The Mary Jacket

Let me tell you a story about a jacket.

It’s not all my story, and in fact, it originates somewhere that I’ve never been: Portland, Oregon.

Before we get there, though, I need to back up to somewhere I’ve spent far too much time: my hometown.

Here I am trying to make my first escape.

We weren’t a happy family; perhaps not an unhappy one. We had our moments, to be sure, a series of explosions – laughter, anger, whichever broke us through. Before I’d even turned eight, we had already fractured once; a few years later, we’d do it all over again. Eventually, the whole damn thing fell apart. And we were fine.

The first fracture came when my oldest brother, Mike, abruptly left home when I was in second grade. The subsequent fracturing event came a few years later with the exit of my second oldest brother, Steve, who left home under acrimonious circumstances when I was maybe nine or ten. To be honest, the timeline of those early years has always been jumbled in my mind. The mixture of my sheltered youth and a familial tendency to talk around the issues has left me spending my adult life indolently piecing together family history, like someone absentmindedly scratching a bug bite.

I suppose it must seem strange that a writer would be this incurious about his own past, but the truth is, it isn’t my past. Everything happened around me; I was a background extra in my own life up until college, and even then, really only a featured player.

So, what I know of Steve’s exit: I was the last one to speak to him before he left the house that final time. There were five kids, so my parents had opted to get us a second landline phone just for us (just for them); it was even listed in the phone book as the separate Teens’ Line. That night, my parents had gone out and gave instructions that Steve was not to use the phone, he being on punishment for one infraction or another. Nothing new there.

I was watching TV in the living room when I heard the kids’ line ringing in the den. Since the phone was never for me, I instinctively ignored it until I remembered my parents’ instructions. I rushed to the den just in time to find Steve answering the phone.

“You’re not supposed to use the phone,” I dutifully bleated.

“I know!” Steve snapped back. “No one else was answering it!”

That was it. I skulked back to the living room, then, some minutes later, I heard  Steve leaving out the garage and that was the last I would see of him for years.

Kids Christmas
My siblings. Probably.

That could all be wrong. I don’t trust the details of my memory; I tend to conflate different events, sometimes years apart. It’s immaterial; this is how I remember it. The great irony – and power – of our past is that perception shapes memory, which then shapes perception. We’re all living a lie we told ourselves. This is mine.

My next memory of seeing Steve in person came many months later. He was standing on our porch, saying hello to my tearful mother who was welcoming him back home to Lawrence. He’d gotten heroin thin – emaciated, really – and was covered with piercings, a safety pin pincushion. 

I don’t remember if Steve was wearing the jacket, though I suspect not. This jacket, which came to represent all the mysteries and allure of my brother’s time away from home, was a plain brown, polyester gas station attendant’s jacket, an ugly thing made all the more unsightly by large rips and frayed edges. Like Steve’s eyebrows, the thing was pierced through with a phalanx of safety pins, some of them functional, most just for aesthetics. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

After leaving home, but before meeting up with Mike in Flagstaff, Arizona, Steve spent time in Portland, Oregon, living in a shithole (probably) and working in the kitchen of an Italian restaurant. Other than learning the basics of cooking from the restaurant’s chef, Steve’s main pastimes in Portland were poetry and drugs (I won’t pretend to know which ones; all of them?).

In Portland, where by law gas station attendants still pump your gas, Steve picked up the jacket. What really made this unassuming article of clothing pop, at least for me, was the one piece of personalization that my brother had attached: a yellow and orange fabric patch with the name “Mary” sewn in green letters over an orange heart. I had no idea who Mary was, but she was clearly perfect.

In fact, Mary was no one, but everyone. As Steve later explained, “Mary” was the stand-in name he used in his poetry when he was writing about a woman but didn’t want to use her real name. She was the all-encompassing focus of love and lust, hate and sorrow; she was all womankind.

So she came to represent to me.

My parents were permitting my brother to store some of his belongings at the family house, which is how I came to stumble across the Mary Jacket hanging up in a hallway closet. For a time, I would take it out just to put it on, and then slip it back on its hanger. As the months passed, though, and Steve made no indication that he intended to take it back, I began to wear the jacket out of the house, to my mother’s chagrin.

Steve didn’t mind me wearing it, but there was always an understanding that someday I’d return it to him. That never happened.

The jacket engulfed me. It must have been huge on Steve when he was at his thinnest, which is why I doubt he was actually wearing it that day he showed up on our porch. It didn’t matter, I loved it and wore it constantly. After losing a great deal of weight in a very short time as a teenager, I was slow to update my wardrobe so most of my clothes were baggy on me. The jacket fit my style (a term I use loosely).

