Lyrics and Life and Vomit and Such



Music moves us in a way that nothing else can, and the lyrics are the poetry that inspire us in our daily lives.  How many times have you listened to a song, let those words seep into your very being, and thought to yourself, “This is about me.  I’m going to live my life like that.”

But before you go reinventing your wardrobe to pure argyle and deleting every name starting with “T” from your contacts, you should consider that the guy spinning that lyrical poetry at you probably drowned in his own vomit.

Here’s the thing: musicians are notoriously unstable people.  And while November Rain is real pretty, you might want to think twice before deciding to live your life via the stylings of someone with both musical talent and a borderline personality disorder.

When you’re down and out, it’s incredibly easy to be seduced by words that hang so passionately from a guitar string.  “Fuckin, Fightin, it’s all the same.”  But you have to remember to ask, “Really Bradley Nowell?  Because you OD’ed in like 1996.”

Listening to song lyrics is kind of like when your friends meet that one, really unhinged uncle.  He’s really energetic and interesting, and they’re drawn to every passionate and compelling dissertation he spouts on your Grandma’s back porch.  But when they go, “Dude, your uncle is so cool!” you have to be like, “Yeah…don’t listen to anything he says.  He’s been kicked out of rehab like six times.”

If you are facing a crossroads in your life, I suggest reading a book.  Preferably something authored by a PhD.  Maybe something involving clinical research involving whatever it is you’re going through.  Maybe therapy is a good idea, too.

Music is good.  It’s good for exorcising those demons when you need to.  But it’s not exactly sound life-lessons to live by.  Because while I like a good beat and a rippin’ guitar, I’m not interested in a heroine problem, a gambling problem, or being suddenly jailed and impoverished for tax evasion.


A Cat With a Donut Is Always an Appropriate Sentiment


You say language and people think of words. But what you really mean is everything that language encompasses, including tone, gestures, facial expressions, implications. Look at that, we’ve said one word and we’re already miscommunicating.

We certainly rely heavily on non-textual cues to convey meaning. You could text me “My Grandma is making me dinner” and I would think nothing of it. But you stand in front of me with sweat beading on your forehead and terror in your eyes and say “My Grandma is making me dinner” and I’d be like “Dude, why didn’t you ever tell me your grandmother is a cannibal?”

We need specific words to convey specific ideas. But without the enforcement of non-verbal cues, communication breaks down. One guy says, “Hey, Bro, like your tie.” But his eyes say “Hey, Bro, like your tie, lets have sex in the copy room again.”

It’s the same with symbols. People use symbols all the time to convey meanings without the use of words. You see a white building with a cross on top, you think church. But you go in to offer your praises, maybe light a candle, gossip about your neighbors bad spray tan, and instead of finding a room filed with pews you find goats grazing over a carpet of indoor grass. Then a guy in a white tunic says to you “This is no church. In my country cross is symbol for goat farm. Is very unfortunate coincidence.” And that’s fair, because every culture is different. But, at least 99% of the time, building with cross means church, and no words are needed to express that.

Of course even those shades of gray aren’t always black and white. As we know this type of communication occurs, we frequently misinterpret would-be symbols all the time. I see a guy walking down the street in an expensive, three-piece and I think. “That guy makes a ton of money.” Where in reality he’s a hobo with a meth problem who steals people’s clothing while they’re getting CAT scans.

Frequently there are errors as well. In a world of emoticons, you may be trying to send a happy face to someone to convey, you know, happiness. But what happens when you press the wrong button and you send them an image of a cat eating a donut? What, exactly, does that convey? It may express happiness if, coincidentally, you had already been talking about how much you love cats and/or donuts. Other than that, you’ve most likely rendered the other party brain dead in an attempt to interpret what was really just folly.

The point is, communication relies on a conglomeration of words, expressions, tones, gestures, and symbols to convey meaning.  But, in the end, it’s likely no one will understand what you’re trying to say anyway.

“I’m gay. And right-handed. And I prefer Ford to Hyundai, regardless of the MPG.”


Becoming a gay person is a complicated process.  First there is the whole self-questioning thing, then part where one has to delve into one’s own identity.  Then once you have the self-awareness portion down, you have to go through the whole coming out stage, where you go to all your friends and family and break it to them that you’ll be schtupping people of your own gender from now on.  Then of course you have to buy a Subaru and start shopping at Trader Joe’s – it’s an ordeal.

The question is, why is this “coming out” phase necessary?  We don’t have to have a ritualistic gathering of our friends and neighbors every time we make any other discovery of our intrinsic selves.  There is no, “You’re my best friend so I wanted you to be the first to know – I’m a Giants fan.”  Why is homosexuality put on the chopping block?

Pressure to “come out” to the world is unfairly placed on homosexuals.  In no other realm of your life are you required to expose details of your life to others:

“Frank, I just want to let you know…I really love country music.”

“Jodie, would you please tell Grandma you’re an investment banker?  I’m tired of lying to her.”

You don’t even have to tell people you are a vegetarian unless someone is literally shoving a chicken nugget down your throat.  And, honestly, in that situation being a vegetarian isn’t your biggest worry because that, sir, is aggravated assault.

Homosexuals are fairly easy to pick out of a crowd.  They’re usually the ones who are walking arm-in-arm with someone of their own gender.  That is more or less the definition of homosexual.

So couldn’t it just happen like this:

“Gerald, did our son Leonard just leave for prom with another boy?”

“Yes, dear.”

“Hmm.  Could you please pass the TV Guide?”

And you’re like, “Of course not, stupid.  No one reads TV Guide anymore.”

The point is that since we know that someone who is a homosexual is someone who will be dating a person of the same sex, can we not just infer this when Brian starts bringing guys home to meet his parents rather than girls?

Because here’s the thing – before he decides to bring Peggy Sue home for the parental meet-and-greet, there is no requisite sit-down with Ma and Pa where he has to calmly explain to them, “Mom, Dad – I’m a heterosexual.”