Monday, January 23, 2012

Once in a Lifetime Starts Making Sense

It looks like the new internet piracy laws are stalled in Congress, and so the G:TB and other venerable institutions will have no legal recourse when sketchy organizations like Sports Illustrated and Grantland rip us off. We'll just have to remain one step ahead of them.

Last month, I dreamed up a feature called "Songs I Am Loath to Admit I Do Not Loathe," which is not only grammatically instructional but also loads of fun for the whole family.  Soon after, Grantland debuted their ersatz version, which they lamely subtitled "Revealing the Tunes We Hate to Love." What can you do? It's the Wild West out here. Instead of complaining, I am going to turn the tables on those plagiarist fuckers and write about a song that I actually love-- a song I have always loved-- but a song that only recently started making sense. I'm talking about The Talking Heads' song "Once In A Lifetime."



This is difficult, as I don't want to betray G:TB's masthead and shibboleth, and take myself too seriously. It's much easier, in my old age, to be ironic about pop music. I rarely get the same profound emotional response from music now that I got when I was a kid. Though your bands may have been different, you know what I mean; your emotions were the same. Music could take you to a different planet: Houses of the Holy and Dark Side of the Moon. It could get you wound up: AC/DC and The Cult. It could make you feel subversive: The Minutemen and Black Flag and Minor Threat. It could rock: Sound Garden and Jane's Addiction and Alice in Chains. It could groove: The Clash and INXS and The Jam. And it could make you feel hip: Paul's Boutique and Public Enemy.

But as I got older, it got harder and harder for music to penetrate my consciousness. After college, I started getting into jazz and classical music, and my pop music taste tended towards the ironic psychedelia of Ween. And The Talking Heads. After a frenetic day of teaching math to emotionally disturbed kids, I would unwind by playing Road Rash on the Sega Genesis (I conquered that game, defeated every level, got all the way to the secret "cop level" . . . and the end of the game was so disappointing that I never played video games again). And while I whipped other motorcyclists with chains, beat them with clubs, or whacked them with nunchaku, I would simultaneously listen to either Ween's The Pod, or The Talking Heads.


These days I constantly need new and different music to even pique my interest-- obscure funk and baroque instrumental, Afro-Cuban jazz and underground albino hip-hop (thanks Mark!), mashed up masterpieces by The Hood Internet and Girl Talk. But there are a few of the old bands that still do it for me. While it's hard for me to go back to the days of "Fire Woman," I can still throw on London Calling or Exile on Main Street. And I can still listen to The Talking Heads.

And so I was listening to "Once In A Lifetime" last week and it really hit home. I am lucky enough to say that David Byrne's opening monologue literally applies to my life.

I have found myself living in another part of the world.
I have found myself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife.
And I have asked myself: well . . . how did I get here?

I am sure there are people that have never asked themselves, "How did I get here?" I am sure there are people who imagine this is how it should go down: nice house, cute wife, big car, but not me. I am always thinking: "This is not my beautiful house . . . this is not my beautiful wife . . . how did I get here?"  I have traveled the world. My wife is charming, slender, and attractive. I slice peppers on a granite counter-top in a remodeled kitchen. I have blonde kids. Blonde kids? I am swarthy. And hairy. My friend Melanie once said: "it looks like you stole your children."

I often feel as if I'm having an outer body experience, I'm at the pool, chatting with other moms and dads, my kids swimming around, and I can't believe it. It's like I've infiltrated a secret club. I feel as if I deserve none of this. I appear normal, successful. House, job, wife, etc. I go to dinner parties. How? And I wonder: "Is everyone else winging it? Is everyone else an idiot like me?" Igor gives his weekly report in the comments: he's working his ass off, attending fundraisers, finding employment for disabled folks. How did this happen?

In a week's time, we are getting a dog. A DOG. I love dogs, but it seems like another piece in this bizarre puzzle; now I'll be walking through the park with my two blonde kids and a dog and people will think I'm normal. They will have no knowledge of my actual record with pets, which includes losing a lizard for several months in the dorm room I shared with Rob; having to euthanize another pet lizard of mine because a friend's lizard paralyzed my lizard-- and my euthanization was more cruel than the paralysis-- as I unsuccessfully tried to drown the lizard (iguanas can hold their breath a long time!) and then gas him with with exhaust from my car (my hand starting burning before the lizard croaked) and then finally (and successfully) put him down with a large board. I lost a ghetto conure out an open window. I inadvertently and unknowingly kicked the plug out and froze a monitor lizard to death. I kept a pet box turtle in a house with eight other guys, a box turtle that was allowed to roam loose on the second floor, and would occasionally stumble over the foot of the stairs and clunk down them like a bowling ball. No one will know this when they see me walking my dog.



