Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

One-forty

Posted by ilbebe on August 22, 2013

Where is the story? And how would you tell it if you knew what it was?

I found myself in the dilemma of having an excellent if overlong title for a story that I didn’t know how to tell. The title was Flying Across the Country with Tractor Rape Chain on the Brain, and it germinated while it was happening- yesterday I flew from Oakland to Denver to Philadephia. It pretty well stopped after a nearly two-hour delay due to lightning storms in Denver, but for the initial Oakland to Denver stretch, I had Tractor Rape Chain on my mind. I’d listened to Bee Thousand twice in two days in anticipation  of flying to Pennsylvania to see my pal Joe; it’s one of his favorite albums, and in listening to it I became increasingly stoked on how much I was looking forward to the visit and also what a GODDAMN GREAT album Bee Thousand is.

It’s a mark of a great album that yr favorite song is constantly on the move, and this week it was the one that is most likely to get you put on a watch list if you ever unwittingly start singing it while walking past a school. I had ruminated on the unfairness of this- it was okay to sing along at peak volume while home alone, but rape is justifiably one of the words that can’t be yelled out in public without attracting negative attention.

“But I was just singing a Guided By Voices song, Officer!”

“Yeah, tell me more about these voices…have you been drinking? Any weapons on you?”

Without any such confrontation having taken place, it nonetheless made me wish that there was just a different word in the lyric.  I know that it would be a different song. But make it easier on us, Bob, pick a different metaphor, and we’ll still get it, and then we can sing along!

But it just wouldn’t have the same punch, wouldn’t be the same.

I think Bee Thousand is one of the great album titles, and up until today, I thought so mainly because I liked the sound of it, and that it was sufficiently and hiply vague. BUT THEN! Today, while trying to explain this whole scenario to Joe, how I was in the air over Utah thinking about society’s mores and good rock and roll and how good it was going to be to see him as I was then seeing him, a point that had come up earlier in our conversation came back to to me in stark illumination of a meaning behind Bee Thousand- there is so much. So so much. Think of the mind-bending visual array a bee’s eye perceives, and then multiply it by a thousand. That is somewhere near a half-decent description of how much there is in life at any given moment- a song a lyric a point of contention a Pall Mall a warm summer rain a damn dear friend…an understanding, a growth, another small piece of the big love that is life if you hang in there and live it.

This promise of infinite possibility was central to what Joe and I agreed was at the basis of what makes life good.  You can’t know for certain what someone else means, but in that it is open for interpretation there is the potential to craft a meaning that holds water for you, and that is the gift of art.

Don’t get me started on Hardcore UFOs, because, again, The Artist’s Dilemma-

Where is the story? And how would you tell it if you knew what it was?

-5:43PM 8/22/13, Joe’s place, Bethlehem PA. Really living again, and lovin’ it in jagged waves of exponentially increasing beauty.

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