March 2nd, 2005

wombat

Happy songs that make me sad

Whoever composes the playlist for 104.1 FM has apparently decided that the Go-Gos "Mad About You" needs to be exhumed from the vaults, since I've heard it 2-3 times there in the last couple of days while hopscotching around the FM band.

It's a nice enough song, sweet, upbeat and cheerful...and it depresses the hell out of me. I feel morose and unhappy whenever it comes on, which is really paradoxical because it's a happy song - a girl singing about how she's crazy in love with her boyfriend, loves everything about him - you know how these songs go. I'm sure it's not the song - it's just my reaction to it, the same way I tense up and feel disgust whenever I hear the Beatles or the Smithereens these days, because they remind me of my ex-wife.

Music has a weird power over people. It affects us on levels we're not even conscious of, hooks into our memories and emotions and yanks HARD on our hearts and our adrenals and the section of the brain that doesn't do any complicated thinking because it's not built to function on that level. Small wonder some folks consider it magical, and come to think of it, there's a whole subgenre of fantasy that treats music as a form of magic and musicians as wizards and witches, or at least confers magical power on bards and their instruments. In my own case, and in this particular instance, perhaps this song and others like it remind me of the lost opportunities and blown chances that went up in flames with the divorce. They remind me of how desperate I was when I met Lois back in 1983 at CONstellation, and the occasional hollow feeling after the divorce that she was it - the one opportunity I was going to get for that kind of relationship, ever. Doesn't make for really happy thoughts or positive feelings.

Still, I bear no ill will towards Belinda Carlisle and the rest of the band. I don't punch the radio buttons to find something else to listen to. It's not reasonable to blame them for the way I feel, because there's nothing wrong with the song. It's just me. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to listen to that song and others like it and not feel that depression moving in. It could happen.
  • Current Music
    The Crystal Method - Trip Like I Do
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wombat

Charity and volunteering and work

I see that the Evil Banking Neighbor is now encouraging its wage slaves and salarymen to log the time they spend on volunteer work. I'm not crazy about this idea, myself. I've always been a firm believer in doing good anonymously, as Scripture directs us, and this business of logging volunteer time smacks of fishing for compliments and sucking up to a company that has a very public fetish concerning how much it gives back to the community through its employees.

I realize that in Minnesota, where corporate charity is practically the law of the land, this verges on heresy, but I'm not a Minnesotan, and the company's constant pushing to volunteer for this, that and the other cause really gets up my nose. Worse yet is the possibility that this tracking of volunteer hours might be used down the line as a factor in personnel reviews, which in my case suck badly enough already without taking my charitable work/volunteer efforts into account, thank you very much. As they say in the Knights of Columbus, charity begins at home, and if the company actually anted up a few more bucks a week into my check, I might be able and willing to do more than I currently do. Without their noodging me about it.