“I’m the Good Things”

2021 has been a pretty interesting and eventful year for me. If anything, on an overarching level, I’d say the one centralizing message is that I’m getting older and changing. And maybe this is the case every year. But I’ve just found so many little pillars of reminder that I’m getting older and I need to adjust, this year. Like, I got an OWI and got my license suspended so I tried to ride my bike the 12 miles to work. I swear to God, I was dead tired after like one mile. As recently as five years ago, I would have been able to do it, fine, without question.

But it seems like when you get older people expect more out of you. They expect more out of you and they also expect less out of you, which is to say, they expect you to use less of your ego, to exhibit less of a sense of entitlement to everything. This is a very ironic feeling, in a way, since the older you are, the equally more knowledgeable you are. But perhaps part of the cliched sense of “character” is just that yielding of the ego, that ability to put your own selfish motives aside for the benefit of the greater good, or the greater passable, if you will. I mean, not every day has to be all good, I guess.

In terms of music, then, it’s been another gluttonous year of feasting on reams and reams of classic new stuff, if you can believe me. This has been the case, once again, to the point where I’m usually extremely busy, as I’ve been with work, at least during the summer months. 

I’ve been living in this house with a roommate. When I moved in, in April, there was a different roommate living next to me, and soon after this old couple from California settled in for a couple months while their RV is fixed (my location is a couple miles south of South Bend, Indiana). Now, they’re both moved out, and this other dude is in, about 40, a couple years older than me, originally from Pennsylvania but then bound to Tuscon, Arizona, for high school and adult life, now settled outside of South Bend, for some unknown reason. If you’re wondering about me, I’m down here because rent is actually through the roof right now in South Bend, partly because of all the bozo “restoration” projects by Mayor Pete Buttegeig (he didn’t go to a public high school here and fully acted like such is the case with his allocations of funding), and partly because South Bend is a cesspool of murder, rape, armed robbery and crack usage. I mean, it’s not any worse than, like, Cleveland, Detroit or Gary. In fact, it’s not as bad. But it’s on the continuum. And I’m in this paradox because I’m from here, kind of want to move, kind of like Columbus, Ohio but I’m a Michigan fan. 

Anyway, to get to my point, my roommate I think is struggling a little bit. He seems to almost never have a job, although I think today finally he’s venturing out into some sort of workplace, or another. Every Sunday, from dawn ’til dusk, his TV is on, with NFL football or NFL football analysis. I don’t get people who watch the NFL. They’re like people who still believe in Santa Clause, to me. I watched the Patriots “come back” from down 28-3 in that Super Bowl, on that national stage, with Julian Edelmen magically dropping all those balls right to him and then catching all of them during the comeback, and lost a lot of my faith in it right there. There have been games this year too I know were obviously rigged. I might revisit it next year but for this year I’m officially done. 

Just this morning, anyway, I was listening to what my roommate had going on in his room. He was listening to a tape on depression, actually. I was glad to see him, then, walk out of his room and have something to do, as he dipped by me while I was shaving (we have this evil sink-out-in-the lobby thing going on here). Today is another opportunity for him to get out in the world and grow a little bit and let’s hope he takes the chance and does it.

For my part, I think, I got caught off guard by moving back to the Midwest, not getting any opportunities to do anything I was good at, being around girls in yoga pants, and maybe putting some questionable, especially cathartic things on my blog while I was working this job I really hated. But that was around this exact time of year, so this phenomenon is really poignant for me right now.

They say nobody can help you out with this type of thing. That’s wrong. I can easily help Chris out and I think I did by being courteous with him today. They also say you’re not alone. That’s also a lie. The great Rainer Maria Rilke was correct when he said something along the lines of us all being functionally, profoundly alone in this life. 

But it can be fixed. And when I think of the things that have pulled me out of depression in life (I’m doing great now, partly because of the job I’ve finally lucked into and partly I think because of the removal of certain toxic forces from my life), music, if not the sole catalyst behind my improvement, at least stands as something semantically sound, or whose heart is in the right place. I have this painting on my Facebook I did kind of as a joke that says “God is dead / Drink Mountain Dew”. I mean, it’s supposed to be light-hearted. It’s supposed to be a work of art. And it’s also, I guess, implicitly, perhaps meant to remind people that you can change, or improve, your situation by having a sense of humor about things. In fact, I’d say it’s completely vital to a happy life, particularly after your initial luck runs out and things get a little harder. This being said, I am a pantheist, not an atheist, and I believe that an element of God runs through me, as I’m writing this, while I’m at work or whenever, it runs through all other living beings as well as objects in the spatial realm of the universe, and it even runs through all sound, too. And it’s overwhelming to think of all this divinity, sure, but it could easily be replaced by animalism, if you come across, say, a sea of people to all of whom you’re sexually attracted (highly unlikely anywhere other than the Playboy mansion, maybe). Or it could be replaced by just a crushing humility and self-loathing in the case of encountering a sea of people all of whom have what you might dub an ingenuous physiognomy, or something along those lines, and all of whom make you initiate an element of soul searching, as a way of becoming more humble, more approachable, more assimilated to the general mass, more attractive, or whatever the case may be. Why shouldn’t everything be divine? But I guess music is kind of like my religion. I’ve got this sea of feeling, of meaning, that runs through me, and I perceive it as running through the world, too. It involves listening to a great band like Modest Mouse, or Ween, or the Badfinger songs that Paul McCartney wrote — music that’s really freeing, whose meaning is evident and obvious, on a gut level, with just a couple phrases. The bands that have touched me the most strongly have been those, I think, to deliver their thoughts and feelings and be the most uninhibited in how they do this. In turn, then, I believe this positive phenomenon to correspond with a preemptive condition of desperation, or at least of NEED for this type of expression, as a way of connecting with the entire world. So God is something that pries itself out from under the car that’s crushing it by way of something that’s valuable for everyone. What could be the greater holiday story than that? Cheers, from the blogosphere. 


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