Yesterday, while driving to and fro with my children and dog, I listened to NPR because that's how I roll. All the radio talk was, of course, about the government shutdown...the unintended consequences, the annoyances, and the major headaches of a government that cannot get its act together.
However, while driving Nick home from dance class last night and feeling utterly sick of our government and the radio hype, I switched my audio system from Radio to Bluetooth and listened to the Beatles sing "Help!," the Eagles sing "Hotel California," and Jimmy Buffett sing "Hurricane Season."
The H's on my iPhone are full of angst.
Oddly enough, the lyrics of "Help!" made me think about the movie My Cousin Vinny. Go figure. At the end of the movie, two characters share an exchange that relates to the message of "Help!" and to our current events quite well and also confirms that sometimes the Oscar really does go to the right actor.
Mona Lisa Vito: So what's your problem?
Vinny Gambini: My problem is, I wanted to win my first case without any help from anybody.
Mona Lisa Vito: Well, I guess that plan's moot.
Vinny Gambini: Yeah.
Mona Lisa Vito: You know, this could be a sign of things to come. You win all your cases, but with somebody else's help, right? You win case after case, and then afterwards you have to go up to somebody and you have to say, "thank you."
Mona Lisa Vito: Oh my God, what a f*****g nightmare!
And the Oscar goes to Marisa Tomei!
What we want, as human beings, is to be independent, to win on our own, never to need help in any way. Sadly, that's not how life works. Life makes us need each other. Democracy, by its very nature, makes us need each other to keep our feet on the ground, forces us to work together to win case after case.
What a nightmare!
"Hotel California," on the other hand, made me think that drugs are not the solution. How weird can song lyrics get?
So why do I know all the words and why can't I stop singing along with it? I'm just a prisoner of my own device and can check out any time I like...but I can never leave.
What does it mean? It's a mystery. Or maybe allegory. Figuring out who the beast might be and who's wielding the steely knives hurts my brain.
Which leads me to Jimmy, of course.
Something about the calypso poet always returns me to a state of equilibrium. I'm so prone to take things too seriously, to get pulled into storms, to feel like I have to stay on the island while the volcano blows because I can fix this!
Of course, I can't fix the shutdown, so my sticking around listening to NPR's verbal circus must stem from the sheer entertainment value of watching this entirely unnatural disaster take place. But I've had enough of Hotel DC and its craziness. I'd rather sing along with Jimmy, now...
Well, the wind is blowin' harder now
Fifty knots or thereabouts
There's white caps on the ocean
And I'm watchin' for waterspouts...
Must be all that hot air in DC.
It's time to close the shutters
It's time to go inside
In a week I'll be in gay Paris
That's a mighty long airplane ride
This will all be over eventually, but the ride will be deeply uncomfortable. Which brings us to an entirely appropriate scatological conclusion of mixed metaphors.
And now I must confess, I could use some rest
I can't run at this pace very long
Yes, it's quite insane, I think it hurts my brain
But it cleans me out and then I can go on
Yes, it cleans me out and then I can go on
Like a bad meal, this, too, shall pass.
But in the meantime, what a nightmare!