Posted in yesterday. today. tomorrow.

temporary minority insanity

 

 

now playing: shane nicholson, “designed to fade”

 

every now and again, i do something that i don’t fully realize the impact of until after i’ve done it.

this has been a pretty shitty week in a lot of aspects…an overwhelming workload at home to prepare for the move, a perpetually degrading relationship with my boss at work, and my seemingly endless transportation concerns…but today i managed to concoct a self-inflicted smile for a few minutes.

i stopped at the bank to cash a check sent to me by my far-too-generous in-laws for some computer work i did for them recently. it was just a few minutes before 3pm – their closing time – when i walked in. (in retrospect, i made a mental note that i remembered reading that the vast majority of bank robberies occur either right after opening or right before closing)

i handed the teller my signed check and my drivers’ license, and she asked if i had an account there.

“yeah, i do,” i replied – but before i could recite the account number, she asked, “do you have an atm card?”

i don’t really know if it was out of a sense of agitation or if i somehow felt the need to chip away at her for a bit, but i replied, “yeah, i have an atm card…right here….but wouldn’t it make it easier on you if i just gave you the number?”

she said, “well, i guess it doesn’t matter…most people don’t know their numbers off the top of their head…”

so i replied with mock indignation, “ok, FINE. i’ll get you the card then. i wasn’t sure if i could trust you with the number anyway…”

somehow i thought that might get a chuckle, or at least a grin, but in hindsight, i have no idea why that woulda been considered to be funny.

“sir, i just need to verify your account.”

so, without going completely Adam Sandler on her, i stepped back from the window a bit, folded my arms across my chest and said…

“this isn’t because i’m black, is it?”

her eyes rolled up from the computer screen as her lower lip dropped for a moment, expressionless for a split second until the teller next to her started roaring…then she saw the statement for what it was and started laughing herself.

i didn’t really react until i’d left the bank and the gas station and was driving back to work, and i thought about it, and laughed until i hurt.

i needed that.

the searing pain in the frontal area of my legs has all but disappeared now, leftover sunburn from fathers’ day at the reading phillies game, which we won against the bowie baysox, 4-2. i discovered on this day that my daughter has a crush on the shortstop, gonzalez, who hit a solo home run and was named player of the game that day. she, of course, is convinced that he made the extra effort because she was there. then we went to a movie and to a cabbageless late meal at cracker barrell (it was either CB or denny’s…those places seem to have a calming effect on us, for some reason).

it was a day that, from a productivity standpoint, could have probably been better spent doing other things – but i wouldn’t change a thing about the way the day turned out (except maybe to factor some more sunscreen into the equation somewhere).

well, actually, i take that back.

i would’ve had jayda leave her walkman in the car when we went into the movie theatre.

she’s her father’s daughter – from the time i received my first walkman as a going-away gift when i left for the navy, i was surgically attached to it for ages…it was my constant companion in iceland during the year i was there…i used to take day-long walks with my parka pockets filled with tapes, and it just wouldn’t have been the same without it. there are songs that, to this day, conjure images of that time of my life, thanks to that addictive little bastard.

jayda’s walkman, however, comes with the modern style of headphones that allow whatever she’s playing to be shared with the world at virtually the same volume. I’ve already put her headphones on after objecting to the volume of her music, only to discover that it’s nowhere near as loud as the volume you hear next to her would have you believe.

this wouldn’t be a problem, so much, if i could tolerate the music she listens to even a little bit.

jayda is under the spell of what she calls “spanish reggae”. now, already, i have an issue with this before we even get into what the music sounds like. let me explain.

reggae is jamaican in origin. this is not to say that people from other countries are forbidden from either playing or enjoying reggae…not in the least. however, to call her music “spanish reggae” is misleading in a sense, because it has literally no roots or resemblance to reggae whatsoever, in the grand Bob Marley notion of the word.

it’s all incredibly repetitive, in a rhythmic sense…perhaps that’s the correlation. not repetitive, however, in the hypnotic manner that traditional reggae is…repetitive moreso in the irritating, generic, painful manner in which disco was repetitive…every song has the same backbeat – a disjointed, irregular, pseudo-tango beat that you’d instantly recall having heard coming from the trunk of a Honda Accord coming to a traffic light near you.

it’s rather like a shotgun marriage of hiphop and the Macarena.

i hear ya, man, i hear ya…what’s not to like?

i know, i must be crazy. but, you see, it’s the law. i’m the parent of a teenager, and she’s required by law to seek out a form of music that i loathe and fall in love with it.

so, with that in mind, you have to understand…it was me that drove her to this awful fate…this lapse in musical taste.

if only i’d been a fan of lawrence welk‘s champagne music, or the lilting polka strains of jimmy sturr, or even the yodeler from hell, slim whitman….perhaps she wouldn’t have been consigned to this ill destiny.

i’ll burn in hell for turning her to this awful, awful music.

i know that there are studies and focus groups that examine and re-examine things like urban violence and gun culture and issues related to the wellspring of death and pain that riddles our streets in our times, but quite simply, i think it’s the music.

and believe me, i know how codgerly that sounds….but i’m becoming more and more inclined to believe that it’s true.

not because of the lyrical glorification of violence or life on the street or any of the reasons that have been trumpeted over and over by others, though. my reasons for this belief are much more simple.

you listen to this music for more than an hour or so and you want to kill somebody. period.

not because the lyrics told you to or anything so subconscious as that…but very simply put, this music is an irritant, man. 90 minutes and you’re looking around the room for something to hit somebody with.

just say no, man…..just say no.

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Author:

tom is a personally and politically malcontent musician, songwriter, sideman and session cat living in East Nashville, Tennessee.

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