Didn’t make it to the DIIV show at The Echo last nite. Feel like I’m gonna regret that for a bit.
Didn’t make it to the DIIV show at The Echo last nite. Feel like I’m gonna regret that for a bit.
For about ten minutes last night, I was a hero.
Earlier in the day, Maya had told me, “I really want to go see the Hunger Games tonight, but no one wants to go with me” with a disappointment in her voice deep enough to cut through the part of me that knew nothing about The Hunger Games apart from the fact that I would never see it unless I was snowed in a cabin with a shitty selection of DVDs or on a Chinatown bus where they were playing a bootleg copy at two in the morning, and say to her, “I’ll go with you tonight!” She was clearly surprised, maybe even a little baffled, but that seemed like a natural reaction to my unflinching sacrifice.
By 11:50pm, after a few calls to round up a posse, a little bit of encouragement to Maya when she seemed to drag her feet about really wanting to go, and an hour of waiting in line, we had great seats in one of her favorite theaters, and I felt unabashedly proud that I’d pulled it all together for her; so much so that I wanted to remind her of how great a guy I was. So when our friends headed to the cocession stand, I said, “I’m glad this worked out. When I heard you say that no one wanted to go with you, I thought, ‘Not today world! Maya will get what she wants!’” But when I came out of my heroic pose, I found that baffled look back on her face. Where had I messed up? Had I pushed the “I’m fantastic” angle too hard? Had I revealed that my selflessness was just vanity in disguise? Had I ruined the whole thing?
"I never said that."
Her bafflement was now reflected perfectly on my face.
“Noooo. You definitely said that.”
“Noooo. I didn’t.”
“I’m one hundred percent sure you said that.”
“I’m one hundred percent sure that I didn’t.”
“No. I know you said that because that’s the whole reason we’re here.”
“Well, I didn’t say that.”
And then neither of us said anything for a minute. In my head, I stewed over how wrong she was and wondered if her memory was okay and reminded myself that even if she didn’t remember saying that, I was still a great guy and then started asking myself if this is the kind of thing that people who have significant others with Alzheimer’s have to tell themselves all the time.
"Oh! I said, ‘Noni.’"
My whirpool of ponderings ceased, but I didn’t quite see how her words fit in to our squabble.
“I said, ‘I really want to go see the Hunger Games tonight, but NONI wants to go with me.’”
… As in her sister, Noni. As in she’d wanted to go tonight, but her sister couldn’t make it tonight, so they had planned to go another time, and I had forced her to ditch out on the perfect Sister’s Night so that I could go with her to a movie I had no interest in seeing.
We laughed about it as the friends I’d roped in to coming came back from the concession stand and we smiled at each other as the trailers started to play and I knew that we were all still going to have a great time, but I couldn’t help think back to how great I’d felt for those ten minutes where I was a hero.
I don’t want to drag this out into 2012, it’s the kind of thing I’ll obsess over and not obsessing over this kind of thing is definitely one of my resolutions.
Top 10 Films I Saw That I Can’t Believe Made It On To Other People’s Top 10 Lists
Top 10 Films I Totally Meant To See Before Writing My Top 10 List But Didn’t
My Actual Top 10 Films
As I watched Meek’s Cutoff with my mom, fiancee, and stepdad on what had been a rainy afternoon in Virginia Beach, I happened to glance out the window to find the clouds scattered enough to let in an odd orange glow from the sun as it made its move toward the horizon that hid behind the trees which rose from beyond the lake that lay at the edge of our backyard. The film, a gripping closeup on the different faces of panic set against the story of a caravan of wagon-riding pioneers lost somewhere off the Oregon Trail, had arrived at one of its several severe night scenes that leave the screen almost entirely devoid of image, so I wasn’t missing too much as a I focused my gaze outside. I hadn’t been back home to Virginia in two years and, after four days in town, I knew this would be the last sunset I’d see there for some time to come and it became necessarily special. I took in what I could and did my best to secure a picture of it in my mind for the foreseeable future.
