So I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what makes up a life. What is truly important and what is, honestly, fluff. Or better yet, what milestones make us who we are, that make our life the final story it will be? The marks on our compass. Is this something important, for example, or just another day, something that will be forgotten.
Okay, I know this sounds like heady stuff, but stick with me. The shift is about to happen.
Yet, for me, as I pondered these deep thoughts I kept returning to things I was once into, especially things that now make me feel a little, honestly, humiliated. We all have those. I can easily name right now a hundred friends on Facebook that were into New Kids on the Block when they were in high school. (To those friends I’ll like to say: “Yes, you should be embarrassed; and, no, going to see them in concert now is not a good idea. You are watching people in their mid-forties pretending to be teenagers because they need the money.”)
Here are three things right now that make me blush. I can’t say why, they just do. And if I could go back in time I might have a few words with myself. Maybe even pat the past me on the back and say:
It’s okay, but you know this is kind of lame… No, seriously lame… Not boy bands lame…. Nothing you have liked has ever been that lame, Scott. So no worries… But lame, yes.
You know, looking back over this intro, let me correct myself. I just wanted an excuse to talk about three things that I’m not into anymore. (And by the way, I always thought boy bands were lame.)
So there was this really deep TV show once about a smoke monster.
This show stole years from my life. Right from the premiere, I was hooked. I would sell it to my friends as a great mystery and each week we turn another page in the book. I would listen to the official podcast a few times a week. I would debate the meanings with friends over Facebook. And I even once played the lottery using the magic numbers.
I truly believed in my heart we were building to a great world-changing conclusion. It would be the second-coming for us that love a good tale and I would be enriched with the idea of new possibilities in storytelling.
Of course now we know the truth about it.
When the show began the creators didn’t have plans that reached out that far. They were making it up as they go. And once you realize that, for a LOST fan, it is like discovering there is no Santa Claus. It almost makes the show completely unwatchable now. Every scene is so full of innuendos, it’s amazing that even the cast didn’t revolt.
Just have the characters say what they mean! Get to the point! Answer some questions!
And then when the answers started coming they were so obtuse, involving immortals and holding together the world… or something like that. I have no idea now.
The Music of Paul Simon
Let me begin by saying “America” is a great song.
It will always be an amazing song, Nothing I am going to say here will take that away, and there are highlights throughout the Bookends album (even though I could have lived without the “song” of nothing but old people talking). but…
Man, I can’t stand the music of Paul Simon anymore.
I used to be obsessed by his CDs when I was a teenager. I listened to them intensely, as if I was looking for some kind of truth behind his lyrics. I even had the soundtrack to One Trick Pony; shockingly, I sat through that awful movie from the 70s, twice. That would be considered torture in some countries if done today.
I watched documentaries on the making of Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints. I not only saw him in concert, I gave others tickets to his shows. For example, I gave my parents as an anniversary present tickets to see him and Bob Dylan together on stage. My parents’ big takeaway? They were not made to harmonize with each other. (I’m guessing we could all see that coming.)
Okay, I get that I am talking about an American treasure here. He is looked upon as a folk/rock icon. And he can tour our country charging his fans a shockingly large amount of money. But, for me, I’m off the tour bus.
This shift for me began a few years ago. I decided out of the blue to listen to his Bridge Over Troubled Waters album again and the lyrics on songs like “Baby Driver” and “Why Don’t You Write Me” were just so… weak.
There, I said it and it is a relief. I don’t know if the right word to describe his lyrics is pretentious or convoluted. He is trying so very hard to say something deep. By the time he gets to Graceland he is just throwing imagery at his audience. Sometimes the lyrics are too playful, other times they are just bizarre. (Why are we singing about a boy with a baboon heart?)
Wait! Is there something more deep happening behind it. The sad fact is I don’t care anymore. Sorry, 14-year old Scott. I just don’t find it all profound anymore. (Oh, and I have some CDs for sale if anyone is interested.)
This is a confession for me, but, man, I used to have lame food likes.
Before I met my wife I was not an adventurous eater. She likes to tell the story about how when she first met me, my brother and I (we were roommates in Los Angeles) would keep one knife on top of the peanut butter jar… for days. I mean, why dirty another knife when you know you will be having peanut butter again really soon? And a knife like that could go for a while before being toxic, right?
Okay, that story is embarrassing for many reasons now thinking about it.
But when I would go to a restaurant my go-to order would be chicken strips. Every date. every gathering. Looking back, I think this was about safety. And if the point of going out to eat is to have fun, why risk it? Just enjoy the conversation and dip those chicken strips!
The fact is I know now I had been missing one of the great joys of life. And the fact my wife had the patience to teach me this (and it took awhile) shows how incredibly lucky I am to have her in my life.
Yet… seriously, chicken strips? What was I thinking?
This may be a super power, but it is a very weak super power. For I can tell you what I will be writing about in a few years on this very topic.
Yes, I can see it all before me, and I don’t need a compass to get there. And right now the needle is pointing directly at Game of Thrones.
The show, the books, the podcasts with the debates on what is going on with Jon Snow. Like LOST there is no way the ending will pay off all of this attention. Both the books and TV shows are going to disappoint and a day will come when the show ends or the book closes that I will look around and sigh and say:
There is a blogpost about this disappointment coming… right after a very strong drink. Maybe I should put on some Paul Simon music?
My latest novel Permanent Spring Showers was just published by 5 Prince Books. You can find out more about my novel as well as my other books (including A Jane Austen Daydream and My Problem With Doors) and grab a copy via my author page on Amazon.com here.