01Feelings this warm never last long, of course. But the key to not needing medication is to recognize them as they happen, and harness their power the same way the bloodstream harnesses a .5 benzo.

This past year has pretty much sucked. Too many great ones have died and too many assholes have remained alive. We somehow managed to elect Donald Trump President. We’ve lost loved ones and jobs and health benefits and gotten sick and not gotten better. Safety nets are being dismantled by angry rich white men, who of course don’t need safety nets. We’ve grated on each others nerves and made fools of ourselves in Facebook and Twitter comment wars. We’ve spent way more time binge watching Netflix than we have talking to each other. And we’ve done all of this with heads buried in our phones. I have to think 2017 is gonna be better, if only because the thought of it being worse is unbearable.

So the glass is either half-full or half-empty. The optimist or the pessimist. We choose sides. But when you’re really thirsty that glass is gonna be empty with one swig, and what we’re left with is something we can all agree on. Thirst is coming soon. And then we panic and start hitting each other over the head. Because that’s what panicked people do. They hit each other over the head. And when somebody asks “why are you hitting that man over the head?”, instead of saying “because I want his drink” we say “because he’s different..and he doesn’t belong”. Hate is insidious, but it’s not hard to understand.

Maybe we could take the pessimist and the optimist and put ’em together…with their glasses….and pour one into the other….so they have a single glass filled to the brim. And then they can share it. How’d that be for a cool 2017 eh? Some solidarity. And when the glass was emptied, they’d walk together to the river and fill ‘er back up again. Certainly expending less energy than trying to kill each other first, then heading to the river alone and having to wipe away the evidence.

Yea, I’m a dreamer and those last two paragraphs are a bit over the top and borderline incoherent. But still. I’ve always thought it was easier to help somebody up than to keep them down. Being nice to someone is a lot simpler than being a dick. I’m 50 years old. I adore simplicity.

We always make all sorts of resolutions as the year ends. We’re gonna hit the gym and stop eating weekender bags of Middleswarth barbecue chips in a single sitting, or at least switch to light beer. By mid January the gym membership is dusty, the couch is coated with chip residue from mindless hand rubbing, and the Budweiser 6 pack has turned into a Miller Lite 12 pack. And so it goes. These types of resolutions rarely stick because they’re not simple. Life is hard enough without making it harder.

But being a better humanoid IS simple. It really is. You don’t have to go to the gym or give up chips and beer. You smile and say good morning and excuse me and you let that car in that’s trying to merge. You tip your waitress and bartender a few extra percentage points. You help the new guy at work and you say you’re sorry when you mess up. If your neighbor is laid up you shovel his sidewalk for him. If you see folks don’t have enough, and you have some extras, you quietly pass it along. You let the people you love know you love them and you try like hell to hate with less intensity. If you can’t think of something nice to say, that’s the cosmos telling you to shut the fuck up. Sit with your family and watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas….and then leave the house thinking “what would Linus do?”

Man, the world would be a better place then, eh?

Merry Christmas bubba.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

What did you expect was going to happen?

December 14, 2016 Leave a comment

What did you expect was going to happen?

donald-trumpThe climate. Gay and Women and minority rights. Health care. Social Security. Immigration. Black Lives Matter. Government regulations. A roll call of progressive causes (and right wing pet-peeves). All are gonna be gutted like dead fish. And that’s before the Apprentice gets his hands on the Supreme Court. Each cabinet pick is more ghastly than the last….a steady stream of mill-billionaires being chosen to lead agencies they would prefer to abolish altogether. His most recent pick is Rick Perry, who in 2011 pledged to get rid of three specific government agencies, but could only name two of them when pressed as to what they were. The one he couldn’t conjure up was the Department of Energy, not so coincidentally the department Trump now wants Perry to oversee. So it’s not like the President-sorta-elect doesn’t have a sense of humor.

You could make this stuff up…but nobody would believe you.

Meanwhile the President-elect continues his 3am alternative reality tweet-storms, distracting the shit out of a media that reminds me of my dog when she hears food wrappers being crinkled. Never has the term “circus”seemed more appropriate. Meanwhile, Trump deals with the fact that the election he claims to have won in a “landslide” may have been compromised by Russian government hackers….by meeting with Kanye West….while at the same time calling himself too busy  and too smart for for daily classified briefings. As the world turns.

60 million people voted for this man. The fact that close to 63 million people voted for his opponent doesn’t matter because, well, America. Thems the rules even though nobody can really explain them. But still. That’s a lot of people who are gonna be expecting a whole lotta shit. Like the coal mines re-opening and that wall going up and stuff like that. So far they seem quite willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. His promises to “lock her up” and “drain the swamp” went away like deleted tweets….but thus far, judging by his victory-lap speaking tour at least, he seems as popular as ever with his deplorables. Republicans in Washington have either debased themselves already, or are still in bed with the covers pulled over their heads. I wouldn’t expect much opposition there. Democrats are hampered by the fact that they are…you know…..Democrats, and are still trying to come to grips with losing to a man who managed to offend every group in the country except for pissed off white people (who have shown themselves incapable of being offended as long as there is a neck to stand on). For the time being Democrats are in danger of extinction. Like the giraffe. Or Howard Dean.

So what to do? Trump thrives on chaos. On people screaming at each other. It’s the white noise that allows him to sleep like a baby. As long as I blame his ascension to the throne on 60 million dumb people, he’s got me by the balls. He’ll just stop watching late night TV for a few seconds, call down his people’s wrath in a tweet  with half the words spelled wrong, and wait for the fuse to catch. Game over. No, there’s gotta be another way. We’re broken for sure, but it’s not because we’re a nation of degenerate bigots. It’s because we’ve lost hope in the better angels of our own nature. I want to be inspired. When’s the last time you felt that way? For me, Bernie Sanders had that ability. But up against an entrenched, super connected ball-snipper like Hilary, the poor guy never had a chance (as backroom deals have proven). He’s lucky he didn’t end up in some landfill somewhere. The cake has already been cut up and divided…..and all we can do is kick each other in the teeth over the crumbs. We need a bigger cake. Or smaller slices.

