Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Failures

It’s a Jackson Browne song, used in some movie somewhere along the line, sung by the Dark Chanteuse, Nico. Pretty good song too, “These Days.”

“I’ve stopped my dreaming,
I don’t do too much scheming these days,
These days,
These days I sit on cornerstones
And count the time in quarter-tones to ten,
Please don’t confront me with my failures,
I have not forgotten them.”

Jackson, I like a lot of his stuff. When we were younger, he and I, I thought he was a whiner, but he has so many successes to look back on, “Doctor My Eyes” alone insures his spot in music history, “Red Neck Friend,” nice little play on words, popularized by the Eagles, no less, he’s in good shape. But he has become contemplative, wondering now, what does it all mean? Boomer Doom, my friends, step up to the mirror and say hello. We are all doomed, and we all wonder, did any of it have any meaning at all?

Was any of it worth the trouble? Is anything at all worth further trouble, any further so-called accomplishment, any further waste of time, would it just be a stupid waste of precious energy to do anything else at all?

There’s a strong argument for just sitting, drinking and eating yourself to death, abusing some lesser beings along the line, so what, none of it has any meaning at all. I wouldn’t want to get the other side of that debate, arguing that things had meaning, arguing that we should be good, like it could mean anything.

In my more lucid moments, I see the big picture, some of it, and I understand that we must strive, that there are things more substantial than our own selfish little point-of-view, an overall direction that we must all move towards, altruistically, as a group, not paralyzed by the myth of individuality, not incapacitated by the obvious meaningless of striving.

But it’s so hard, so hard to see, such a difficult ideal to follow, to understand, such a very difficult goal to visualize, so abstract, so unlike what we see everyday, the shit we wade in, hip deep in the blood and suffering that surrounds us, knocked breathless by the horror of everyday existence.

Failure: to be acknowledged? to be confronted? to be overcome? to be given meaning? Stepping stones for progress?

I still think sometimes that there are things worth doing. It’s just a feeling, it overtakes me when I’m not paying attention, like an itch that is idly scratched before its existence is realized. There are people needing assistance. People whose lives might be amplified by some particularized assistance, something that I could do. Wouldn’t it be “better” to serve the purpose than to simple discount it as a meaningless endeavor?

You tell me. I’m just sitting on the fence, and time is running out.


Anonymous said...

You are sixty years old, man. Time to grow up. Time to grow up.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing you can do that can't be done. There's nothing you can sing that can't be sung. There's nothing you can do but you can learn hoe to play the game. It's easy...

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing,
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,
When I say that I'm o.k. they look at me kind of strange,
Surely youre not happy now you no longer play the game.

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away,
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me,
When I tell that I'm doing Fine watching shadows on the wall,
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball?

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go...
I just had to let it go.

-John Lennon

Anonymous said...

People who need assistance is an interesting thought but what about you? Before you help others have you helped yourself? What about your family that is far away? Does your family need your help?

Anonymous said...

I was grinding through my day gig
Stackin' cutouts at the Strand
When in walks Franny from NYU
We were quite an item back then
We talked about her films and shows and CDs
And I don't know what else
She said, yeah, Hollywood's been good to me
But tell me - how about yourself

I'm still working on that novel
But I'm just about to quit
'Cause I'm worrying about the future now
Or maybe this is it
It's not all that I thought it would be
What a shame about me

She said, talk to me, do you ever see
Anybody else from our old crew
Bobby Dakine won the Bunsen Prize
Now he's coming out with something new
Alan owns a chain of Steamer Heavens
And Barry is the software king
And somebody told me in the early 80's
You were gonna be the Next Big Thing

Well now that was just a rumor
But I guess I'm doin' fine
Three weeks out of the rehab
Living one day at a time
Sneaking up on the new century
What a shame about me

What a shame about me
I'm thinking of a major Jane Street sunrise
And the goddess on the fire escape was you

We both ran out of small talk
The connection seemed to go dead
I was about to say, hey, have a nice life
When she touched my hand and said:
You know I just had this great idea
This could be very cool
Why don't we grab a cab to my hotel
And make believe we're back at our old school

I said babe you look delicious
And you're standing very close
But like this is Lower Broadway
And you're talking to a ghost
Take a good look it's easy to see
What a shame about me
What a shame about me

-Steely Dan

fred c said...

Oh, I'm pretty sure it's long overdue to grow up. I know.

Watching the Wheels, I wouldn't mind, I'd do it if I could, just that, but I'm too . . . conflicted.

That Steely Dan song, I missed that one first time around. Very familiar, though. I worked for a chain of record stores in the late Seventies and I can remember the type. That's not me, though. I've had a good life and I'm grateful.

My family? Me? I'd help my family if I could. If grandchildren make the scene I'll go back and force myself on them, the family that is. These days the "help" I offer is considered counterproductive and rejected, angrily sometimes. They even reject, sometimes mockingly, my legal advice. There's a reason I'm in Thailand.

Anonymous said...

Wow, they're giving you a Spin Uneasy Time today, Fed.

Anonymous said...

A wise woman once told me, it's best to wait until someone asks for advice. I didn't ask though.

fred c said...

Wait to be asked for advice is good advice, solicited or not, I'll take it. Sometimes, though, I was, I thought, exercizing (SP?)my joint management and control of community assets, in California and all, but that never flew either.