Friday, August 3, 2007

Hammer in the morning. Or was that HAMMERED?

I bought a new computer this week. The circumstances surrounding this purchase will not be recounted here. Just know, reader, that I would have been far better off financially if my old computer had not decided to lose all functionality by being old and ugly. And slow and the wrong color.


I am pretty smart by standard measures, but one thing that proved just too involved for me the "data transfer" bit involved in the transition. I want some of my old files, but not all. Notes to self re: grandiose plans for future, ok. Tearful emails never sent to men I hope I never see again... perhaps not.

So this week, between the eyebrow threading and the pedicure (no, it wasn't on the list, but whatev) and the boot check, I loaded roughly 500 CDs into iTunes. In the process, I listened to music I have not heard in years. I am sure you can guess the effect this had on me. Pushing the CDs in and then hitting "copy" and then listening for the special noise and then hitting "eject" is such hard work. I got a little emotional hearing all those old songs again. And what the hell: I allowed myself just asplash of gin and tonic.

I expected, when I first started loading those old CDs, to be emotional about the church music - the songs I heard countless Sundays growing up in the Post-Vatican II Catholic Church - you know, the church that brought the electric guitar and the synthesizer into the liturgy and insisted it was perfectly ok for priests to use the "language of the people" during Mass (you down with G-O-D? Yeah, you know me!). Little did the Vatican Council know that such reforms would produce songs such as "Hear I am, Lord" and "One Bread, One Body"* songs I find so insipid that I could barely contain my vitriol in the house of the Lord.

Click on the below if you are a devout Catholic of the modern sort and you want some encouragement in your spiritual journey. If you click this video because you are merely curious, it may do you serious emotional, not to say spiritual damage. DO NOT SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU.

I got slightly emotional over my collection of classical CDs. If spiritual-ish music is what I am after, I'll go ALL THE WAY, as in John Eliot Gardiner conducting Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor - and yes, look! - YouTube really DOES have everything!

And then of course there is the more secular Buckley doing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah better than, uh, Leonard Cohen.

But not even Buckley really got to me.

Nor was it Bob Dylan, though Dylan would have been an excellent guess. It's all over now, baby blue? Or how about this one:

Wanna know what got me, in the end? Music I did not even think I owned anymore.

It was Joni Mitchell. And, even more of a shock: Peter, Paul and Mary.

Joni Mitchell is what I was listening to when I met the first man I ever loved. Of course I was silly and ignorant and knew even then we were not likely, at twenty-one to make the relationship permant. But oh, my goodness, "All I Want"... and oh my goodness "Coyote."

Then I got to the Peter, Paul and Mary transfer, and it totalled me. You see, the first song I listened to was "The Hammer Song" - an innocuous, upbeat, harmless feel good song

- except if you are like me in 1992, when I listened to The Hammer Song on repeat with my head phones on to, from and between every class because it had the hypnotic buoyancy I needed to help me manage the guilt of being in love with my roommate's boyfriend (and doing a fair amount of making out with him when her back was turned).

It was also the perfect anthem to begin a night of drinking, since I knew such nights would include, at some point, my roommates' boyfriend passing by me just a little too closely (and slipping his keys into my jacket pocket). Because then I'd be humming this song all the way back to his dorm room where I would have long talks and long sweaty make-out sessions with SOMEONE ELSE'S BOYFRIEND because I thought it would make me a more seasoned and complex human being. And maybe also someday his real life girlfriend. Inevitably, I was still fairly drunk the next morning when I did the walk of shame out of his dorm. So I would put my headphones on go on my way.

I'd sing about danger. I'd sing about warning. I'd sing about love all right. Love between me and my sorority sister's boyfriend.

(Lake of fire, people, lake of fire. And when I get there, "One bread, one body" will be the only song the minions know how to play).

Needless to say (or perhaps it needs saying) I have changed a lot. I mean, not enough to prevent me from splashing a bit more gin into my gob than is medically prudent. But I have, at the very least, grown out of kissing other people's boyfriends. I expect further improvements in my character daily.

* If you are Catholic and you like these songs, I am happy for you. I mean you (and the Church) no disrepect. But frankly, I prefer the old Latin Rite and its music. These post VII nearly caused me to become a Scientologist, but I guess that is, in the end, MY issue.

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