August 31, 2005

That Was Then, This Is Now

Category: Life — Cranky @

I remember being eighteen years old. One of the frustrating aspects of not having a couple decades under our belts is that people don’t give your opinions the weight they deserve. They second-guess your decisions. Your judgment is suspect.

It’s not fair. I was a thinking, rational human being, with enough brains to be able to contribute. An extra couple of decades wasn’t going to make me any more right. I was usually right already. And damn it, I was ready to be treated as an equal. Condescension was easily spotted, and served only to make me angry as well as frustrated.

Now, at the age of 35, I know that while my opinions and offerings should indeed have been treated with more respect, I wasn’t always as right as I thought I was. And often I was certain of things that with broader thought I would have realized I were fundamentally uncertain. I think growing up is the process of becoming less and less certain that we know anything for sure, and more and more aware of all of which we are ignorant.

Now I participate in online forums, and often much younger people are posting. It’s MY turn to be smug and condescending, and I’m gonna make full use of the opportunity! I know the answers to the problems plaguing those in their twenties. After all, I’ve lived through my twenties. They’re working from ignorance, whereas I am not.

But you know, now it’s those old folks nearing or past retirement. They look at me smugly, thinking they know something I don’t. What could they possibly have over me? It’s clear from my perspective that there’s nothing they could know that I can’t already see, even with thirty or forty years between us. It’s misplaced superiority, and it makes me… well, cranky.

And there is the fundamental problem.

You can teach math, because everybody accepts the fact that you have to be taught math to get good at it. But most people think they’re already good enough at life to be flying solo.

When I become a wizened weasel, putting my rats through a blender and worrying about my enlarged weasel prostate interfering with my weasel pee, I’ll be sitting pretty with a life of experience, sure that I know very little, and equally sure that younger people know even less. I might try to tell them. After all, I suspect the word “whippersnapper” is used for that very purpose.

But of course nobody will listen. After all, what could I know? I’ll just be an old weasel.

Cranky

August 29, 2005

I Got Dem Middle-Class White-Boy Blues

Category: Music — Cranky @

I don’t have a terrible job. I haven’t sold my soul to the company store. Despite carrying some debt at the present, my retirement is probably going to be pretty comfortable. To my knowledge, I’ve never been cheated on. Mind you, I’ve never had a really serious relationship, either. I drive a nice car. I lead a pretty happy life. Everything’s going just fine, thank you.

What could I possibly get the blues about?

I’m blue that I don’t get the blues, baby. I guess I’ve got them “stuck in a good place” blues.

I put on the rich tones of Ray Charles, Jimmy Reed, or Elmore James, and I get a solid connection. I’m a guitarist and I LOVE the blues. I throw on B.B. King Live at the Cook County Jail, grab my axe, and suddenly I’m an old black man at heart, hurt by life, and throwing my pain into music.

What the hell is a privileged white boy to do? Nobody’s gonna buy a blues album recorded by a white boy with no reason to be blue. I’d be a total fraud. Really, if I’m gonna be an emotionally honest artist, my background only qualifies me to write inch-deep boy-band tracks. Hell, I’ve never truly been in love. Close once…

Either I write music about working at a desk and keyboard all day, or about writing articles online that few people will ever read… or I just lie as an artist and write any music I like. That sounds okay to me actually. If I can fake the romance in lyrics, then I guess it doesn’t matter that I know less about it than the average teenager.

Hell, if I get paid for it, I’ll write about anything the purchaser wants. A job is a job!

Cranky

August 26, 2005

Celebrities

Category: General — Cranky @

Being a celebrity is tough business sometimes. You may be under scrutiny virtually every instant you are in public… and occasionally in private. Your relationships, your choices, virtually every aspect of your life becomes a matter of public record, and everything is picked over by fans and foes alike. Isn’t that unreasonable?

No, it isn’t.

Get used to it. We, the public, elevate you to a level of status and celebrity. It is on our whim alone that your glory rests. And you crave it. Those that do not crave it do not attain it, save through infamy rather than through fame.

Don’t whine about it like it’s a problem for poor little you. There are solutions. If you don’t want the celebrity, drop out of the life. If you don’t want the fame, don’t play the role.

If you still want to be involved, remember this, attention-seeker:

We own you.

That’s right, through our combined attention, both in terms of money and adoration, you have been purchased, lock, stock and barrel.

Dance, monkey… dance.

Cranky