On the fourth day of Gheorghemas, Big Gheorghe gave to me
Four Random Thoughts
Three Punk Rock Playlists
Two Digits Throughout History
And the debut of Mac McFis-ty
I get to follow Clarence's opuses (opi?). Sweet. No way my effort comes across as half-assed after his anthology of punk. But let's plow ahead, shall we? I have four random thoughts I want to share. Some are long, some are profound, some are sophomoric. You get the drill by this point. This is TR you're reading, after all.
Thought 1: 2016 was a year of ups and downs, but was also a year that brought me three weeks of bliss.
2016 was the first calendar year in a long, long time for my wife and I that we did not have to deal with a parent that was severely ill or passed away. Our family is now, sadly, much much smaller and it's still heartbreaking to acknowledge that. 2016 was also a year with one big suckfest of a job loss for me. It was an odd, protracted affair with a company slowly and visibly combusting in front of me, where I needed to formally be fired to extract the maximum amount of nickels from my employer. So yeah, that kinda sucked.
But you know what didn't suck? Getting lucky and landing a new gig as the old one smoldered away. By July 4th, I had inked a new contract. That left me three weeks of staycation time with the family. Since we had already committed to a family vacation in August, and since the kids were committed to camps, I just kinda hung out. I did a bunch of AM hot yoga, I chatted up the moms at the pool club during the day, I watched Zman's kids chillax in the baby pool of said club. I cranked Lionel Richie with my kids in the afternoon. The weather was mostly perfect during that stretch too. It made me long to not have to work, assuming the weather could perpetually be 80 degrees. Making lemons out of lemonade was a real joy in 2016. And yes, I want to move to San Diego.
Thought 2: I found some great old and new tunes to dig into this year. I've said this here before, but there is no rhyme or reason to when I encounter new music. And by "new", I mean something I haven't listened to a lot yet.
Here's one example, from a YouTube mix I made to signify the decay of my old job. I cranked it almost every day for a few weeks in my office while strategizing about how to best pillage the supply closet for my personal gain. It comes from a nearly 20 year-old Dylan album that I own on CD, but I needed some real life experience to absorb the profundity of the song. This is a song that you almost have to be "olidish" to fully absorb:
Here's another one I may have referred to in a post before that gains poignancy as I age. While I like Bruce's original (even if he is a hack), the tragedy of The Band adds extra meaning to this tune. My wife and I had an epic night many years ago watching The Last Waltz, and she decided (very late in the night) that she loved Rick Danko. I was cool with that because, um, because he was no longer living.
We swore that night to name the first dog we would buy Danko. We have yet to buy a dog, and I might overrule her to name our first dog Dave Winfield. But The Band, and their bassist, remain epic. Everything dies baby, that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back.
And here's one last one because we all need to be lifted up after this death and layoff chatter. One of the closing bookends of my three weeks of glorious unemployment was a mid-week concert in Brooklyn. The wife and I went to see Broken Social Scene, the indie rock gods of the aughts who went their separate ways for many years.
The show was beyond tremendous and was the highlight of my 2016 concert experiences (although I'm crossing my fingers about the two Phish shows I'm hitting at MSG later this month). The quality of this video is questionable, and it may mean little to you if you are not familiar with this eclectic Canadian musical collective, but it sums up the majesty of this band: 8-12 musicians on stage at any time, lots of harmonies, and a real sense of musical profundity, at least to me. As a somber book-end, this was one of two bands I listened to a lot in 2004, when my wife and I first encountered severe family health issues. It was the first time I really felt like a grown-up and listened to music as a grown-up. Fuck you, cancer.
Thought 3: Yes, I still think about my alter-ego's porn name. In Miami over Thanksgiving, one of my most vivid memories is of being at Hard Rock Stadium and hearing the PA announce the Dolphins' starting guard, Jermon Bushrod. My son who likes the Fins blindly cheered, as he did all the starters, but I stood up and started clapping, wondering why we haven't heard the Bushrod surname before in the annals of erotica. Way to go, Jermon.
Thought 4: I can't wait for my mid-life crisis to peak.
This may only appeal to Mark, but I recently indulged in tattoo number two, after several years of apathy and sporadic consternation. This new ink is another result of my glorious three weeks of unemployment. The work was not done until October, but I laid the groundwork with the tattoo parlor (Bang Bang, which is headed by LeBron's personal tattoo guy!) in July. I'm now officially too old to give a fuck about my ink and any professional consequences. And I am already planning number three. Zero. Fucks. Given.
The enjoyment of bucking the traditional aging yuppie trend as a 40-something dude is quite enjoyable. While I still foresee a traditional mid-life crisis-type purchase on my horizon (looking at you, German convertible), I think there will be more bold, eclectic decisions. I told my wife that after our youngest goes to college, I want to sell as many of my possessions as I can, maintain a very modest home, and become a citizen of the world, traveling as much as physically possible. A 55 y/o man can take an ayahuasca journey in South America, right?
Happy Gheorghemas, ladies and gents. Let me know if you have an ayahuasca hook-up.