Son, Can You Play Me A Memory

Like many people my age, I grew up with an appreciation of classic rock. Even today, The Beatles are one of my favorite bands. To me, that music is essential in life because they made music that allowed for many of the musicians that I enjoy the musicians that they are today. Even when I’m writing, I need at least a tune in my head if I can’t listen to my iPod or I sit staring at a screen with nothing coming out. Music is essential to me and everything I enjoy. I always sing to my boys, and I always encourage them to sing even though the baby just claps along. My oldest son has a guitar he enjoys trying to play, and has the same fondness for music as I do. And yes, I borrowed the title from “Piano Man”.

A few months ago, a friend on Facebook said something like “I feel bad for our generation’s kids, because we don’t have any real classic music to pass along to them”. As my husband and I were driving around during errands, my husband posed a question “what real ‘epic’ bands do we have in our generation?” An “epic” band to him is a band that has a staying power, where they stay relevant and touring for many decades. Bands like our parents had, like Aerosmith, The Who, The Rolling Stones, that still perform for decades later and continue to be well-known.

I had to think about this. Our legacy is going to end up being the Beastie Boys or Nirvana. But are they “epic” bands? What bands do we have to share? The only one my husband could think of that would fit would be The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In this age of reality talent shows, what do we really have to add into the pool of “epic” music? Kelly Clarkson made herself a big hit, but how many of you knew that Ruben Studdard made 4 other albums after the American Idol paid for one? At this rate I’m becoming terrified that the legacy of music we’re going to pass onto our children is Poison or Guns ‘n Roses, or god forbid… I can’t even stand to stay it… Metallica.

My money is on Muse, though my husband has a point with The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Our legacy to our kids will be crappy and forgettable music with trillions of dollars of debt, and a government so partisan nothing will ever get done. I agree with my friend, I do feel bad that we can’t pass on any “epic” bands to our next generation. I’d be interested to hear what other people have to say on this topic.

Breakups and You: The Survival Guide

Oh that first time we fall in love! That sweet moment of stupid irrationality and blindness. Then with the words “it’s over”, it seems like the world falls apart while you just watch it shatter. Age doesn’t make any of that easier, and each time seems to leave a little scar each time. I remember watching an interview on “19 Kids and Counting” where they said they encourage courtship because Michelle had carried with her the baggage of the previous relationships and wanted to spare their children that same pain. Sure, every breakup leaves you with some scars. You know what scars exist for? A reminder to “not do that same thing that hurt me once again”. I’ve had temporary scars from burning myself, and did you know what I learned? Don’t be stupid and keep your arms away from hot pans. That, and tomato sauce bubbles with a vengeance.

I was speaking to my son’s grandmother, and I joked with her that “it’s ok, I’m used to being the girl who mom’s hate their sons for breaking up with”. After she laughed and nodded, I told her that “it’s not their fault they can’t handle my awesomeness”. Growing up, you learn that confidence is a key to everything. Am I really that awesome? That doesn’t matter, saying I am makes me feel better about any of the bad. When you have your heart-broken, that bit of confidence can make a world of a difference. One of my philosophy teachers in college once gave a lecture saying “No one is worth crying over if they won’t cry over you”. I repeated that for several days until I really thought about it and realized how true that was. It doesn’t matter in the moment, you’ll still cry. But after, you understand it and realize it’s old news.

My other real trick is the music. I have a playlist for the breakups, though now that Adele exists my list has been altered. My playlist starts at the point of “can we just get back together now” to the result of “who were you again?”. That’s key for me, because I like that my music is taking the same journey I did. I start with “Dumb Girls” by Lucy Woodward. She wants to get back together and realizes how stupid she is for it. Then a “Please Don’t Leave Me” by Pink for the same “beggy” effect. Then the midpoint, a realization. Taking Back Sunday excels at this. For this point, I go with “You’re So Last Summer”, and then the angry point of this realization goes to “Cute Without the ‘E'”. To follow this point of anger, we hit the final stages. Pink “So What?”, that point where you’re over it and onto insults, also All-American Rejects “Gives You Hell” is great too. Then the final point, the place where you’re over it with a line like “You’re calling too late” from “The Best Deceptions” by Dashboard Confessional and “You’re just a phase I’ve gotten over anyways” from “Red Letter Day” by The Get-Up Kids. Toss in some “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele, “If I Told You This Was Killing Me, Would You Stop?” and “August in Bethany” by The Juliana Theory, and finish off with “A Sharp Hint of New Tears” by Dashboard Confessional. My two additional picks for humor/anger factor? “Good Will Hunting By Myself” and “Love Me Dead” by Ludo. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this list.

Everything is a learning process, some more painful than others. (Darn you tomato sauce!!) The point of a learning process is how well you pick yourself up after it. You can sit around feeling sorry for yourself and watching TV all day in your pajamas while wondering what you let things get to or you can pick up those little pieces of dignity on the floor and get on with it. Ok, I take the sitting around in your pajamas all day, I still do that. Everything else is true. Situations can only be as bad as you let it, that’s the truth. Things can always get better, you just have to open yourself up to that and allow it.