At 6:30 the next morning, I was in the last row of a McDonnell Douglas MD-80 on the runway of Norfolk Int’l Airport (ORF) preparing for takeoff amid those last moments of night that tend to linger at the beginning of winter days. For me, preparation is fairly simple:
Now, being in the last row of any plane means having a shitty seat:
On an MD-80, it also means that you have a massive jet engine just outside your tiny window completely blocking your view, so on this particular morning, the best I could find was a small slice of window a few rows in front of me on the opposite side of our fully-booked flight. As the captain pushed the throttle forward, I focused on my sliver of starry sky and saw it touched by the first glow of twilight’s indirect bloom. The wheels lost contact with the tarmac and we climbed thousands of feet before a minute had gone, raising our perspective in respect to the horizon so quickly it caused the sunrise to come like a time-lapse. Soon we were at cruising altitude with the westerly course of our flight and the earth’s rotation combining to change the type of speed-effect on our sunrise from fast to slow-mo. For hours, we floated through the special gradients between yellow, red, and blue that are unique to the edges of day, caught in an everlasting daybreak.
Formula for calculating the speed of the earth’s rotation at a given latitude: Speed of Earth at equator (1,674.4 km/hr) x cos(latitude)
Latitude of ORF: 36.89472∘
Latitude of DFW (destination for connection to BUR): 32.89694∘
Average rotational speed of earth between ORF and DFW: 1,372.496352372164 km/hr
Conversion factor for km to miles: .621371192
Average rotational speed of earth between ORF and DFW: 852.829694489143572 mph
Cruising speed of MD-80: 504 mph
Percent decrease in perceived speed of sunrise on flight from ORF to DFW: 59.0973793779428%
While every month of the year has a character of its own — January tends to be hopeful, March usually seems endless, August is kind of an asshole — all of them remain malleable to man. We can bring our own attitude to each one-twelfth of the year and make of it what we wish. I’ve bent July into the most melancholic month and forced October to be one of romance. All the year long, we’re masters of our fates drawing maps on the pages of our calendars. All the year long, that is, until December.
There are parties to attend and sweaters to wear. Family to visit and snacks to consume. Miles to go and promises to keep. Twelve of twelve doesn’t care what you have in mind or where you’re at in your life, it has plans and will accept nothing less than your total compliance.
Whatever your religion, you have shopping to do, whatever your media of choice: music, movies, books, TV, you have year-end lists to consult, whatever your age, you have resolutions to make, and whatever you’ve done with the rest of your year, you have moments to cherish and mistakes to regret.
No matter what path you carved through the bedrock of the previous three-hundred-and-thirty-four days, so long as you survived, December marks the end of your journey. It is the month of reckoning and we are all at its mercy.
We’re super-excited to premiere World of Bob, a new cartoon short we made with our friends at PUNY (the Akon Calls T-Pain guys). It’s about a guy named Jim whose dumb friend Bob has sex with a cavewoman, so now everyone in the future is a descendent of Bob. It’s weird, and gross, and we hope you enjoy it!
A ton of awesome people donated their time to this project — our friend Pete Berkman of Anamanaguchi did title theme, Farsheed Hamidi-Toosi did the music video theme, and our sound editor Craig Hillelson did a bang up job on the mix; and PUNY’s animation is, of course, as gorgeous as always. (Seriously, watch this in HD or at Vimeo if you possibly can — the art is amazing.) This project was a true labor of love for all of us, and we hope you dig watching it as much as we dug making it.
Debuting a cartoon we wrote a couple of years ago! I play the jerk!
From my rap blog.
A$AP Rocky - Wassup
Produced by Clams Casino
From 2011’s LIVE.LOVE.A$AP
This the only rap song I’ve wanted to listen to for the last two months.