People asked all the time who Mary was, or, sometimes with confusion regarding my long, feminine blond hair, if I was Mary. Some kids took to calling me Mary, presumably as an insult, but if it bothered me, it didn’t stop me from wearing the jacket every damn day.

Whatever reason Steve had for choosing Mary as his female catch-all, the name had an extra level of resonance for his youngest brother, a kid named Joseph who had been brought up in the Jesus in Wonderland orthodoxy of Evangelical Pentecostals. Everything was filtered through Bible stories and purported prophecy. Mary didn’t just represent some unknown love interest, she came to represent the unseen woman, the one that completed the equation: Joseph and Mary.

Perhaps I have a genetic predisposition to symbolism, or it’s just a product of my religious upbringing, but early on I developed an obsession with poetic symmetry in life, always looking for surreptitious indicators of deeper meaning or direction in the innocuous happenstance of life: a song playing on the radio with an oddly fitting lyric; the crash of thunder in a moment of doubt; a girl named Mary.

I wanted – needed – there to be signs of something grand ahead, because in the now, life was pretty miserable. Certainly, I was.

As high school ceded to college, I left much of my old life behind, including church friends and my faith, but the Mary Jacket stayed with me. From wear, the tears had grown into fluttering gashes with loose threads hanging from the edges that I routinely had to cut off. I’d repurposed some of the extra safety pins to hold the entire left side together, which otherwise flung open like a gaping mouth.

If the jacket had arrived in Kansas looking like a holdover from the 80s hardcore scene, I had managed to turn it into a homemade Halloween costume assembled by a disinterested stepmother. It had long ago ceased to be a jacket in any functional sense, more of a rag to throw over my shoulders like a cape. So be it, it was my cape.

When I packed up everything I owned for the move to Charlotte that would launch 10 Cities/10 Years, I stuffed the Mary Jacket in my boxes. Eventually, I gained enough sense to stop wearing the thing, but for sentimental purposes, the jacket remained with me for many moves. After a few years, realizing that sentiment wasn’t worth the extra money and effort it required to move every year, I unceremoniously discarded the jacket along with many other artifacts of a life I no longer lived.

Before I tossed the jacket –there was no hope of donating it, the thing was mostly safety pins by that point – I removed the Mary patch. That I still have.

No words.


Writers love symbols. Fiction, in particular, is buoyed by their potential. Properly deployed, one symbol can say more than ten pages of exposition; even poor writing can be given the façade of depth with some hasty symbolism. Then there are the great writers, like Fitzgerald, whose symbolism could captivate so thoroughly, he redefined the prosaic truth of the image itself. A green light is never just a green light.

Even though I no longer believe in higher powers or spiritual intercession in the natural world, I’m still taken with the way coincidences can imbue day-to-day life with literary flair. From time to time, it’s fun to indulge a flight of fancy, to impose meaning on the meaningless. It’s utter rubbish, but what isn’t? A writer has to think in symbols.

Names will always hold deeper meaning, like how hearing a particular name brings a rush of memories about an ex or a friend I haven’t thought of in years. I’m always tickled by couples with famous name pairings or when someone’s moniker takes on an ironic double meaning. To this day, “Mary” is freighted with unrealistic meaning. It’s a connection to a past that’s mostly been forgotten or blurred into unreliable memory, and yet also a suggestion of a future that could have been, probably never will. I hear the name, it triggers visions of a specific type of life with a wife and a house, a family, a place; stability.

Before anyone thinks, “Awwww,” I haven’t lost anything, only come to understand myself better. Like that shredded gas attendant’s jacket, that existence wouldn’t fit me now. It’d only split and unravel. I held onto that vision of my future for a lot longer than I should have because I wanted so much for there to be a plan, a destination. Not anymore. I don’t need a prophecy to tell me about my future; I make my own.

Traveling has stripped me of much of my sentimentality. I’ve gotten much better at letting go of my relics. On the verge of another major move, my biggest yet, I’m examining my possessions with a plan to unload it all. Holding on to mementos from the past doesn’t actually prolong the past. Baggage is a burden, and a crutch. Minimalism is both a necessity and incredibly freeing.

Still, I like to imagine someone found that old jacket in the trash, took it home, and sewed it back together. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the things we abandoned came to have a second life with someone else? Well, the past is always being written and rewritten. May all we leave behind be remembered as fondly as a ripped polyester jacket.

