Life gets interesting when you least expect it. Perhaps you encounter someone that has had a bad day at the grocery store and the slightest comment will make the biggest impact. Perhaps you’ll be at work and someone will call on you to answer a weird question and although its a bizzarre one, you answer it anyways to appease the person. Or hell…it could be as simple as taking your garbage out.
Lucky enough for me, I’ve experienced all of these in the past week. The phone call was a bit boring, although, asking for something that’s actually illegal was amusing, I felt I did her a favor in her that she couldn’t find it at Lowe’s. As a matter of fact, there have been a few phone calls that warrant another “post”, but I’ll save those for another day. I want to focus on taking the garbage out.
Put yourself in my shoes, you’re taking out the garbage, you have a sack full of stinky shit that needs to be gone, and of course, it’s about 99 degrees out, so it makes it even more stinky than is necessary. Me, being the sort of person I am, I threw the bag in the floorboard of my faithful, trusty Honda, and drove the whole 50 feet up to where the dumpster is. I could have walked it up, I could have spared the gas, but at the same time it was about that time of the day that the sun was sinking low on the horizon and cruising was at the apex of the day.
The sky was dotted with pink and grey, it was a bit odd, but at the same time, I was more focused on throwing away garbage, not noticing that there was a congregation of people around the dumpster (which, well, you never really expect).
Pulling up to the dumpster, I had windows down and the tunes pumped, oddly, the song “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum was playing. If you’re unaware of the song, that’s pretty acceptable, honestly, if you DO know it, you’re probably either over 60 years old OR a nerd like me. It was important to me though, that song, that damn tune, that jam, it resonates everything that I hold dear.
To make a long story short, I’ve been very close to people who have lost people very close to them. Although I never felt that closeness, I have felt the pain. I’ve only lost one person that really made an impact on me, and through the last year, seeing my loved ones losing people really made me sit back and reflect on what life is all about. The song “Spirit in the Sky”…(as corny as it is), gives almost a fist pump to the sky to those that bow out gracefully. That damn song was playing as I was dumping garbage…it seemed almost unholy, until it was noticed.
“Hey, what is that that’s playing on your radio.”
An akward question as you’re throwing stuff in the dumpster.
“Norman….” and the conversation continued, until it was determined that I know more about the rock and roll stars from the early sixties than the people that actually lived through that. Explaining Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and the complexity of Cream and Blind Faith found me scratching my head. Why the hell did I know this stuff? Why didn’t these gentlemen that acutally lived through that time span know anything of it?
That groovy version of “wooden ships”, and the infectious version of “Helpless”….the parallels, I’m stuck in some sort of hippy music scene and other people my age have been absorbed in stuff like the Spice Girls….Dead to me, I dive back in to my tunes.
Why, I ask, does music make such an impact on a person. As much as I’ve studied how the brain works and what makes people tick, I can’t for the life of me understand why my music has been stuck in the late sixties? Is the groove that much better, does it have more meaning? Stories through songs, like the Neil Young song Helpless….Sometimes there isn’t a was to tell people you’re pain except through a cryptic song. (please note, I write no songs, I have no cryptic message)
“And in my mind, I still need a place to go
All my changes were there”
What are you waiting for? Make the change..or at least plan to make a change. Make a plan, work the plan. We aren’t helpless. As haunting and catchy as that song is, none of us are helpless.
We have to help ourselves before we help others.