With the spacious atmospherics of a classic Jay Dee-era J. Dilla track (think ATCQ’s “Get a Hold” or Slum Village’s “Untitled (Fantastic)”) and a massive but empathetic bassline worthy of a cold 80’s pop classic like “Time After Time” already providing the high, Clams Casino just needs to throw down an occasional to metronomic clap and a cymbalic vamp to keep things moving forward, but it’s the times he leaves them off that the song really flies. These moments when Rocky is left to wander off into the foggier parts of his mind are the ones that push the song from a classic head-nodder to a serious eyebrow-raiser.
A$AP Rocky’s a genuine talent. The kind of guy that’s bound to get better, but shows up fully formed. I mean, as great as the instrumental rides, Rocky lands it so cleanly and with so much originality that any rapper would be making a mistake by taking their own stab at it. “Back once again” is not the way you expect someone to start track four of their first full-length mixtape, but when you find it locked on repeat longer than the “Niggas in Paris” instrumental at a Watch the Throne concert, it starts to make a lot of sense.
See, a real honest-to-god laugh dismantles all the defenses we’ve built up to survive the complexities of social life, and does so with no less than the greatest of ease. Your self-restraint, your anxieties, your vanity, your aspirations, your pride, and your despair all disappear for that moment when you have a genuine, no-bullshit, certified-as-authentic laugh. It’s a brief moment of enlightenment that comes without your permission; a sneeze of joy, a hiccup of bliss. In a fleeting flash, you hold nothing back. Your outward actions match your inner emotions. You become honest without intention, and it’s in the running for “Most Beautiful Thing Of All Time”.
I’m not talking about the odd world of evil laughs or those laughs of assholes getting their kicks at someone else’s expense (assholes that I know we all are from time to time). I’m talking about the good laughs. The ones that come as we connect the disparate dots of life in unexpected ways. The ones where we laugh at our own ridiculousness and that silliness inherent to our group of friends, our family, our country, our species, our genus, our phylum, or our kingdom. The ones that reach out and pull us closer together.
But a forced laugh? A fake laugh? A sympathetic laugh? Woe be unto those who would do such a thing. They desecrate the holy. They profess their love without having it in their hearts. They’re frauds faking something that’s nothing if it’s not honest. They give you a beautifully bowed and ravishingly wrapped box with nothing inside and give themselves another star sticker for being so magnanimous.
At its best, a forced laugh is an attempt at positive reinforcement; rewarding their friend or their coworker or a performer or a stranger-they’re-trying-to-fool-into-being-a-friend with the trimmings of Human Connection without the substance. A fake laugh, at its most admirable, says “There was a lot that was funny about that, not funny enough for me to laugh mind you, but funny enough for me to want you to keep trying to entertain me and certainly funny enough to prevent the possibility of awkwardness. So I’ll give you an advance on a laugh in the hope that I’ll be able to recoup my investment later.” Sure, it might be a white lie but it casts a dark shadow when its caught. It stings much worse than silence, or “I don’t get it.” It cheapens the interaction and makes the recipient of the forgery feel like they’re being bought off in the same way they would if they’d slept with someone on what they thought was a date only to be offered money when they expected a kiss goodbye.
Full disclosure: I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I most often do it when I’ve lost track of what someone is saying while a drift in my own thoughts, but, upon checking back in, find their cadence to indicate that it’s time for me to laugh. Those are the times that I most often give in to the convenience of this crime. You might say I’m a hypocrite; I say I’m breaking my own heart.
William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops (2002)
Sometimes the thing that draws you to an album is the same that keeps you away. The Disintegration Loops started off, not as an album, but as an attempt Basinski made to digitally archive a set of recently rediscovered ambient tape loops that he’d recorded in 1982. But as the music rolled through the playback head, the tape began to fall apart.
“The iron oxide particles were gradually turning to dust and dropping into the tape machine, leaving bare plastic spots on the tape, and silence in the corresponding sections of the new recording. I was recording the death of these melodies […] The music had turned to dust and was scattered along the tape path, yet the essence and memory of the life and death of each unique melody had been saved, recorded to a new medium, remembered.” - William Basinski
And if that was the whole story, it wouldn’t have made the list. As interesting as the decaying loops are conceptually, I might not even have heard of the album. But that’s not the whole story.