The Things I’ve Carried

I’ve written much of my efforts to rid stuff from my life. This has involved selling my CDs, unloading 2/3rds of my books, abandoning a substantial comic book collection on a Philly sidewalk and tossing out countless items ranging from furniture to tiny knickknacks and other ephemera.

Though I’ve rigorously worked to unburden myself, there have been limits to my ruthlessness. I haven’t abandoned everything. I’ve held on to a smattering of items, some for practical purposes, some because they function as a surrogate for my memory and, yes, even some for sentimental reasons. It happens.

I hold on to clothes far longer than I should, I know this. That’s a fairly stereotypical male habit, and it’s for a stereotypical reason: I loathe shopping. Dread fills me every time I enter a store and see a salesperson bearing down on me. The fact that I’ve had to be that salesperson doesn’t change how I feel about it: If I need help, I’ll find you.

A girlfriend introduced me to the wonders of Off-Price Retailers. These brightly lit, garish labyrinths of bargains are an affront to the senses, but they do boast 1 very important perk: The workers don’t offer to help you. In fact, they mostly can’t be bothered to acknowledge your existence, even when you’re standing directly in front of them. It’s a lousy shopping experience, ideal for me. I spend half an hour digging through racks of poorly organized clothes and end up walking out with something other than what I had meant to buy. On a truly successful trip, the only words I will have spoken during the whole ordeal are “Thank you” when the cashier says “Have a nice day.”

In 1 such retailer in San Francisco, I discovered an item that has remained with me ever since: A faux-leather jacket with white piping down the sleeves. Beaten and torn through years of wear and travel, I refuse to part with it. I’ve bought other jackets in the 7 years since, but she remains my main bitch.

Walking Home
Based on statistics, I’ll almost certainly die in this thing.

My less practical mementos serve to mark the passage of time or to serve as reminders of a period long gone. To this end, I’ve held on to almost every note that’s ever been written to me, whether they were letters from a lover or just offhand missives from a friend.* As I work on my book, these epistles provide insight into my thoughts as well as those of the people who passed through my life. They are a reminder that love fades, friendships hold strong and people make a lot of grammatical errors when they’re emotional.

And then there are those items that have no actual use. Mostly, these include gifts from friends or family. To the chagrin of some girlfriends, I abhor receiving presents. Expressing gratefulness, even when it’s genuinely felt, is one of my greater shortcomings. I am one of the most awkward gift-receivers on earth, and I’d prefer it if you just didn’t bother.

The other reason I don’t like receiving gifts, though, is because I actually very much do appreciate the things people buy or make for me. I might appear to not care, but if you have given something to me – even in jest – odds are good that I’ve held onto it over the years. It’s cost me a pretty penny to ship these items across the country.

On my birthday in Philadelphia, my mother sent me an unnecessary birthday present just 2 weeks before I had to pack up all my possessions and mail it to California. The gift was a small mirror with a wide and fragile ceramic frame, crafted by an artist in my hometown. It’s certainly nothing I would ever ask for, and as far as a mirror goes it’s barely large enough for me to see my whole face in it. It’s incredibly impractical.

And every year since I received this gift, it is the first thing I put on my wall and the last thing I take off of it. Some years, it’s been the only piece of art that I put up. I love the thing, impracticality and all.

MirrorI’ve left a lot of people behind, many of whom I will never see in person again. That’s the way of life; nothing unique to my circumstances. In absence, I have done as much as possible to hold onto some fragment of their lives, their presence. Having these souvenirs has, every year as I packed my stuff yet again, provided a brief reminder of my friends from all across the country.

My mementos are a time capsule and they are worth every cent of extra postage I’ve had to pay to keep them.

And so it can be said: Lovers, co-workers, roommates, friends of all stripes, I have carried them with me.

A Collection

*This is not just a habit from my project. I once received a random letter from a boy in Russia – an apparent attempt at initiating a pen pal – and though I never responded, I’ve always held onto that note.

6 Months

March 1st marks the completion of 6 months here in Seattle, halfway through.

Like most people, I’m prone to imbuing these sorts of anniversaries with undue significance.  1 Month, 6 months, 1 year, 10 years.  They offer satisfactory plateaus by which to look back on our progress.

A Normal Life

Even with a life such as mine, which is so rigidly defined by exact years, 6 months, while convenient, is a meaningless passage of time to reflect upon my experience of the city.  Now that I’ve crossed 6 months, it’s likely that I’ll face numerous iterations of this question:  “So, halfway done, what’s your impression of Seattle?”

