Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Feel Good -- You Should Too (From 2006)

(Editor's Note: I really don't feel that good today. I felt better after I read this)
(Author's Note: The boat was dismasted and made a total loss by Hurricane Katrina. Anyone that doesn't think that was a pretty big storm should keep in mind the boat was moored in Massachusetts. There is no editor, and there is no boat, and I'm hitting my thumb all day. My point stands:)

The world is a wonderful place. It's hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes, and the fellow weaving in the next lane jabbering into his cell phone while eating a submarine sandwich and occasionally nosemining can distract us, no doubt. Many things intrude. But sometimes, if you're available for wonderment, you can have a moment of clarity.

On the ocean is a place for moments of clarity. You cannot be in a motorized anything, unless the motor is turned off, because you're just a commuter if the engine is running. Sailing's better; contemplative.

You can't sail like the kind of people who always want to tug on the lines to get an additional half a knot out of their breeze bucket. You need the kind of sailing where you set the sails, fix your course to nowhere to allow the fewest interruptions, then lay your leg over the tiller, trail your hand in the water, and consider your situation. Coronas with limes never hurt, either.

You have nowhere to go, and nowhere to be, and after the second time you take them, your sailing companions must lose the urge to talk about the process of sailing in an enthusiastic fashion and simply enjoy it, and the company. With the sky arrayed overhead, and the sea below, you are content to examine the world dispassionately. The beauty and simplicity of the clouds that drift, the terns that swoop, the wavelets that tap their gentle knuckles on the windward side, the feeling of motion snatched without struggle from the endless breezes that massage your cheek and sail alike allow you to enjoy the world and all its wonders, and everybody in it, if just for a moment.

That's a complicated and unusual apparatus to distill the elixir of life, ain't it? We need to find ways, every day, to get the simple flavor of the sublime, in an espresso dose -- short, fast, concentrated; ephemeral but available.

Two minutes of pop music can do it for you. It has to be good. It can't be serious. Serious pop music is an oxymoron. You're not saving the world, Bono, you're just a preening middle aged man in a ridiculous getup who's first job is to entertain, but you never got around to learning how. I'll raise my hand when you're Woody Guthrie. Don't hold your breath. On second thought -- do.

My bad. We're filled with love for our fellow man today. Our fellow Irishman too, last paragraph notwithstanding. Maybe's he's trying hard but failing. I'll leave him be. You too, if he makes you smile.

It's not supposed to sound like you're trying hard, even if you are. Try hard in rehearsal. It's generally best when it's a melody that sounds about fine whether played by a chamber orchestra, a busker, or a chicken pecking it out on a toy piano. The lyric is generally best about as complex as a nursery rhyme, a little obscure maybe, but with a hint of the recognition of the sublime percolating in the background, and hints of the whole daft fabric of shared human experience like a breeze blowing over your face.

It should be over in one minute fifty eight seconds, and comprise one third of your quarter's worth of selections in the DiMeglio's Pizza jukebox in 1968, too.


MSL said...

"It's not supposed to sound like you're trying hard, even if you are". Amen brother.
My late father, an amateur country musician, would comment to me upon hearing guitarist Roy Clark that he "looked like he was "having hairs tweezed out of his back" while playing". While talented, his music had a certain white knuckle quality that could cause teeth grinding in the listener. "Chet Atkins plays music son" he would say. It's the other way 'round with the other guy.

Janet said...

Two minutes, twelve seconds. Oops. ;o)

DBC Reed said...

Did n't Roy Clark record the rockabilly classic "Please Mr Mayor (don't ban rock and roll)"? He surely did n't try too hard on this one as the riffing is done by saxophones .Good guitar solo though.