Friday
Nov052004

« Backwards Deb/Rambling BS »

Without a word of warning
The ceiling falls on the floor
And all of them you've been scorning
Will take your bitter seed no more
Tell a tall one
There's a lie in your eye
When you call for your neighbor to help
He will kiss you good bye

And you're stranded and
Don't have a dime to phone
You ought to be alone
You've landed on something wrong
You ought to be more strong
Stuck in a backwards song...

Will the people who made you
Give up a dollar for you now?
And anybody who tastes you
Take a piece of you somehow?

Tell a tall one
It is in me to try
To live in line with my calling
Not to drown it in faithless lies?

And you're stranded...

Its dark outside
And its dark inside
And my heart it cries
Why don't I
Why don't I
Why don't I go on home?

Tell a tall one...
There's a lie in my eye
But someones dying to love me
Someone who'd die if I couldn't survive

And I'm stranded
And don't have a dime to phone...

This is one of the more durable pieces from Mike Keneally that has never really aged for me despite a big falling out between us. I've heard it since its early days when he was more or less writing it and shaping it on stage in about mid 1999. It came out on Dancing in 2000. There are fundamental differences in this song's lyrics; the early ones are singing about "you" and the released version are turned on the singer's self. Certain variations resonated with me this week. I didn't realize it would be about the Bush elections in 2000 and now. On the night of the Kerry concession speech, I had a visceral hour and a half playing drums and frankly just not giving a damn if I played anything right or not, or if God called me to ask that I stop stealing his thunder. This song is among the Keneally repertoire I dare to even kid myself to attempt on drums. But this time I really didn't give a shit. It just felt good to hit stuff I could legally hit, and frankly vent off the rage that yet another election was stolen by George Bush.

But then again, tonight, I found myself having started a fire that sort of just took its time in really being good company. The roommates were gone. My wife was gone, the dog was here, curled up at my feet as I ate dinner from a cheap plastic container. It was dark outside. It was dark inside.

So who among those who believe in social justice, passive and diplomatic solutions to problems, and the fundamental power of democracy had a good week? Really, no one I know who believes in "progressive" ideals enjoyed this week's upset. The shock mellowed in the two days since, but what a week. I don't think I have ever gasped in unison with the tens of millions of people who felt as I did that day.

So tonight was a moment alone at home, and while I am often at home alone, moments like tonight are somewhat rare now that the place is full of people, and a dog too. I am a believer in this whole peak oil thing, and the possible implications have permeated my thinking rather extensively. I often think that our lives are just too damned complicated, and as an antidote, we just complicate things more. But then I find a little timeless pleasure in sitting alone at the fire with the dog by my side, and imagine myself in a pre- or post-industrial life, doing exactly that, not as a matter of a momentary luxury, but as daily life, survival. I don't put my faith in a lot of the entertainment options available to us, because I believe at some time, they won't be there for us. Little by little, I allow myself glimpses of what life could be like if the modern accoutrements were not here. I thought about watching a movie. A Mighty Wind peeks its head out from the video box, but I say no to that, funny though it is. Or I think about the past few years I have been purging my "friends" list, which more or less has separated me from my entire music world relations, and mostly even music itself, while I find other ways of analyzing and defining life. I find there is so much to do, and even more to think about.

I think there is a problem with trusting the electric lights will always come on. And with this week and its terrible loss for tolerance and community- and ecologically-minded people, I fear for a lot of things. Most people are fearing that we are taking a step back to homophobia and the supression of women's rights and so forth. We may be, and that is certainly a mistake. But my other concern is that Bush, an oil man, is aware of peak oil and its implications, but he still parades on like there is nothing to worry about. Keep the economy going! Buy SUVs! Build more power plants! Do more international trade! Fight more wars! Basically, he is throwing coal into the engine of the train that is going to run off the tracks within my lifetime. That is scary on its own.

But let me put forth something even more dire. Bush is a fundamentalist "Christian" who probably believes in the end times, and that Jesus will come by and save the converted, and all that shit. It is hardly a belief system that would make a man want to conserve and educate people to do the same, even if it meant the economy taking a knee in the balls for the greater good. So the guy believes in the end of the world as a matter of divine mandate, and some say that with the oil crisis looming, and prices that will skyrocket for the remaining (and fading) resources, that will effectively be the beginning of the end for industrialized civilization—close enough to the end of the world for a lot of us. Bush. Strong leadership to deliver us to the end of the world. That is hardly the strong leadership I think we wanted, Mr. Bush.

There are hardly the massive efforts needed to replace the oil based industrial economy—not enough to smoothly cross fade into whatever is next in line, that is. It isn't something that will be an overnight development—neither the crisis nor the solutions that emerge—but it will be a permanent decline in activity, and many things we take for granted will fade from common usage due to breakage and decay (and lack of replacement parts and new manufacturing), and if we don't start building our tools and devices here at home again, we will find ourselves not able to buy the stuff that comes from China because shipping will be prohibitively expensive.

I rather foolishly went to Home Depot today and bought a power saw—a device that one day will probably be useless. I also bought some other tools that I deemed necessary to at least build up a basic tool box so I could stop borrowing stuff from my old man and the neighbors. But the circular saw is sort of sticking in my craw. I have had this belief that maybe its time I learn how to use manual tools to do stuff, and not trust in power tools (of any sort, for any purpose—maybe it's time I take a math class so I lose the calculator too). It's hard to imagine reverting to manual labor where for right now, it's not necesssary. But one day it will be, once again.

I've never thought of connecting a Keneally song to the end of the world, but when it is dark outside, and its dark inside, the mind tends to wander. What would it be like for all of us if the ceiling fell on the floor and all of a sudden we were confronted with the consequences of our lifestyles of consumption like there is no tomorrow? With the Bushies telling a tall one to get elected, and celebrating the good of the individual over the good of society and driving a wedge between citizens, will our neighbor kiss us goodbye? Will we ever regain the community life? Or I guess what concerns me more is, do we have the community life we need to draw on when federal government loses its legitimacy, due to the corruption, cronyism, and lies? My fear is that we will be stranded without a dime to phone. I could be wrong, but a nation as divided as we are now won't be too able to get behind the idea that our day as an industrial superpower is up, and that we need to return to a life that we make together, and stop exploiting each other.

So sitting by the slow burning-but-hot fire, I ponder this and more, wondering if it's in me to try to live in line with my calling, and not to drown it in faithless lies.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.