Last night was quite possibly one of the greatest nights ever.
Marcia and I went into the city to go see one of our favorite bands. Things have been pretty tight around here. WIth only one income, a baby on the way, medical bills coming up, and moving to a new town we really haven’t been able to do a whole lot and things seem bleak at times. However, I have seen people do more with less than what we have. So I am hopeful — I usually am.
Anyway, Marcia and I went into the city for one night of fun. A time for us to just enjoy what we have. We had bought tickets for They Might Be Giants at Bimbo’s 365 — a lounge bar/concert hall that has been a SF monument since the early 30’s.
It was a pretty cool place. There was red velvet on the walls and the bartenders were dressed like Isaac from The Love Boat. It was a place that you wouldn’t be surprised if Telly Savalas’s ghost walked around and greeted everyone with a scotch and soda in his hand.
The concert was great. We sat behind the sound guy. The concert hall was an old style lounge so there was a dance floor followed by a sitting section with tables and such. Our table was just a little above the dance floor so we could see over the heads of the crowd. The sound guy got in out way a couple of times, but the best place to be at a concert is near the sound booth so you can hear what they hear — if the sound is bad near the sound guy, it doesn’t matter where you sit.
They Might Be Giants opened with a selection of songs called venue songs. Songs named after concert venues like Richard’s on Richards, Stone Pony, Anaheim House of Blues, LA House of Blues, and the Egg in New York. It was great to hear them rip on the House of Blues. If there was a dark cancerous growth on the lung of American culture it would be the House of Blues. A watered down American crap hole of some the most poignant American artistic treasures built by the chubby fingers of a Canadian and spread through this great land like malevolent tumors. The other cancerous growth would definitely be the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. I can buy Nashville,Memphis, Austin, SF, NYC, Detroit, Chicago, or maybe even New Orleans, but OHIO!!! I have been there. So not Rock & Roll. Cincinatti? Maybe, but CLEVELAND!!! For the Love of God! WTF!!!
The Giant’s continued with a mix of old and new material from their debut album to The Spine to the two children’s albums **I highly recommend No! and They Might be Giants Presents Here come the ABC’s for your little one or even for your inner little one**. At one point John Flansbergh handed his guitar to an audience member to make some noise as he picked up another guitar. He then commented on how nice the San Francisco crowd had been considering the audience member gave the guitar back. It was quite possibly the best concert, and it was exactly what Marcia and I needed. It was a night that told us that no matter how bad things are at the moment, everything was going to be okay if we just kept going.
In one of the They Might Be Giants songs there is a line that starts “Life is unfair”. Often times They Might Be Giants is obsessed with death and the absurdity of the human comedy. But even in their examination of life and death, good and bad, hopeful and depressing there is something that is very uplifiting. Their songs are about how life can suck, but to be able to laugh at it is quite possibly the greatest strength we have.
Life is painful. I mean it really hurts. Not like paper cut hurts. More like a gazzilion paper cuts-dive-into-a-bottle-of-tobasco-and-wear-a-salt-encrusted-lemon-peel suit kind of hurt. But so what? We still go on. We can still laugh. We can still dance, and for heaven’s sake we can still eat. People spend so much time not wanting to get hurt that they don’t enjoy what is right in front of them. They take the easy paths to comfort, which produces little in the way of true happiness, and surround themselves with things instead of taking each painful step as a rock to climb. They are the people so afraid to die that they are too afraid to live. The ones who cower from change because its hard and uncomfortable.
I have seen people so down on their luck rejoice in the fact that when they open their eyes they can still see. Why is it that sometimes those with so little see better than those with so much? I think it’s because they are not weighted down by the crap that life says we must have. Tivo – useless; SUV’s – useless; digital cable – useless; STarbuck’s – totally useless; Britney SPears – a waste of life; cellphones -extremely useless; computers – … um… I’ll get back to you on that. The point is that all that crap that we surround us with, all the people we want to impress, all the problems we try to ignore blind us to what is going on around us. Life is going on around us and its not waiting for you sitting in your recliner watching Survivor eating a bag of Rold’s Golds.
Every morning I wake up grab my cup of coffee and watch the deer walk through the hills around the apartment complex for a few minutes. I know its going to be a good day if they are out. And if they are not out I figure it can’t be too bad because the deer got up early and got their day rolling and moved on and I got to sleep in for 15 minutes.
So back to the concert. Watching the band helped M and I realize that life is unfair at times (to be honest we realize it a lot), but again it’s the good and the bad in life that make it enjoyable. It is the ability to laugh at our troubles maybe not right away but eventually, and to be able to change our direction mid stream depending on what life throws our way. SOme people don’t have that luxury especially right away, but those people rebuild and move on.
Change is the only constant in life. Some say death and taxes, but I think its Change. Death is the mother of all changes, and tax codes change more frequently than the bed sheets at an EconoLodge.
That is what I like so much about They Might Be Giants. It doesn’t matter if people are dancing on your casket, we’re still pretty fortunate to have been able to fall for an angel every now and again.
And then I thought about the kid. If Death is the mother of change than parenthood must be like the great aunt of change or something. It still freaks me out. I can’t remember to brush my own teeth sometimes, and now I am going to have teach this little person how to brush theirs? Oh boy. Time to start practicing. But as TMBG played some of their kid songs I realized this is stuff I can do with Willy. Teach him how to roll with the change, and to enjoy dancing in the aisle. It is my turn to show someone that Life is something to enjoy, and that although it can hurt there are plenty of good things to come.
So last night helped us put some stuff in perspective, which we as humans need often (every four hours with food or water and please don’t operate any heavy equipment). Life ain’t that bad. It’s hard but fun. It’s painful but exhillarating. It’s unfair, but hey that helps you learn what rules to break.
So yes. No. Maybe? I don’t know. Can you repeat the question?