30 Oct

Once in a while riding in the car with my father this song played on ABC radio. I always liked it but at the age of shallow love and unkept promise how can one understand it in the heart? If my dad liked it, hated it, I’d never know. The old man always kept the poker face well and thru some episodes that would break a normal person. He had to die before I really discovered his music, before that connection could be made.

How sad this fundamental opportunity cost. Did he ever ponder the loss? Again I know nothing. I have pondered the loss and often. If nothing else when I have children, if I do, I’ll benefit from the lesson. And so will they. If they are musical, as they must be for I would never create life with a woman without music in her heart, they will know how the old man danced.

Reproduce? Hell I don’t think I could spend a cold night with a girl that couldn’t boogie somehow. What passion can come from a womb that can’t dance? What love could possibly beam forth from the humourless eyes of one who has never been moved by melody? Such people have never known a night that’s belonged to lovers. How can one bring new life into this fucked-up place without the music to get them thru? What comfort will they get at the edge of sleep on the close of a traumatic day if they can’t understand the tune beneath the words: they can’t hurt you now?

This week I have remembered long forgotten things. Scenarios, personalities, deep cuts and ecstatic oblivion. There was much pain way back when and the old man wasn’t much help. I don’t blame him. Whenever I befriend a Scottish person I tell ’em me Da’s frame Scaw’lund, Glas’gee. They express condolences. Well it’s ain’t all bad. The bills were always paid on time. 🙂

But I don’t blame him. Growing up he had it tough in a way that’s purely of historical interest now. I’ve never known it thanks in no small part to him. I imagine it makes you hard-boiled somewhat. And who says endless sympathy for every little scratch is good for you. I’ve been regurgitating my teen angst bullshit days and find that whatever the nasty scars it doesn’t hurt anymore. Wisdom is gained when you realize you know in your heart the lugubrious sub-text of “Those Were the Days”. That it’s a brief moment only; you think you’re invincible and the dreams that are born then oxidize in the years to come. Denied or fulfilled, no matter. They will rust. It’s the way of all flesh.

What dreams the old man had he kept to himself. He never volunteered anything about his past, he never told us of his childhood, of the years before he met my mother. I’d wager that in Scots Presbyterea dreams are regarded as dangerous. Demons to be exterminated perhaps. The ethos was well drummed into you: what is real is hard. Will I, dealing with my own son, my daughter, unconsciously pass on this stern ethos? Will I drive them too far in the other direction? Who knows how much your ancestry produces you. The extent to which we are all mere puppets on strings has long been argued in the Agora without resolution. Once upon a time I believed that a revolution would sweep the cruel world away leaving something beautiful growing on the ashes. Now I know that everything originates in its opposite. The problem, at this point in history, is to keep things from getting worse.

I still believe in getting better thru the generations. I gave up on the Grand March when I read Kundera and Nietzsche. It’s not a grand march, the Bhudda was right. It’s a walk on a razor’s edge and everyone of us makes our way alone. A baton gets passed from father to son. From the mother always. It’s not simple. You can try; bring the kids up to fight the revolution and they go work for Goldman Sachs. Kids. You can’t choose what you get.

What better world comes of indoctrination? Who are you to determine what others believe? Your job is to prepare them for life. Teach them to master themselves and you’ve done the job. Give them music and laughter and they’re blessed. Everything else is their’s as your life was yours. They have their very own teen angst bullshit. It belongs to them.


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