Getting a dog is even weirder than having children because getting a dog is so premeditated. You have a family meeting and everyone agrees that they want a dog and everyone agrees they will help care for the dog . . . even though you know it's bullshit, and that the kids will love the dog and play with the dog, but rarely care for it. This isn't like having children. Having children you have a different sort of "meeting," and there's not much talk of responsibility-- the meeting is quite fun, in fact, and then nine months later you wonder: "How did I get here? And how did he get here?" But with the dog, you choose to get there, and that's where I am. Living in the song.

And sometimes I think "MY GOD! WHAT HAVE I DONE!"

That's why I'm still driving my 1993 Jeep Cherokee. I've been shopping for a "large automobile" for four years or so-- we've saved the money, done the research, gotten quotes, talked to dealers-- but I can't pull the trigger. I can't add a mini-van to this equation as well. But I will. Things will become even more absurd. This Honda commercial is geared for me and people like me-- people who can't believe they are in the market for a mini-van. It's a brilliant commercial, as it both satirizes the desire and also makes it seem okay. But I'm smarter than an advertising campaign. Right?



My two blonde kids and dog will pile out of the mini-van, and I'll look at the situation and think: "Where does that highway go?" Is this really the life for me? Maybe I should drive my mini-van off the grid. Maybe I should be in a motorcycle gang or bumming around on the beaches of Thailand or helping refugees in Haiti or working as a fishing guide on the Mississippi. But David Byrne reminds us that none of this was actually in our hands to begin with, that we'll go "into the blue again once the money's gone."

It's the "same as it ever was." And so I will let the days go by, and try not to think about how weird everything is. And consider myself incredibly lucky that my life is like "Once in a Lifetime" and not this Talking Heads tune . . .



Talking Heads
Once in a Lifetime (1984)
Once In A Lifetime


And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack,
And you may find yourself in another part of the world,
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile,
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife,
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...

Water dissolving...and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Carry the water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
MY GOD!...WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...

48 comments:

zman said...

So this post is about getting a minivan?

Dave said...

in the end, i guess it is. although i think i'm going with the toyota rather than the honda . . . ridiculous.

Danimal said...

dave - i must hear the reasoning behind toyota over honda...the danimals will be purchasing shortly. leaning towards the honda.

Mark said...

Wife and I our proud parents of a new daughter. Maple Mazzella Nolle Hughes. She arrived at 1:52 am.

Igor said...

Mark! Congrats. Enjoy...

zman said...

Congratulations! Sleep when you can. I hope everyone is doing well.

KQ said...

Congrats Mark! The next 12 years are going to be great.

KQ said...

oh, and we had the Dodge Grand Caravan for years. Loved it. Come to the dark side.

rob said...

many thanks to dave for putting words to my perspective on life. i'm a reasonably successful businessman with an attractive wife, two charismatic and healthy kids, a nice home, and no fucking clue how any of this happened nor what to do next.

huge congratulations to mark and his wife, and welcome to trying to figure out what the hell you got yourself into.

Danimal said...

Was just comimg on here to ask if Mark might be one step closer to thinking minivan. And there ya have it....congrats Mark. Cool name. (Maple, not Mark)

Squeaky said...

Congrats, Mark. Enjoy the ride.

Marls said...

Congrats Mark. Please don't complain as much a zman.

Dave said...

congrats mark! buy a mini-van! i drove the toyota and it was fien for me, it's a bit cheaper than the honda and you get more features.

how is the caravan? i heard they break a lot . . .

TR said...

Congrats Mark. And welcome to the bummingdome.

I hear Dodge Caravans have a propensity for hitting full-grown does at midnight on rural Virginia highways. At least that's what hapless to mine.

Donna said...

First, Congrats to Mark...new baby is wonderful news! And indeed, an excellent name.

To those of you buying...Dodge Grand Caravan, significantly cheaper than the Toyota and Honda...especially when looking at extras/upgrades. Ours is super. For re-sale, not so much...but if you think you're goin' keep it for a decade or two, and need to save money, might be good way to go. Ours hasn't hit any does yet...we'll see I guess.

And as Dave's family is, Rob, so should y'all--get a dog.
We did last week...black lab named Dobby.

Dave said...

weird-- we're adopting a half lab/visla named "sirius" as in "sirius black." lot of harry potter themed dogs out there, i guess . ..

perhaps i will entertain buying american, if it's going to be cheaper . . .

Squeaky said...

Dave, all those mini-vans are pretty much made in america now regardless of brand.

I say buy a wagon with all wheel drive. You only have two kids and dogs travel great on the back or top of cars. Just ask Clark.

Danimal said...

"a decade or two"? yeah, not this kid. my wife is the only thing i'd consider keeping for a decade or two and that's questionable. (i love you honey)

Igor said...