I can answer with consideration of the people I’ve met, or the bars I’ve frequented, perhaps comment on the job market or the cost of living.  Or I’ll just give a general summation of my time, touching on all of the above.  I can answer the question, but I know it won’t be a satisfactory response.  It’s not because such a question is impossible to answer.  It’s because the answer will always be less revelatory than hoped.  If the person asking is from Seattle, I’m not going to tell them anything they don’t already know, and if they’re a transplant to the city, their experience will likely have been so similar that mine will seem anticlimactic.

But that’s the point.  I am attempting to experience each city like a resident, not like a passing gypsy.  While I feel a kindred spirit with beatniks and vagabonds, I am for all intents and purposes just your average citizen, perpetually new to the city.

My life has its share of oddities and comes with a rather eclectic and demented cast of characters.  But day to day, it’s really quite a normal life.

The Dark Matter of Life

In 3 more months, I will have been on the road for 7 years.  I guess that’s what truly sets my life apart.  It’s not the traveling or the odd jobs, it’s the constant starting over.  My friends who graduated college with me 7 years ago have been building a life forward all these years, accumulating relationships, families, homes, cars and job promotions.  Whereas everything I build up in a year is immediately reduced back to zero on September 1st.

What have I accumulated in these years?  Experience.  Experiences.  Stories.  Friends from all over the country.  New perspectives.

Otherwise, I have less than I had when I started.  Less books, less clothing, less money, less stuff.  And less security.  It’s like I’m living in reverse.

If our existences are finite containers in which to hold our possessions, mine has been systematically emptied of physical items to make room for an indefinable mass, the dark matter of life.  Or maybe I’m full of shit.

Whatever it is, it’s all I have, so there’s nothing to be done but own it.

Six months in Seattle, and what do I have to show for it?  I guess the same thing I have to show for six years in six other cities.

Less hair.

Happiness, The Pursuit of

“‘Money doesn’t buy happiness.’  Do you live in America?  Because it buys a waverunner.” ~ Daniel Tosh

Is the greatest pursuit in life truly happiness?

Is it really that simple?

I think most people would say that finding happiness is the clearest, purest goal that any person could have.  Whether theist or atheist, general consensus states that, if nothing else, finding personal contentment translates to success in life.

I’d like to challenge that notion.

Life, Liberty and the Preservation of Property

We find happiness quite easily.  A favorite song, a good book, an enjoyable movie.  Call these the Aesthetic Joys.  Then there is Chemical Happiness, through alcohol, drugs and even food.  As a society, we frown on this sort of happiness, excepting it as a social exercise but decrying it as ‘fake’ happiness.  It’s a common refrain in religious circles to claim that such pursuits are poor substitutes for the joy of knowing God.  Well, that’s a bit of the ol’ ‘begging the question’, but I’m not going to address that here.

Admittedly, these bring only a temporary happiness, one that can often (but not always) be followed by a precipitous emotional fall.

An even more shallow pursuit is what I deem Possessive Happiness:

Those things we buy, the items we own, they very much do bring about happiness, despite that old canard about what money cannot buy.  People buy new phones, new shoes, new boobs and they are happy.  Maybe it’s a fleeting happiness as they will soon want something else new, but temporary happiness counts for something.

Some of the most wretchedly cheerful people I’ve ever known have been the type of people who can squeal with excitement over a new jacket or designer sunglasses.

Shallow?  Sure, but consumerism is America’s favorite pastime for a reason.

Smiley Smile

There is no such thing as everlasting happiness.

And that includes religion.  Consider how many miserable Christians there are in the world and then tell me ‘God’ brings true joy. I’ve known chronically happy Christians, but I’ve known chronically happy non-Christians, too; it’s not salvation, it’s a personality trait.  Those who find contentment through faith aren’t happy because of God, they are happy because they have found a purpose, both personal and cosmic.  It doesn’t matter if that purpose is real or not, just so long as they believe it.  Which is why faith is so insidious and hard to undermine.

We need purpose.  More so than love, money or comfort.  Now, love, money or comfort can be our purpose, which is why so many people are happy when they achieve them, but it’s the realization of one’s purpose that matters most in the equation.

The standard Creationist argument is that Nature looks designed so it must have a designer.  Those same people would say, “You’re an atheist, that means there is no purpose, just accidental existence.”  Well, they’d be half right.

Purpose, like morality, is personal.  It is not derived from a cosmic force, but instead comes from an internal compass, an evolved conscience.  And again, like morality, the logically and evolutionarily soundest form of purpose is that which benefits the most people, the species as a whole.

