Friday, January 28, 2011
Last night I was feeling a little empty as I walked around. I had a strong impulse to reach out to someone, but had no one in mind and I let it pass. I was listening to music on shuffle. I decided that the next song would be significant to me. Up comes a catchy composition entitled “Blah Blah Blah” by Ke$ha. Good one, universe. Okay, Ms. Dollar-sign, I’ll hear you out and see what light your message can shed on my situation. Though it's a stretch to say a song like this "about" anything, the theme is carefree indulgence in life and the dismissal of false pretenses. It's about someone who doesn't want responsibility but -- at least at some level -- wants to be honest. Maybe the universe is making a caricature of my penchant for living in the present. It's telling me: Choose this path and these are your people. They mean well, but they're simple and full of contradiction. This dovetails nicely with my adventure last Monday where I met Doug the middle-aged scuba-diving vagabond. I was playing pool at the Canterbury with Brandon. Turns out that Doug's twenty-something girlfriend -- recently fired from taco bell -- had flaked on date-night and he ventured out for a drink. Doug has made a career out of living in the present. It was clear that he genuinely wants to be a good person and he claims that he’s never hurt anyone. But this isn’t true. Doug loves to talk, so it was easy enough to find counterexamples. For instance: In his twenties, he sold copious amounts drugs at grateful dead concerts. When busted, his half of the proceeds were with his wife and newborn daughter, while the other half were in his friend’s pocket. He played the dimwitted lackey and got off while his friend served eight years. Later in life, he smuggled Thai prostitutes into foreign countries, getting deported from a few. Also he told us all about how to make fake 50 dollar bills and use them in Canada. He seemed subtly anxious about his plans to visit his estranged daughter this Spring for her 18th birthday; I wonder what she thinks of him. Judging by Doug's stories, he’s rarely done anything to improve the life of another human being. Just groped the world for money to survive. This isn't the life I want. These aren't the friends I want. They mean well, but they aren’t good like I want to be good. Thanks for the lesson Ke$ha.