The site prompt today is asking if I remember life before the internet. Yes, I do. For some reason, I’m often very nostalgic lately, so at those times that life B.I. seems preferable. Whether the time actually was more simple, or I was, doesn’t really matter in my head.
I like to put together jigsaw puzzles. Don’t ask me if I do that on an app – you already know the answer. I still read physical books, still turn pages. Now that I think of it, it’s mostly for the same reason. When life gets noisy and heavy, finding pieces that fit perfectly (or opening a book and turning pages) turns that volume down. These small acts reduce the complexity of everything that surrounds me. It’s a little like that aphorism: a journey of a million miles begins with a single step. We can’t finish a puzzle now, we can only give our time and focus to finding the next piece.
The puzzle on the dining room table is one called Rock ‘n’ Roll, and is made up of artists, album covers, ticket stubs, and instruments. It’s pretty good puzzle artwork, the overwhelming sadness in Kurt Cobain’s eyes is obvious and as heartbreaking on my table as it was in real life. There is Ray Charles, The Beatles & The Stones, Joan Jett, and Kiss to name only a few. There is also the album cover from the 2nd best album ever recorded: August & Everything After, by Counting Crows. (The best is, of course, The Queen Is Dead.)
So now I’m listening to the live version of August & Everything After. It’s the whole thing, in order, and it’s unusual in that Counting Crows live versions are mostly unrecognizable from the studio album tracks. You have to know the lyrics to know Mr. Jones at a concert to realize it’s Mr. Jones, but you still can’t sing along. This particular release, though, sounds like the original, but…extra. They’re a terrific band, even as they sort of under-achieved, never building on the perfection of this debut. But how could they, honestly? I am sometimes angry at the Goo Goo Dolls. I want them to make an entire great full-length album, and they don’t, they won’t. It’s like an act of rebellion. But Counting Crows made this 100% A+ masterpiece, and they deserve a pass forever.
Round Here is the first track and makes me cry every time I hear it (with both hands, it’s so sad and so beautiful. Like the great philosopher Rob Base once said, “joy and pain.”)
My wedding Anniversary was Saturday, and my son graduates high school on Friday. Those are the bookends to a week marked with the challenge of holding 2 life-changing events carefully and joyfully. I married the Angel 22 years ago, and the term soul mate is casually tossed around but rarely appropriate. She is easily mine and I hope I’ve risen to even 3% of what she deserves. My son is 18 and steps into an adult life that I get to watch from a front row seat, the best one in the world. He is everything I dreamed he’d be and more.
This week will have baseball games and work and blog posts about music puzzles and phone calls and workouts, but the majority of the week in my heart will be a staggering gratitude. I began this by talking about nostalgia, and I sort of miss Swatch watches and Atari 2600’s and getting up to change between 3 TV channels, but preferable? Baby, I wouldn’t change one thing about this amazing, messy, wonderful life that I have been given, and I wouldn’t miss these people and this week for anything.