The rest of the story goes something like this: as Basinski finished the recording, as the last loop lost its last note in his Brooklyn apartment, two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center. So as many lost their lives and more ran for theirs, as the country watched on their TVs, Basinski brought his new recording up to his roof and played it for the first time as he watched with his neighbors as the buildings burned and smoldered a mile across the East River.
That’s some heavy stuff to have in your EPK. As soon as I read about it, I knew I had to hear it, but once I had it, I never found myself in the right place to play it. I guess there aren’t that many times where I’m in the mood to relive 9/11 through music, and even though everything I’ve read about the album talks about how beautiful the music is without all the context, there’s so much to chew on with the story itself, so much poetry in its very existence, that its hard to forget and hard to imagine how the music could top it.
So I leave it in my iTunes library, unplayed, but not ignored. I love this album, but I might not ever hear it.
Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
I know it’s on a thousand “best albums of all time” lists, I’m sure it’s in the 1001 recordings I have to listen to before I die, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it inspired some of my favorite artists to make some of my favorite music, but here’s the thing: It’s just not an album you sit back and listen to as a music hobbyist.
You’re supposed to live this thing. You’re supposed to hear it and immediately buy a spiked leather jacket, put wood glue in your hair, and learn how to sew patches on to every piece of clothing you own. One listen, and your next few years should consist exclusively of getting hammered, cursing at your parents, and screaming along to “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “God Save the Queen”, and I just know I’m not going to do any of that.
I’m going to lean back in my comfy little chair, think for a bit about all the music that might not have been without the album and how Odd Future might possibly maybe be the Sex Pistols of our time, put a track or two on an oft updated but rarely used playlist for DJ-ing, and I’m going to completely miss the point. I’ll have become precisely the sort of pompous and contented asshole that I assume the album is rallying against, and that just seems disrespectful.
But I still hold out hope. Somenight, when I’m out with the boys drinking more than than the me of the next morning would recommend, someone will throw it on in our slightly swerving car and I’ll get it. I’ll think, “yeah, fuck the reserved asshole I’ve become!”, and yell, “this is the new me!” I’ll throw my phone out the window and punch whomever’s next to me just for the shit of it. That’s about the best I can hope for and I’d rather hold out for that than feel like more of a pretentious twit than I already do.
Common - Finding Forver (2007)
Like a lot of hip-hop fans of the nineties, I used to love Common. Resurrection had a permanent spot in my CD case for as long as I had a CD case, Like Water for Chocolate was a heavy rotator throughout high school, and I might be the only person I know who legitimately enjoyed Common’s attempt at psychedelic hip-hop on Electric Circus, but, when it comes to Finding Forever, there’s one minor thing that keeps me from pressing play, and it’s not that “Finding Forever” sounds more like a how to book on Tantric sex than a rap album (though that certainly doesn’t help) …
It’s that fucking cover.
I know I’m not supposed to judge a book and all that, but, seriously, what is this? Did he get signed to a record label run by Scion? Was Orbit gum having a clearance on unused promo art? I think I’d actually be relieved to find out they just used a PowerPoint template because at least that would mean no one put in any effort whatsoever. But, god, even the photo of Common is ridiculous. Are the black lines around his head supposed to be a monk’s hood or a pimp’s wig? Add the Lily Allen guest appearance to the mix and it’s obvious this is a massive sellout move engineered to put me off and pull in children and I’m never going to listen to this so I might as well delete it right?
Here’s the problem: one track produced by J. Dilla (arguably my favorite producer), eight produced by Kanye West (arguably my favorite producer), and guest appearances from both D’Angelo (arguably kidnapped) and DJ Premier (arguably my favorite producer). These are each heavyweights. I listen to albums that only one of these guys has co-produced a track on. I can’t just delete it. I mean, I already put the producer credits in the composer field of the ID3 tag, and there’s just bound to be at least a nugget or two of gold on here. I must listen to it at some point.