What I should be troubled by is the fact that Democrats have taken so many voters for granted for so long. We’re a nation of have-nots, essentially.  It’s 99 to 1….99 of us living from paycheck(s) to paycheck(s). You tell me you have my back…but you’re sipping cocktails at a fundraiser at George Clooney’s house. That’s not cutting it any more, Bubba. Get you ass down here and explain to me what you’re gonna do so I can afford my child’s medication.

Or what?

Or I’ll vote for guy who’s not at George Clooney’s house. Even if he’s a guy who brags about sexually assaulting women and mocks handicapped people for the laugh. Because maybe that will get your attention.

Lesson learned, eh?

I’ll say this for Trump. The bar is so low that when he says something that’s not wildly offensive, or something that’s not completely made up bullshit, something Presidential even, it’s italicized all over the world. And people say, “see…he’s not that bad”. He’ll usually ruin in a few hours later by taking a handful of uppers and making shit up on Twitter, but still. He has a golden opportunity to actually get things done because he gets a pass simply for not being an asshole. That’s the very definition of house money, isn’t it?

But will he get anything done? Or is his goal simply to destroy what’s already been done?

His health care “fix” seems to be “get a job with a company that offers benefits”. While definitely easier to understand than Obamacare, it’s not exactly inspirational leadership. He’ll deal with foreign policy by asking an oil executive what Putin wants. Domestically, how a guy who won’t leave his ivory tower is gonna (as Nixon termed it) “build outhouses in Peoria” is anybody’s guess. We’re all still awaiting what exactly he knows about ISIS that the Generals don’t know. And on and on it goes…..the world’s financial markets holding their collective breath over whatever the next 140 characters his brain can process will be. It’s not a very seemly way to run a railroad.

All we’re left with is knowing that, now that it’s happened once, it can happen again. And until we control the fear that brought all of this on….and learn to hope yet again, this is only the beginning. Because behind every cartoonish blowhard like Trump, is a battle-tested wild-eyed hater like Mike Pence….who can do irreparable damage. Trump is the mirage in the desert. Guys like Pence are dry springs people crawl towards to drink….only do die of thirst at the trough.

In  a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

Change

December 5, 2016 1 comment

I’m not much good with change. It’s a strange thing. We yearn for it at times. We often look back on it with fondness. And yet, when we’re in the midst of it, all sorts of wires seem to get crossed. Our balance is thrown off. We miss what we never planned on missing….and we appreciate what we had, if only because it was familiar. The grass isn’t always greener of course. Most of the time it’s sorta the same brownish hue it was before. But we’ve got new attitudes to treat with. New buzz words to learn. New routes to take to get to the same places we all need to be. Above the water line….one step ahead of the bank’s warning letters. And most of the time is all sorta works out…somehow. In retrospect that is. At the time you’re constantly convinced you’re in the midst of a disaster.

The world’s number one fear, so I’m told, is public speaking. Death is number two. I guess I’m just as afraid of dying as the next person….but I never had an issue with public speaking. I’ve given all sorts of talks, eulogies, presentations, not to mention just standing on a stage for 4 hours armed only with an acoustic guitar. For me, change trumps (no pun intended, I swear) the dying thing. Change of any kind. A new job. A new location. A new task. A new route to a new store. A new payment process at a parking garage. You name it. If I’ve been doing something, anything, one way and you come and tell me that I have to start doing it differently, my very first instinct is to panic. My second instinct is to panic more. And then one reaches for the benzos.

I’m sorta kidding about the last part because change often comes with no immediate health insurance…but you get the idea. As a kid I assumed this sort of thing would ease up as I got taller. But no…all growing up allows you to do is not toss yourself on the floor at the mall and pitch a fit when your Mom asks you to do something you don’t want to do. I still feel exactly the same way, but as an alleged adult I must mask these moments with at least a thin veneer of maturity. So while in my head I’m still banging my head off the floor of JC Penney’s, outwardly I continue to resemble a male version of a Stepford wife. In other words, I’m acting all middle aged and respectable and exceedingly boring. The kind of person who gets invited to parties, but nobody really notices when they leave.

Sometimes we do things because we want to. Sometimes we do things because we think that’s what others want us to do. Sometimes we’re just bored, and treat day to day stuff like we’re sitting in front of a bunch of buttons and thinking….”I wonder what this big red one that says ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ really does…” Once you hit that button…..there probably ain’t no re-do, Bubba. But hell….sometimes they tell you not to look into the sun, and you know damn well that’s where the fun us. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. Or some ragamuffin from Jersey.

It’s amazing how much time we spend in this life forced to do things we don’t want to do. Time is precious, and not because there isn’t enough of it. Time I got, and the amount’ll do me just fine. What I ain’t got is the freedom to spend it doing what I love to do. As a kid the nuns used to blame all of this on Adam eating that damn apple. If only that snake hadn’t tempted him, we’d all be lolling around in gardens playing guitars and writing songs, mercifully free of the 40+ hour work week. But alas, ’twas not to be. We must suffer through insufferable co-workers and mandatory overtime and incomprehensible computer code due to the vanity of some ancient fool with a hard-on. It wasn’t much to go on but it seemed reasonable to a seven year old. Religion is awesome that way.

So that’s that for now. Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug. And sometimes love IS the answer. Because if it wasn’t, why the hell would we bother?

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized