“Break Your Heart” by Barenaked Ladies

GrouchoThis is the sixth in my “With Music” series, where I look back at some point in my life and a song that had an impact on me. The other entries included (with links to the posts) Ben Folds Five, Sheryl Crow, Beth Orton, Dean Martin, and The Verve.

I have always wished that I was smooth. There are many things I am in this world, and smooth is not one of them. Even today, when I try to say something like right out of a romantic movie my wife will roll her eyes. I just can’t pull it off.

The fact is before I was happily married, I was worse. I was a dating disaster with a smile. I was just a fast-talking, highly-judgmental and awkward disaster. I could be charming from time to time, sure (we all have our moments), but I could also be very frustrating. And, typically, if I could tell where the “story” was going in the relationship, I was already looking for the next thing.

In a way, I blame books.

They make love seem so complete, don’t they? A person falls in love, gets in a strong relationship and the story might as well end there, right? Life is complete! Now where is the epilogue?

So the problem with me in the single days is I would get bored, especially if a relationship got predictable. I liked to be surprised, feel like I was part of something outside the ordinary. I was the weird conundrum of wanting something stable but something crazy as well.

You know what the biggest turnoff for me was back in those old single days? Actually, liking me. I was the dating equivalent of that quote from Groucho Marx. You know the one: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.” Well, that was me in dating. And when you are continuously seeking out people not interested in you, there is no possibility of happiness for anyone.

This is not a story about an embarrassing moment. This is a story about when I realized I wanted the embarrassing moments to end and the song that got me there. Continue reading

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Five Things I Am Into Right Now, July 2013

Happy SunI’m not going to write about Star Trek and Doctor Who.

No I am serious. I am not. Frankly, I have written enough about those two shows. And even though I am happily watching a Doctor Who episode each night with my wife (which I wrote about here) and rediscovering Star Trek from the 90’s (which I discussed in these two pieces- here and here). The fact is I have said enough.

A blog needs to move forward, I need to move forward…

But what the heck am I also into right now when I am not at the beach with the family, getting sun burned, or avoiding lawn work?

Think, Southard, think! Continue reading

The 1996 version of me is alive and well, thank you very much

10520_1168666669474_4075184_nIn 1996, I was about to graduate from college and with diploma in hand I was preparing to take on the world. Oh, I had so many plans in play!

First, I was going to disappear, six week or so, into Europe, solo. Then I was going to apply for graduate schools around the country. I wanted to study literature while focusing on my writing (the end game being either I make it successfully as a writer or I end up as a Ph.D. in English Literature). I could see it all in front of me, so solid I could have touched it.

The strange thing is that this year is I seem to be having a lot of flashbacks to that me, that time in my life. It’s like I can’t escape that guy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that version of me. Yeah, he could be a little too over the top in his sarcasm and his opinion of himself, but he was still me.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly where this began. The obvious answer is my high school reunion last year,  But to be honest, that really didn’t hit me that hard, I would have rather just spent the weekend someplace with some of my friends than take part in what felt like an awkward reunion special for a TV show.

Maybe it could have also been the death of our first Beastie Boy last year? From the first time, I heard the Beastie Boys, they represented something for me and my friends. We didn’t listen to them all the time, but when we did it was because of a certain mood or a certain feeling about being young dudes we wanted to capture. And now MCA is gone, so when I listen to the music now (which is a lot) it feels like unbottled memories, and the energy is a shadow. A great shadow, granted, but a shadow nonetheless.

Or maybe this is all just related to the fact I turn forty this year. The possible halfway mark. The turned corner. The end of youth. A whole new smack of drama I had not considered before. It’s like in politics when a president starts their second term and the newspapers start talking about how the president needs to think about legacy.

That’s me… I guess I am on legacy time now. Continue reading