But on the other hand …
The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka (1997)
So here’s one that I really do want to listen to. Like, I’m actually excited about it, but the question is: Will I? Really? Am I ever actually gonna make this happen?
For those of you who don’t know, The Flaming Lips released a four disc album, and that’s not the crazy part. The crazy part = you have to play them at the same time on four different stereos to hear it in full.
Mind blown. Eight channel sound! It’s brilliant! Groundbreaking! Visionary! Logistically infuriating!
Has an album ever asked for as much prep-work on your part? This makes that time I synced The Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz on the MGM lion roar while stoned seem like a cakewalk. Part of the concept is that you have to listen to it with friends in order to get it in sync, thus necessitating a social experience, which would be easier if everybody I knew who had a modicum of interest in making this happen hadn’t already had their Zaireeka party in college and reported back with a unanimous and less than inspiring “it was kind of neat … kind of.” If they’d all come back with spinning hypnosis eyes while repeating “Ich bin ein Zaireeka” then I might have the motivation, but with things as they are, and the fact that the Flaming Lips put out a 10th anniversary DVD with a fifth track of sound that you have to play through your TV (we’re up to ten channels of sound so far), it’s just hard to see it happening. My best chance at this point is to go hang out on a college campus with a big bag of weed until I get an invite, and that’s pretty creepy.
But I can’t delete it. I love weird sound stuff. I’m the kind of guy who goes to La Monte Young’s Dream House, a Tribeca apartment filled with a bunch of speakers blasting out of phase sine waves at you from different directions, more than once and buys a ticket to Transformers 3 with the intention of keeping my eyes closed the whole time so I can focus on, not the incredible dialogue, but the ridiculous sound design. In a big way, this is precisely my cup of tea. So I have to hold out hope even though I think it’s pretty hopeless. Le sigh.
Various Artists - Living Bridge (2008)
I should have done more than listen to this album — I should have been involved in it somehow. I should have been at the release party or made a music video for a song or gotten tossed an advance promo or gone out to lunch with one of the bands or even just told some friends about this awesome compilation that was being recorded right next door to the Olde English office that I spent almost every day at for two years. Maybe it’s already clear, but this is an album I haven’t listened to simply out of guilt and shame.
Living in New York was hard for me. I enjoyed it and loved it and bragged about it and everything, but I always had a sense of not being New York enough for New York. I had a feeling that there were always twenty amazing parties or gallery openings or secret concerts happening just around every corner that I would have been invited to if I’d just been a little more outgoing. Some people find that invigorating; I found it dispiriting.
When we got an office in the industrial section of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (I’m from Virginia, so I always have to make sure people don’t think I’m talking about the colonial Williamsburg of field trips past), I had an idea that it would make us a little more “legit” as New Yorkers, by which I mean it would fulfill the stereotype that everyone had about living in Williamsburg at that time, but that was also kind of true. It would make us part of a community of independent creative types who made music and movies, had BBQs on roofs and threw parties in lofts, but it didn’t. The fact is that you have to be socially ambitious to get involved with those sorts of things, and that was/is one of the things I had/have serious problems with. As time wore on, our office made me feel less like a potential member of that world and more like a fake who was there only by the circumstances of geography. I still remember Missy Popadiuk explaining to me what a poser was in junior high and thinking “oh shit, that’s me.” Being there brought that feeling back and nothing encapsulated my feeling of missing out what was happening in my own backyard more than finding out about this album.
Black Dice, Deerhunter, Blood on the Wall, and other Brooklyn bands of the like that filled this compilation were precisely the sort of acts I tended to load my iPod up with and mark my calendar for, so finding out that they’d all made exclusive material for a compilation of note excited me. But as I read more about it and learned where it’d been recorded, that same old feeling of missing out and failing to be present and being false started to haunt me again. I’d put the album on my iPod with every intention of giving it a good listen, but when I scrolled by it, I wouldn’t stop, and when it came up on shuffle, I’d skip forward. It’s specter loomed larger and larger, and, eventually, I stopped pretending that I wanted to listen to it, but I could never get rid of it because it was still everything I’d wanted to be.
