Sunday, February 26, 2012



There is a new HP commercial that uses a montage of different musicians playing the alt-new wave classic, “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes.  One of the groups that they have performing the song is a African-American choir, and it bothered me because anyone who knows what the song is about knows that there is NO WAY that a choir, much less and African-American one, would sing that song.

When I think about the breakdown in communication in our balkanized society between “this group” and everyone else, I always tend to notice the small things that lead to the broader misunderstandings between people.  Something that seems insignificant and barely noticeable to most, really aren’t, and we all know this from a rudimentary understanding of subliminal messages and psychology.  I know I would like to know the conceptualizing of this advert because I find the brief clip of the choir disconcerting on many levels.

I’d go to see the new Tyler Perry movie just to confirm that it is what I think that it is.  If I catch it at a matinee price, I won’t be hard on it, but I know that with anything involving Tyler Perry that it is going to have the same stockcharacters and underdeveloped plot that most of

his work consisted of.  Believe it or don’t, when he first hit the modern “chitlin’ circuit” with his Madea character, I went with Tee Jay to a couple of his shows at the Masonic Temple (???), and I thought that he was really trying to tell a different kind of story.  Maybe he was and though it was refreshing to see African-American men treated less like the shallow caricatures in media and society, the story he tells fails to evolve and he has instead contributed to fortifying the stereotypes that he may have once hoped to dispel.

Beth made an entry where she talked about her personalityand why she is a self-described “loner” and she used a quote from the author Jodi Picoult, that grabbed me at the chest, “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy the solitude.  It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them", and I think that part of it describes why I hang to myself and don’t think anything is wrong.  The only part of it that I would debate with is the part where she essentially says that no one is alone because they want to be… because I am here to tell you that just is not true.

I have never felt the need for company and that is what I do agree with Jodi on… that there are times where I find that the “vegetables and fruits” have left me bored to death as well as having been disappointed by the world, after all…


Having my ears and eyes open more than I have had my mouth going lets me observe life as I have moved among people throughout my life.  Wherever I have been, there have been a select few that I have really had the kind of relationship where you can say that I confided in… none as I grew up in the Motor.  When I think about people that I stripped layers away for and let ‘in’, the response is “three”, much like the owl in the old Tootsie Pop commercials.

My roomie in college; Delta Girl; and then Tee Jay, and that is it.  Those are the only people who I felt comfortable enough to listen to the music I like when they were in the car with me, or who understood my need to stand a soapbox and rant on the tangents that I riff on spontaneously.  Especially when I was with Tee Jay… when I was with her, I felt like she made me a better person, and I don’t think I could have asked for anymore than that from a person.

Even though I have left open the chance that I meet someone who is special and wants to share their ride through life with me, I don’t see anyone on the immediate horizon.  I mean, who else is going to be able to understand why my discovering thecover to this song would be such an important find to me or who would bother to listen to my explanation of why it is of significance to me?

When I am at school I do talk with people but I mostly stay in my lane and I don’t try to really engage anyone beyond the realm of our conversation.  And that has less actually to do with my being an ‘isolationist’ (I have always liked that better than ‘loner’… seems more accurate, too) and more to dealing with my injury.  See, when I am in school, that is what I am ‘set’ for and talking more than superficially would throw me off and after my latest migraine episode, where it felt as if my brain was melting (as opposed to ‘bleeding’ as it normally feels like during a migraine) and I strained to remain coherent, I don’t want to try to add socializing to my agenda.  Also, I AM OLD!!  I would be a bit suspicious of a middle-age cat trying to fraternize among the crowd if I was in my early-twenties!! 

When I think of my tentativeness with the few encounters with the fairer sex I have had in Omaha, it is less about my lacking a real desire to get out and mingle as it is I don’t have the motivation to move beyond anything more than superficial banalities.  Even though I have gotten similar feedback and prolly have enough information to form the first draft of a profile of the women here, I don’t care to do any real ‘field work’ to confirm any of my early suppositions.  

MJB recycled a quote that I put together one day… “If you are going to reach, you may as well reach for the stars… if not, the rest is just campin’,” which is in the same spirit of Helen Keller’s admonition that “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” just a little less formal.  When I came to the decision to close myself to the idea of a relationship, I had two reasons and they both remain valid.  The first was that I did not expect to go without meeting someone but that I was not going to do any ‘active pinging’, which is why I have not had a lot of ‘boys & girls’ conversation since I have been in town.  Also, my relationship with Nebraska is pass/fail, so either y’all will get invites to the wedding or not.  Whatever happens between those extremes will be largely left between us.  The second reason harks back to mine and Helen Keller’s words...


Eric Indiana said...

Thanks for those snapshots into your brain. Here are some random thoughts of my own - not a lot, just a few; I didn't have much on my mind that day:

Thomas Alice said...

There's a certain power and energy to a Black choir, and I hate to see it diluted by being misused in pop songs and commercials.

Arriel said...

Was looking to chat... Needing some advice maybe... I thought I had your phone number, but it seems as though I misplaced it. :/

Arriel said...

I sent you and email... haha 2 actually. 1 before and 1 after...

FrankandMary said...

I'm with you on the being alone. I really want to be right now. Not that I want no one in my life, but just not TOO in my life.

I used to read Beth's blog & I never thought "loner" because she had a good relationship with her family, had some long-standing friends, & a great marriage.

Beth said...

Mark, it's interesting that you wrote what you did about choosing to be alone, because Cousin Shane (who originally posted that Picoult quote) and I both agreed that we really DO enjoy our solitude much of the time, and enjoy our more quiet times.

Mary's observation was interesting. Most people don't think I'm shy, either, but all I can say is that I learned over the years to compensate and even kind of "act." I can tell you that I'm often exhausted after social encounters, at least with people I don't know well. I do have good relationships with friends, family, and with Ken, but I still maintain a sort of distance from all but those closest to me. Maybe that's why I still have good relationships! :)

joshw24 said...

I had the exact same thought after seeing the HP commercial with "Blister in the Sun."