New Jimmy Eat World single is so on point, it’s uncanny. Catchy as fuck too. I want someone who lives up to this grandeur in my head, indeed.

 

“I’ll tell you what the human soul is, Mary,” he whispered, his eyes closed. “Animals don’t have one. It’s the part of you that knows when your brain isn’t working right.”

It is hard to believe nowadays that people could ever have been as brilliantly duplicitous as James Wait—until I remind myself that just about every adult human being back then had a brain weighing about three kilograms! There was no end to the evil schemes that a thought machine that oversized couldn’t imagine and execute.

So I raise this question, although there is nobody around to answer it: Can it be doubted that three-kilogram brains were once nearly fatal defects in the evolution of the human race?

A second query: What source was there back then, save for our overelaborate neural circuitry, for the evils we were seeing or hearing about simply everywhere?

My answer: There was no other source. This was a very innocent planet, except for those great big brains.

-Vonnegut, “Galapagos”

It’s been a long time since a song made me shed a tear, but I just couldn’t help it when this came on the radio:

I hadn’t heard this song in months and it caught me completely off guard, but I knew every fucking word. I was rolling through downtown, windows down, just shouting this fucking song, completely wrapped in the moment.

The ubiquity of social media nowadays makes things unnecessarily difficult for today’s generation. Before all this Facebook nonsense, when people separated, they separated. Ties were cut. At most, you could find out about a person through the grape vine between your mutual friends. Or, you could drive by their house, like a proper psychopath. But with social media, the ability to invade someone’s privacy is always there. I’ve got enough willpower not to, though the irritating temptation does arise once in a while. But I know people that stalk others from their past on the regular and it is incredibly unhealthy behavior. The worst part is that none of that information can benefit you IN ANY WAY. You’re just a fucking voyeur peeking into another person’s life, a life which has long ceased to have anything to do with you. You’re scratching an itch which can never really be scratched because your crazy fucking brain will always wonder about stupid shit from the past.

I wish I lived in the 80’s when none of this was an issue. Plus I could have gone to see a bunch of rad metal bands when they were still young and playing shows.

This Hairpin piece is poignant as fuck and made me think about the music I got my ex into and vice versa. We shared a common love for a lot of bands at the very outset, but I did introduce her to Fountains of Wayne, Killswitch Engage, and even a little bit of Swallow the Sun.

She had a pretty decent taste in music that would only really resonate with me after the breakup, though I’m not even sure if it was because she liked them or because it was just really good music. The most glaring example I can think of is Blink-182. I was never a huge fan of Blink; I always thought they were just some shitty popular band that douchebags in junior high listened to. I was a cultured motherfucker who was listening to The Beatles and Static-X at the time. The first time she sent me a Youtube clip of “I Miss You”, it just kind of went in one ear and out the other. It really grew on me over time though.

But it was only after the breakup that I fell in love with Blink and their entire discography. These guys were actually talented as fuck and made some incredible music. Travis Barker is a damn near virtuosic drummer and Tom DeLonge’s riffs are crunchy as hell. They also crafted some of the most excruciating and devastating breakup songs I’ve ever heard (“I Miss You”, “Always”, “Obvious”, “Down”, “Asthenia”, “Stockholm Syndrome”, etc.). In fact, pretty much the entirety of their self titled album is just Breakup City. I don’t actively listen to the band nowadays because they remind me of the first few dark months, but I’ll tolerate them when they come on the radio. I’d have never given this band the time of day if it wasn’t for my ex, so I guess I have her to thank.

I also had a significant Coldplay phase around February. I do recall her sharing “The Scientist” with me, which is harrowing to listen to. I also had “Fix You” on repeat for a while, though I discovered that one on my own.

On another note, this also deserves commentary:

“A speaker once visited my junior high school to caution us about the dangers of sexual relationships. I’m sure he talked about STDs and teenage pregnancies but all I remember of it was his illustration of the end of a relationship. Taking two pieces of paper to represent a couple and folding them evenly over each other, he then ripped them apart down the center. By coming together people surrendered parts of themselves and they lost them completely when a relationship ended.”

Yes, yes, and yes. I think that if we don’t lose a part of ourselves, then at the very least we are irreversibly changed when a relationship ends. In my case, I lost my naivete. I started looking at people differently. I always thought of my ex as a strong, confident woman who wouldn’t take shit from anybody. That was what she wanted people to see. After everything she had been through, I understood how frightened and insecure she actually was in reality. It’s many of these same insecurities that I see festering under the surface in so many of us. And yet I absolutely gained from my loss, as well. My loss, though painful, was an invaluable learning experience.

Something a little surreal happened yesterday at a coffee shop I like to haunt.

I was sitting near the back next to a brick wall. There, I found this:

Being the kind of weirdo who examines slips of rolled up paper stuck in a brick wall, I examined the slips of rolled up paper stuck in the brick wall. One wasn’t memorable. One had written on it, “Live in the NOW. Do not think of the future. Do not dwell in the past. It will only do you HARM.” I was a little stunned. I wondered if it was a mystical coffee shop guru communicating with me.

The last slip of paper was the best, though:

I was sufficiently blown away. I rolled the slips and stuck them back in the wall, for somebody else to read.

“FELIX: The most beautiful woman I ever knew. No offense, no offense.

 
DWAYNE: No offense. Anybody who wants to can say she was the most beautiful woman he ever saw.
You should have married her, not me.
 
FELIX: I wasn’t worthy of her. Look at the dent I put in the Rolls-Royce.
 
DWAYNE: You scraped up against something blue.

 
FELIX: Listen. She lasted a lot longer with you than she would have lasted with me. I’m one of the worst
husbands there ever was.
 
DWAYNE: Not as bad as me. I just ran away from her, she was so unhappy, and I didn’t know what to
do about it — and there wasn’t anybody else to take her off my hands. I’m good for selling cars. I can
really sell cars. I can fix cars. I can really fix cars. But I sure couldn’t fix that woman. Never even knew
where to get the tools. I put her up on blocks and forgot her. I only wish you’d come along in time to
rescue the both of us. But you did me a big favor today. At least I don’t have to think my poor wife
went all the way through life without finding out what love was.” -Vonnegut, “Deadeye Dick”
 
You can’t fix people. Some people are more broken than others. You can’t fix them either, no matter how desperately you may want to. All you can do is love unconditionally.