I live in L.A. now, and it’s less of a problem. I recently threw it on my iPhone in case I’m over all that now. We’ll see.
That’s my first question for anyone who doesn’t like a song that I love. I mean, if I love it, every other human with a working set of ears and an open mind should at least be able to enjoy it and get why I’d want to ramble on about the bass line’s backstory for ten minutes … right?
"Did you try playing it as loud as you’d play your favorite song to your favorite people while on your favorite drug?"
And I don’t ask to be a dick, though I get that it sort of paints me as one, I ask because it’s a question I pose to myself before passing judgement on any piece of music, be it by the Black Sabbaths, Squarepushers, and B.I.G.s of the world, or the Gershwins, Carpenters, and Nick Drakes. They’re crafting mountain ranges of sound, but, if you don’t play it loud, you’re only hearing speed bumps.
"Like, did you crank it up so loud that you half expected George Wendt to storm into the room yelling at you to turn it down like you were Macaulay Culkin in the classic, but ridiculous, intro to the "Black & White" music video?”
Cause if the answer’s “no”, then what are we even talking about? You can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t even heard it. And if you haven’t heard it loud, you haven’t heard it all.
See, when you listen to something at a decibel that comes anywhere close to what you might call “reasonable” or, god forbid, “background”, you’re listening to something the musician never intended you to hear. You’re abridging the waveforms and then judging them. You’re judging a city by its airport and a state by its highways. When the artist first came up with the song, it was so loud in their head that it drowned out the rest of the world, and when they closed their eyes while listening to that final mix, it’s a pretty good bet the music was blasting.
Now you don’t have to crank your Glen Gould records to the point that the background hiss sounds like an instrument in itself, just to the point that his piano is in the room with you. Music started as something that was necessarily played live, with the musician determining the volume for everyone who would ever hear it right there and then. The fact that you can even control the volume is an unintended consequence of electronics manufacturers trying to perfect their products, not musicians trying to perfect theirs, and, so long as we’re trying to judge the music and not the stereo equipment, it only makes sense to give it a real honest to goodness shot; a shot that can’t be compared to wearing dark sunglasses to an art show or trying to read a book from across the room.
But the choice is yours. Do you want to hear it how its lord intended or do you want to see how soft your stereo can go? Like I said, I know it paints me as a dick, but this is the question I have to ask myself every day.
Olde English sketch pilot.
In 2008, Olde English decided we were ready to have a TV show, and we started pitching ideas to cable channels. Most of our ideas were for themed sketch shows — my (Raphael’s) favorite was for basically a comedy version of TRL, full of original music videos, interviews with real and made-up celebrities, and youth-skewing commercials (we were about ten years too late for the format to have any cultural relevance, but we still thought it would be a lot of fun); we also pitched a road trip show where every week we film a batch of sketches in a new city as we drive across the country in a big van.
We put together the above reel as a sample of what we called our “vanilla sketch show” — just a bunch of sketches with no framing device. If you’ve seen all our videos, you’re not going to discover anything new here, other than the new intro and themed bumpers we filmed, but if you want to revisit a bunch of our favorite stuff all in a row, here’s a good place to do it. If someone had given us a TV show in 2008, this is more or less what it would have looked like.
The Incredible Power of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “I Miss You”
I never knew how many things I missed until I heard this song, and I only heard it two weeks ago. At least I don’t remember hearing it until two weeks ago. I’m sure I’d crossed its path at some point since my dad kept the radio locked on Oldies 95.7 in my days as a non-voting passenger and since Kanye West sampled it on his first production for Jay-Z on "This Can’t Be Life", which came out smack in the middle of the days when I made it my business to hunt down every sample the liner notes saw fit to mention.
