Sunday, November 02, 2008


Just like me, isn't it, to use a Halloween post to get all misty-eyed and sentimental. I'd had some idea about writing memories of long-ago outings trick-or-treating, but that would have probably ultimately been every bit as sappy.

What's odd for me, watching that Dark Shadows clip I did post, is how lame it is, how utterly uninteresting out of context. And that context was provided by my mother--if you knew her, knew her attachment to that song, you'd understand. Otherwise, it was just filler.

But isn't that how everything works? Our responses to everything--food, art, politics--is determined at least in part by the sum total of our existence, locked somehow in our DNA. I mocked a co-worker, whose musical tastes are usually more adventurous, for including Lee Ann Womack's lugubrious life-affirming weeper I Hope You Dance on his computer's playlist. He became moderately defensive, and I automatically understood the song had deeper resonance for him than I imagined.

Incomprehensible as it may be to me, there's a reason why people read The Bridges Of Madison County or eat Tater Tot Casserole or worship at the altar of Sarah Palin. Those reasons are outside my experience or understanding, but that doesn't automatically invalidate them. Sometimes it seems as though I make my way through this life wearing a perpetual sneer, eager to scorn the masses. But I shouldn't, really. How would I feel if someone mocked my love for Godzilla movies?

These musings were prompted in part by my journey down to the laundry room this morning. Making my way down the stairs, I heard music playing faintly somewhere. I stopped, listened, and realized someone somewhere had John Lennon's Beautiful Boy playing. And my mind filled, with thoughts of Lennon's own tortured personality, with my reaction to his senseless murder nearly-twenty-eight years ago, with the thought that maybe I should amble down the hallway and introduce myself to whoever it is with the good taste to pick such a perfect Sunday morning song.

Instead, I focused on the song, let it free my mind and cleanse my mental palette. Yes, it's a sentimental little thing, but when sentiment is heartfelt, it's not only good but necessary.