Danimal isn't much on hanging onto personal possessions for very long. Ask him about his Warren Spahn baseball.

KQ said...

ok awful lotta talk about minivans around here. i know i didn't help matters any but this is not the GTB i've come to know and love. can someone please start talking about boobs or something?

rob said...

are you implying that minivans aren't sexy? my shaggin' wagon will not be happy to hear this.

Mark said...

I've seen my wife's boobs a lot in the past 18 hours. Happy KQ?

Danimal said...

boobs are cool.

Squeaky said...

I was hoping we'd move to strollers or baby bjorns next.

Danimal said...

dagger igor. every time i watch Pawn Stars i think of my old Spahn baseball. jackass.

mayhugh said...

Mark - good work.

As one of the childless, I am curious as to what advantages a minivan presents over, say, an SUV or a sedan? Is this driven largely by money-saving considerations or do all of you people have 4 children a piece? Or do all minivans come with complementary coloring books, juice boxes, and ziploc bags full of cheerios?

Jerry said...

Not related to Sparky's kid:

From yesterday's broadcast, possibly the worst ngs commentary moment outside of a golf tournament:

"David Diehl knew he was going to have his hands full trying to block up Eli Manning's back side."

Sparky, Congrats on young Sparki.

zman said...

It looks like jackson pollack used every toilet in the men's room.

Danimal said...

oh mayhugh. i too used to ask the same very question. if a 3rd child wasn't in the equation we'd probably stick with an suv or even a wagon. for us it's about the 3rd row and the doors. it's all about the automatic sliding doors these days. and ball bearings. easy to get in and out of. but for the record, mrs. danimal will be driving minivan and mr. danimal an suv.

Igor said...

I concur with Danimal's metrics -- two kids, get a Toyota Highlander or the like. Car-ish minivan-ish SUV. Three or more kids (or if you're our friend Buck, five kids), I suppose the minivan becomes more useful.

My current living situation is Brady Bunchesque, so there are 4 chilluns in the mix. We have a massive GMC Yukon that fits us all and isn't as dorky as a minivan. The environment draws the short straw on that one, of course.

Igor said...

But, in order to please KQ with something boob-ish, here's a question. Any of you minivan owners ever gotten in on in the van? 3rd row? Seems roomy enough, and most are equipped with a DVD player if you want to add a little spice with some porn.

Danimal said...

do you mean WITH someone or more like the scene in Hall Pass?
no to both - just helping clarify for others.

zman said...

No family car is more practical than a minivan. Except for my father's old Toyota Previa, which was rear-wheel-drive and thus completely useless in snow. The problem, of course, is that minivans are also the goofiest class of vehicle on the road.

zman said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaBDA9Gj-C8

Igor said...

Grantland just posted a piece comparing the author's life these days to the lyrics of "Road to Nowhere."

Dave said...

don't even fool around with stuff like that.

we have a subaru wagon, and for beach and ski vacations it does not hold what we bring. my mother-in-law also lives with us and she has to squeeze in and then, of course, there will be the dog-- and we want to do a cross country trip and visit some friends and nothing seems as convenient as those sliding doors and the low frame. but i'm open to other cars .. .

rob said...

i just noticed the use of shibboleth in this post. excellent word, and fun to say to boot. not as fun as 'boobs', mind you.

mini-wrenball update: tribe hosts red-hot drexel tonight at 7. the dragons, conference pre-season favorites, have won 6 in a row. the wrens, meanwhile, have dropped back to back ball punches, losing in overtime to vcu, and falling by 2 to wilmington on the strength of 4 missed second-half layups. man, are we overdue, and man, is it not happening to tonight.

rob said...

nope, not tonight

T.J. said...

Congrats, Mark, on the dawn of the BadNewsDad Era.

Squeaky said...

Dave, I've seen all the stuff you back in your beach cars. If they still made them, I'd say get a Dodge Sprinter. Goofy looking but tons of room and originally made my MB.

rob said...

anyone have a squeaky to english translator?

zman said...

Squeaky suggests that Dave investigate the Dodge Sprinter, a particularly odd-looking minivan built by Mercedes-Benz that reached these shores through M-B's brief union with Chrysler.

Danimal said...

is teejus going to be the new coach of the wiz?

Dave said...

the dodge sprinter is quite expensive, and really hideous looking. why i am investigating this mini-van?

zman said...

You should get a Pontiac Aztek.

Danimal said...

can one of you hoopsters fill me in on why the dukes suck as they do? weren't they supposed to be in the "respectable" category? what's the dillio?

jerome said...

For every retarded story teacher I hear I take comfort in knowing somebody like Dave is going to be inspiring my kids.

Squeaky said...

Jerome, you may have missed the SOD entry on showering near the swimming pool incident. Can't find the link for the life of me. TJ ... help me out.