“My theory is to enjoy life, but the practice is against it.” – Charles Lamb
So I unwittingly conducted an experiment in self-abuse recently and stopped listening to music for a while. I didn’t think to myself, “Hey, hold the wire, what if I was just more sour about everything?” and leap into action. I just got tied up talking to people on the phone, or the phone games that are designed to eat as much of your time as they possibly can. I was spending time watching television (god help us all, I know, but in fairness I never stray far from the Food Network) and reading books, which I will not complain about. It just didn’t strike me to listen to music and so I spent a good week with a little hint of frustration in my life. Don’t feel bad for me, friends, I deserve the strife. Nobody knows it better than I do. Only to a point, though, and that point poked me sharply today and I had to spend some time walking in that lovely Canadian climate listening to music that I’d be too embarassed to listen to with my friends or family around.
The real joy of music is the way it feels like an extension of your feelings, feelings which sometimes feel like they’re wound too tight and need to stretch out before they burst and you say unkind things about the elderly people in front of you in line at the convenience store with fifteen plus lottery tickets none of which turns out to be a winner. Not even a free ticket. When you’re old the best thing you can do with your time is to go waste young people’s time. When you waste a young person’s time you actually steal some of their youth for yourself. This is a theory I’m working on, anyweay. I’m sorry I got off track. See, I wasn’t listening to music on my way to the store and so my fuse was a little short. Had I been listening to, say, Twisted Sister blast out We’re Not Gonna Take It on my way up there I’m sure I would have been delighted to stand in that ever growing line. Dee Snider knows that’s wrong and he knows how to make it go away. He’s not the only one, though.
Music can help you get through the angry times, and it makes the great times even better. Even when you’re depressed you can find the right tune to make you even more depressed. I’m a great fan of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata when my dire situations call for a theme. I find it somewhat comforting, though, that he obviously felt the same way I did when he wrote that song and that it’s not just me who struggles sometimes. Music can make even people like me with absolutely no ability to dance feel like dancing, though we’re quite wise enough to only do it when we’re alone or around people we deeply love when we’re trying to make them laugh. Music sets the tone in movies and it makes good video games great. Music can wrap itself around your heart and make it soar. It can seize your imagination and pitch it into another galaxy. When the lyrics are really well written then it’s beyond my words to express. When people express themselves properly and imaginatively it’s the sexiest thing going. When they do it to music it makes me dizzy. Expression is the greatest gift we have as human beings. Expression to music is about as wonderful as it gets.
Have you ever come to know a person who drives you to listen to music? I think that’s probably the greatest. You think about them and your heart starts going a little bit faster and it feels like if you let it keep going you’re going to burst. Your brain needs something to put it all in perspective, and so you find the most beautiful song you can and you lose yourself in it, thinking about that person and now somehow able to bear it, wishing they were hearing it with you and feeling the same things you were. Music can connect us to sides of us we didn’t know we had. It can drive us to do things we ordinarily couldn’t do. Music is amoung the greatest things we’ve created as a people, and you should listen to some right now. I’m currently enjoying the following song, which I originally heard in an Adidas commercial and then hunted down online for weeks until I found it. I hope you enjoy it too: