"Say Goodbye" Tuesday, March 01, 2005
The old man and I were scouting our prey, which had today happened to take the form of some new-fangled high-end stereo equipment. Obviously, I was just along for the ride, because my pocket book at twelve wasn't much fit for Wal Mart less the places Papa Bear frequented. And because, dammit, that's the kind of thing Dads and their sons do! Sure we could have played catch, but why do that when you can have just as much fun and continually reinforce the capitalist dogmatic ideals in your progeny! And to be completely fair, both myself and this story turn out well enough. (Well, I guess the jury's still out...)
But I digress. Ten years ago, the quaint inland town of Murrieta didn't have much in the way of electronics: well, much in the way of anything. So we lashed up our steed, took on extra supplies and munitions, and ventured forth to the great (un)known that was Escondido, the closest haven of actual civilization, if you can say that much about Escondido. The place - whose name most likely escaped me as soon as we walked out the door - was your standard skin-deep-shiny strip mall retailer of mid-range ("blue collar hi-fi") stereo crap. I liked it then, and I still do, but it's all still just crap in the end.
The overzealous sales rep was not hiding that he was having a slow day, but the result of his "fly-on-poo" level of attention was a bright purple-and-red covered album from some obscure group I'd never heard of before. The over-achiever told us that if we really wanted to test the sound quality of the system, these guys had the track to play. And he said "thee track," not "the track" so we knew he must be right. My incredible ignorance at this point nearly destroyed what turned out to be the most important musical introduction I've had to date, because I almost ran headlong into the glass sound wall when I heard a flute start playing. Good thing I held my ground... or rather, good thing that damn wall was there.
Well, it turns out I backed away from the precipice of immature lunacy just in time, because the more I heard, the more I dug. So much so that today, a whopping 1.41 gigabytes of bits are scrawled across my disks with music from Dave, and while the neutron-star-dense fog in my brain prevents me from remembering that quintessential first kiss (so sad, but true) I remember with perfect clarity the first time I heard the venerable DMB.
The truly amazing thing about really great music it accompanies you as you move from era to era in your life. Way back then, I dug the hell out of Say Goodbye because that minute-and-a-half intro was unlike anything I'd ever heard in a household of Wilson Phillips, Phil Collins and good 'ol Garth (Brooks, of course). It was only much later -- only a few years ago, in fact -- that I finally understood why the damn song was called Say Goodbye in the first place. This happened at, not surprsingly, a period of great growth and strife: the former perpetuated by the realization that I could finally relate to the lyrics I'd for years simply ignored, and the latter by the alpha and the omega of pain and strife; a woman. Say Goodbye made me realize that just because my parent's music was horrible, not all of it was, no matter how foreign it was to my punk-and-pop-drenched ears. And it did it again years later when all the crap that takes place in one's life eventually gets to the point where one must finally start to think of oneself as an "adult", and deal the new crap that goes right along with it.
At this point, I have no doubt that I'll be listening to Say Goodbye in ten years, and probably in twenty and even thirty and... well, come on, you're not a goldfish, you get it. It's not the mere fact that I'll still be enjoying the song years down the road that impresses me, it's that the song itself holds just as much promise as the future in which I'll be listening to it. That day in that glass-walled listening room, I had no conception of a time when the same melodies and harmonies would take on an entirely different meaning, just as I can't even imagine what they'll mean to me twenty years down the road.
"All we are is wasting hours until the Sun comes up, it's all ours... and tomorrow, back to being friends."