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Young Man Blues

Temps in the 60s yesterday, with kids walking around in shorts and tees, while I carried a jacket and sweater I didn’t need everywhere I went. Drove home from a trip to Easton with the window open the entire way. My daughter was sleeping in the backseat, but was awoken by the sudden blast of Live at Leeds on the car stereo. She informed me, perfectly deadpan (during “Young Man Blues”) that “Dad, this is really not good music to sleep to…” and I could not argue with her. (When the Who opened their own Rampart Studios in London the playback speakers in the control room were so loud it’s said they caused “projectile bleeding” from the ears, and were once measured to be the same number of decibels as the engines of Concorde at full throttle.)

leedsIt was in that spirit that I was rolling down a dark and mostly deserted 380, so while her complaint was justified, it’s not like I didn’t have my reasons. You simply cannot listen to Live at Leeds at anything other than ear-bleeding volume without feeling like a complete fraud. But being the good Dad I am, I turned it off and drove the rest of the way to the sound the wind and the wheels and gentle snoring, watching the stars and dodging the orange pylons that seem to appear like rogue deer on Pennsylvania interstates.

Today we awoke to ice, snow, and a 2 hour delay. My car was suddenly encased in a sarcophagus of winter. Young Man Blues indeed.

I’ve stopped looking at the weather forecast. One too many times of going from the air-conditioner to the ice-scraper wore me down. I talked myself out of cutting the grass on Sunday, and now I’m sprinkling rock-salt on my porch steps and using half a tank of gas to un-tomb my car. I let my dog out and as soon as he realized what the world had turned into he was back inside curled up in his bed, which he had conveniently maneuvered to the front of the fireplace. I’d like to tell him that he’d better get used to it but we both may may wake up tomorrow to golfing weather. So he goes his way and I go mine.

Onward we go…marching towards the holidays. Lights and trees and coming up with yet another iron-clad excuse to skip the office Xmas party. A few awkward dinners to get through as Uncle MAGA gets bombed on Coors Light and monopolizes the conversation with Fox News talking points. But that kinda stuff is so easily deflected this time of year. Good cheer and all that…..pretend the red cap was chosen for its Christmas color scheme and not its racist connotations, and keep distracting your hate-twisted kin with football so he’ll stop blaming illegal immigrants for why his dentures don’t fit anymore.

Soon it’ll be January 2, which is when the depression really sets in. Holidays are over….nothing to look forward to except unrelenting cold, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl again, and dead-souls standing in line to secretly return everything. And perhaps the realization that the gym membership you talked yourself into after half a 12 pack of PBR is gonna get as much use as the fruit cake you keep getting every year from the same weirdo. (It calls to mind the creepy person wearing a mask who for 50 years straight years would leave 3 red roses and a bottle of cognac on the grave of Edgar Allan Poe on his birthday, a tradition he or she started 100 years after Poe was already dead. I feel like this person was probably a huge fruit cake fan.)

These upcoming days can be a pleasant diversion that brings us together, or the family-dynamic version of Black Friday shopping, in which everybody in the line ahead of you deserves to die. So choose carefully. Your best bet is to shop on-line, listen to Live at Leeds and Elvis and Charlie Brown Christmas music, and eggnog yourself into the spirit of the season. Eventually….you’ll be able to roll down that window again.

So enjoy it while you got it folks. Play it loud if you can, unless the one and only thing more important than the music is sleeping in the back seat.

In a bit.


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