Februaury 14, 2011 – Song 102

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” -Jack Kerouac

I was gonna be SO lazy today. Because I was in a poop mood. And then my friend Caroline said she was sad and that made me sad and then I thought of something funny I could tell her about buttholes and that made me happy.

And I hope it makes her happy and maybe you too…. Song 102.

Once I was young and had so much more orientation and could talk with nervous intelligence about everything and with clarity and without as much literary preambling as this; in other words this is the story of an unself-confident man, at th…e same time of an egomaniac, naturally, facetious won’t do– just to start at the beginning and let the truth seep out, that’s what I’ll do–”

-Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans

In high school I worked in an antique store. It was the only job I have ever had which openly encouraged me to just fucking sit there. Well, unless someone asked me to open a display case. Can I drink this coffee? Of course. Can I turn this radio on? Go right ahead. Can I read these 1970’s Playboys? I don’t see why not. Oh wait can I read this really old copy of this Jack Kerouac book instead? Just put it back when you’re done. Amazing right? It really was.

Weirdly enough it was in an old bowling alley. So basically, every day, I would sit in one old bowling alley so I could have some money so I could buy gas and drive an hour to another old bowling alley so that I could then pay to have punk rock blasted in my face. All summer long. For two summers. It kind of kicked ass honestly. Although at the time I was pissed I didn’t work at the Record Swap across the street. I applied for a job there but I didn’t pass their music quiz. I probably still couldn’t.*

I think it was in that store, often by myself, that I realized a couple of things. Things I still think are as true as they have ever been for me no matter how many times I have neglected them. One is that I like to write. And another is that I worship music.

••••

I recently spent a very large amount of time in a Rav4 with my friend Caroline who labors under many of the same tides as me. We came up with a theory that listening to the radio is like going to church for a music lover. Or like walking in nature. Or like having your Tarot cards read. There are so many things to see or feel and parables to learn. And you never know which one will move you. But you’ll hear the one you need to hear because it’s being played in that moment for no one else but you.

••••

I have some bad news Caroline. We got behind and will not have a podcast ready for tomorrow. So instead I am going to share an after the recording conversation. Hot, but not on Air. Also, I am not going to explain how this began.

I spent a good portion of the evening explaining why I don’t think it’s weird that I would look at the butthole of someone I loved. Which sounds ridiculous, I know. But my point was that I would look at it because then later if they were like “Hey, I think there’s something wrong with my butthole.” I would know what it was supposed to look like and then I would be able to tell if there was actually something wrong with their butthole or not. I didn’t say touch it, Mere and I certainly didn’t say stick my finger anywhere near it, Claire. And although, hilarious as it sounds, I am not sure a Valentine that is shaped like a butt that when you open it, cheek by cheek, has like a giant asterisk symbol and says “I wanna look at your butthole” would really go over that fabulously at the Walgreens. Welcome to the girls club Stephen. Whoops. Were you gonna eat that taco?

*Years later, after Record Swap had closed it’s doors, I was delighted to accept a resume from one of the people who had quizzed me. I told Henry, the manager of the record store** where I now worked, about their jerky test and he promptly threw the resume in the garbage. I kind of felt bad. But only a little.

**It was also during this time I learned about classic rock. See, I had come up listening to punk rock hits like this:

Bonzo’s buried only three more left!

But the truth was I didn’t know Led Zeppelin from a whole in the ground. And if I said anything to that effect out loud a record would appear on my shelf out of the ether*** with a post it note that said something like “For Sarah. Love Henry.” (Green River, CCR) “You have to listen to this. My dad loves them and now I do too. Melanie.” (Can’t Buy A Thrill, Steely Dan) and the still mysterious copy of Led Zeppelin IV that only said something like “Dude.”

***I did the same thing this year to Caroline with The Pretenders first LP. I just wish I had thought to put a post it note on there.****

****Unfortunately, if I could write one now it would probably just say “Butthole.” or maybe even just “*” Smiley Face.

Happy Valentines Day! ♥

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