Thursday, June 06, 2013

What Can I Tell You?

State of the Apocalypse, Stardate Six-Six-Thirteen

I’d wanted to post something on the first of the month, start a proper chain. I would have begun by noting the celebratory feel to the day, how it did my bitter old peach-pit heart good to see the laughing, hooting teenage boys and girls throwing a football among each other at Frontier Park. I would have described the chill undertone to the air, how it seemed more like early October than June. (But, hey, brace yourselves! Summer will be over before you know it!) 

For a delirious instant, I considered opening a blog post every day the way old English journals used to do, with a local weather report. Maybe that would get the ol’ juices going.


The day after, Sunday 2 June, I got word that my Aunt Margie had died. At 82 she’d lived a fuller life than most. Still her passing hit me hard. Aunt Margie represented the better part of Things Long Past in my life: gatherings with the cousins of my adoptive family, summers at the beach, big extended family dinners. That brief, happy period when my parents were still alive and my step-dad’s various psychoses were largely under control. When Aunt Margie and Uncle Joe would come to visit they would sit at the living room table smoking cigarettes and pouring wine throughout long nights of loud talk and laughter. Even if my childhood wasn’t the most salubrious and my parents largely grossly incompetent in their parenting, good times were had, and Aunt Margie was a part of them. She gave birth to two of the finest, most unique men I’ve ever had the privilege to know, and that’s another book altogether.

For several thousand words before I deleted the post I rhapsodized about all this and my own guilt for not staying in touch, my own part in the accelerated social entropy that transformed a vibrant extended family into an atomized spread of people related to each other, but with nothing much to say. Not out of hostility. Our parents, our aunts and uncles were another people who belonged to another time. We are not those people and this is not that time. This is the way things are. If you want to change them, then step up and take your shot!

Which I won’t. And let’s stop this train of thought right here. It’s annoying when other people write this rot. As much as I hope to have tempered my feelings enough to get things down on the record in a proper book, this isn’t the time. And I’m not that person. If ever — and so long as I’m working towards taking this sad song and making it better, so what?

I’d hoped to wind this up and post it last night but my son came down to my basement office with his guitar. Ostensibly he was looking for guidance on barre chords, which he’s just picked up on. Mostly he was just bored and looking to hang out. I was irritated at first—I haven’t done dick all day on my Dead Silencer project—but after a while I loosened up as we went through my music library for examples of the barre chord in action.

For the next couple of hours I had no worries about the blog. I didn’t sweat how everything is not just going to shit but is very much there already, only getting worse. We worked the transition from F major to minor to C in David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and goofed around with Bob Dylan and Neil Young before settling in to watch a brace of videos on how to play “Mean Street” and “Unchained” from Van Halen’s Fair Warning.

So it all works out. Like Voltaire’s Candide at the end of his book I’ve realized — again — it’s really about tending your own garden. That’s what I’ll do then. I’ll post when I post. Here’s hoping you’re out of the weather and feeling fine. See you next time.

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” This young lady is doing both.
And now the lesson is yours.