So maybe I had heard it, but just hadn’t gone through the sort of heartache that you have to have gone through for it to make its impact. To be honest, I don’t think I really even knew the depth of my heartache until I heard it two weeks ago in Teddy Pendergrass’s voice. Soon each spin brought back another heartbreak.
From that first pulse of the organ and the deeply spiritual group vocals that follow, I was in a place where the pain I felt was elevated from a demon that tormented me to a god that I was humbled before. It became a song that made me cherish the size of the holes I’d been left with because they reminded me of the greatness of what I’d lost. For eight and a half minutes, I felt invited to wash myself in honesty. I quickly found that eight and a half minutes wasn’t nearly enough.
The first few times I played it, I missed the versions of myself that lived more productive lives than the current one does; the times when confidence was a fact of life instead of a foundation that was being rebuilt.
Then I missed the headstrong heydays of my old comedy group when the only criteria for something being successful was that we all thought it was funny; before the measurement changed to view counts and development deals; when the laugh something got in the read-through was enough to fuel us through whatever obstacles arose.
Later, I missed all the friends I don’t live close enough to to keep up the quality of the relationships we started. I missed being able to see them without going through airport security and anxiety attacks. I missed all the late night chats that we hadn’t had and all the silly projects we never made. I missed being able to help them move and talking to them without having to catch up.
And then, for a while, I missed the family I had before my parents got divorced; the feeling of having a group of people made of the same stuff that I’m made of with their own rhythm of being together. I missed the worst times as much as the best. I missed the 19 years when I believed we’d always be together and that my idea of home would never change. I imagined moments we might have shared in the future and missed those too. I didn’t get mad. I didn’t even wonder why it had to be this way — I got it — I just missed something I had been lucky enough to have.
But there was one sort of thing that stuck out that I didn’t miss. One thing that, even when I thought long and hard about and even though it’s the subject of the song, I didn’t miss: an ex-girlfriend. I remembered the “breaks” and break-ups that my fiancee and I had been through. I recalled how, in those times, I missed her just as much as I missed all the other things the previous plays of the song had brought up, but I didn’t actually feel that pain anymore. We’d gotten through those times, and realizing that started to change the way I heard the song and how I felt about all of these heartbreaks. It erased the hopelessness and replaced it with possibility. So now, as the song continues to play on repeat, I think about all these things I miss and find myself looking forward to the day that might come when I don’t have to miss them anymore; the days when things might not be quite the same, but feel just as good. That’s the incredible power of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “I Miss You”.
Grocery stores are not a place I go with the intent of contemplating infinity. I go for two purposes:
You might note the clear absence of:
3. Pondering the micro and macro infinities of the universe.
So why am I standing in the “make your own pizza” section of Ralph’s grocery lost in a K-hole?
It’s Don Pepino’s fault.
Sure, Mr. Pepino seems like an unassuming little fellow. He has a pudgy charm and a real honest to god gift for wearing a toque blanche, but he also has a can of Don Pepino Pizza Sauce in his hand that features a picture of him with a can of Don Pepino Pizza Sauce in his hand that I can only assume features a picture of him with a can of Don Pepino Pizza Sauce in his hand … and so on and so on until I come face to face with issues that only god should ponder.
Not cool, Mr. Pepino. Very not cool.
If I’m buying pizza sauce, or putting away pizza sauce, or using pizza sauce, I’m busy. And in my busy-ness, I have a simple purpose that allows me to enjoy a brief respite from the constant and uncontrollable contemplation that comprises most of my day. Those moments of solace from myself are not the times I like to get caught up wondering about things like: “If the Don Pepino on my can moves does the Don Pepino on his can move?” or “What happens to all the subsequent if the Don Pepino on my can dies? Does it create a pizza sauce paradox?”
And then there’s the issue of Don Pepino’s laugh.
Why is the Don Pepino on my can laughing at the Don Pepino on his can?
This is not why I came to the grocery store.