Divorce Sale A terrible, terrible thought entered my mind this afternoon.
"You need a girlfriend," it said.
Whoa. What? STFU!!!11!
If anyone ever said that to me, I'd have to say something like "check yourself, before you wreck yourself." Because no one in their right mind -- check that -- no one that is comfortable with themselves says something like that.
But I did.
And I know why.
It has nothing to do with wanting to be loved or someshit. It has nothing to do with sex. It has nothing to do with wanting, after a long-ass shitty day, someone to rub your tense tired head and say "hey, it's all gonna be OK."
'Cuz really, at the end of the day, we all know that crap's bullshit. And cheap. Face it. On any given night you can go to some bar or some show or some party and someone will want to rub your head and tell you everything's OK til the cows come home.
And then the cows come home.
But still, that stupid, repulsive thought that entered my head? I couldn't disagree with it. You know why?
Because at the end of the day, I had no one to make a mixtape for.
This all came about because I found a cover of "In The Aeroplane Over the Sea" by some people called Deadboy and the Elephantmen.
I know nothing about said Deadboy or any Elephantmen. If they turn out to be some godforsaken hippie jam-band mushroom eaters, feel free to kill me. Who the fuck cares who they are? All I know is they did a great damn cover of a song I heart the fuck out of.
It's a slow cover. The original clocks in at a little over two minutes. This one pushes five.
The notion of cover-song-as-dirge is cliche and so fucking been-there-done-that-packed-a-lunch. But whatever. The track is a live one, and you can hear an audience's presence before Deadboy starts. But once he starts, they stop.
The lone guitar is baritone-heavy. He's playing only the bottom strings.
"What a beautiful face I have found in this place that is circling all around the sun".
Those are not sad words.
"What a beautiful dream that could flash on the screen in the blink of an eye and be gone from me".
Now those are sad words. Words that demand the music slow down.
This came to me as I was on my way to the laundromat. Dirty things in my bag, yearning to clean free. (*author's note. this may be the cheesiest thing I have ever written, that line.)
I passed a lightpole with a post on it that said "Divorce Sale! Shit's gotta go!"
That stuck with me. "Shit's gotta go!" That sounds funny, dontcha think? How can you be so flip and silly when you're liquidating a life you put so much time, effort, blood, love, and (non)-reproductive fluid into?
Which made me think of my own divorce for a minute. Not that we were married, mind you. But it's my only frame of reference. I remember being silly and sarcastic as I packed up the boxes. I enjoyed being self-referential in a "fuck! ha!" sort of way. Until all our shit was packed up and gone and all that was left of those well-intentioned intentions was, well, a mutually vacated apartment.
That's when shit had to go. And at that moment, I let it. And motherfucker, it went.
There's a point in the song where Deadboy, as I call him, forgets he's singing a cover. He's at the point where he's heard these words -- sung by another -- so many times that he forgets they're not his, because he's so used to living with them. They have become his own.
"Ahhhh how I remember you! How I would push my fingers through your mouth to make those muscles move to make your voice so smooth and sweet!"
There's a small shift that happens right there. It lasts a split second. You can hear him light that match that sets the Viking ship on fire, and the clack of his show against the bow as he kicks the mofo off to sea.
"But now we keep we where we don't know. All secrets sleep in winter clothes, with one you loved so long ago..."
"Now we don't even know his name."
He walks back to the car, shaking his head.
"Don't even know his name..."
Cuz shit's gotta go.
And this is what bugs me. I want you to hear this. I want this to be the first thing you hear in a gift I give to you. I want to show you why "Fake Palindromes" by Andrew Bird is the sexiest song ever written. I want you to jump like I did the first time I heard The Hold Steady. I want you to know why it's OK to cry when listening to Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner, only to cheer your way through the tears as it ends. Really, I do.
But I can't. I won't. Because I know that you'll never get it. Not like I do.