Upsetting
Monday, January 26, 2004
 
At your instrument, you try to find the right notes to support what you want to say. The notes form the chords, and the way the chords are arranged provides the delivery system for the lyrics. You want the lyrics to be heard, or you want them to be buried in the music.

Play a piano, like the man in the apartment above the unquiet street. Tap on the black keys, watch the diminished chords rise before your ears.

This is what you have to do to keep you focused.

The advertising machine is relentless in its pursuit of you, and some days it feels like it’s all closing in – and you know suicide is not painless. The math and celebrities from the advertising can overwhelm a mortal.

Deficits and balloon payments, options and non-matching 401(k) plans are out there. Interest rates and body bags, stagflation and Argentine solutions to first-world problems. If you don’t know who benefits from tax cuts, then it isn’t you.

Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Stay inside, the advertising machine says. The rapists and killers are out there, and if they don’t get you the cops will. The cops are losing their minds, they say, because they’ve been told about all this extra work they have to do, but they’re getting six messages from seven different agencies.

The young guys today, they say, they treat it as a job and not a profession.

This rankles the older guys.

And still the voracious march of godliness continues.

You think about the world trying maybe 20 minutes without religion, all of us starting over and shooting for teams. You ask how far religion has gotten us, and the believers tell you that The Word is needed now more than ever.

That’s what Nixon said, too, and you think it might be throwing good spiritual capital after bad.

Come back inside to the bar, where it’s safe. You can worry about that stuff later, she says. There’s gonna be a football game on TV, millionaires running around crashing into each other. Watch this, and then we’ll see what happened to that thing with Mars.

You watch the whiskey splash over the ice cubes, and you think of how economics supposedly trickles down. Coke is from Atlanta, and the whiskey is from Tennessee or Kentucky or somewhere equally inland.

Maybe the South did win the war.
 
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