All I Want Now Is Happiness for You and Me

If your personal purpose is happiness for yourself, maybe even for your loved ones, that makes surface sense.  It resounds with the sort of simplicity that is often mistaken for nobleness.

But why limit yourself to such meager aspirations?

Shouldn’t our purpose in life be to improve the world, to leave this place better than we found it?  Why settle for mere happiness when we have 70 to 90 years on this planet to make a positive impact?

I find religion to be just as shallow and selfish as consumerism or drug-taking* because 75% of people who ‘find religion’ will never do anything with it more than just enjoy a smug sense of cosmic completeness.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want more proselytizing in the world (please God, no), but when compared to the people who were martyred in the past because they believed their message was The Good News, I find the Joel Olsteen-loving, C.S. Lewis-quoting Christians of the modern age flaccid and contemptible.

But my scorn is not just for the religious.  My real disgust is with my generation, the bitching and moaning generation that has never failed to find a cloud in their silver lining.  Anything that doesn’t result in our immediate happiness is to be thrust from us like a pea from under the Princess’ mattress.

We cannot bear discomfort.  We can’t even bear a Facebook layout change.

Which is why so few of us have a purpose worth a damn.  Because to make a difference, to bring about change, one must be willing to accept change, and there is nothing more uncomfortable than that.


I don’t know what your purpose should be.  It doesn’t have to be religious, political or moral.  In fact, I’d suggest that those aren’t all that important.  Still, if you think being a missionary in China or a Teabagger or an abortion protester is your grand purpose, I can’t say I’ll be supportive of your efforts, but I can at least respect the impetus to act.

We’re not all going to agree what truly matters in this world, but if you believe that contentment is the highest pursuit, I think you suffer from a lack of imagination.

The world is bigger than you and your happiness.  Grow up.  Join in.

Risk something.

*This shouldn’t be read as an anti-consumerism, anti-drug screed.  In fact, buy all the shit you want, take all the drugs and alcohol you want, screw and party and do what makes you happy.  Just don’t make that the entirety of your life.

Where Next?  Vote!

Stuff; or, How Radiohead is Setting Us Free

Monday morning, The Greatest Band On Earth (official title given by the Pope), announced that they were releasing their newest album, The King of Limbs, less than a week from now, Saturday.

The King of Limbs

This has made me more than a little giddy.

What Radiohead has done, yet again, is set up a situation where almost everyone in the world (those with musical taste) will be able to download the new album at once, so that the first listening of the album is a true communal experience.  That is a remarkable feat, but I think their release method is ushering in a far more interesting trend:

The end of physical consumerism.

Radiohead as a band, and Thom Yorke specifically, have commented in the past on their preference for physical media and they famously were resistant to releasing their music on iTunes (their library of albums only became available after they left the major label that retained the rights).  Like In Rainbows before it, The King of Limbs will see a physical release with an expensive, collector’s edition version of the album that includes vinyl records.  So, obviously, Radiohead is not burying the physical medium.

Also, Radiohead was not the first band to release their music digitally, not by a long shot.

Those caveats aside, Radiohead is one of the first and biggest bands to absolutely embrace the new digital medium and find a way to not only utilize the technological shift, but make it profitable.

I will download the new album, and because I am a fanatic and can’t help myself, I will likely end up owning a physical copy of it when it releases in stores (as I have every one of their albums).  But, as far as physical albums go, it will be one of the last I will ever buy (excluding any future Radiohead albums).

When I first started this blog, I wrote a post about selling the majority of my CDs.  Since then, I haven’t bought one physical album, though I’ve bought my fair share of digital albums.  Selling the CDs served a two-fold financial purpose:  It brought in some immediate cash, and it has saved me money each time I have moved since, because it requires one less box of stuff for me to ship.

Which brings me to my point:  I don’t like having stuff.  Every year since I began this project, I have shed various amounts of detritus from my life, whether it be CDs or comic books, clothes or furniture.  When I left Philly, I left behind mounds of things that I had absurdly been moving with me for the previous two years.  I left behind even more upon leaving Costa Mesa, and San Francisco, and Chicago.

When I leave Nashville, I plan to lose one more box worth of stuff that I have been keeping with me all this time:  Books.

As a writer, it’s sacrilegious for me to suggest that owning physical books is anything short of life’s greatest gift.  And the truth is, I’m not getting rid of all my books.  I’m keeping my Fitzgeralds and my Kerouacs and my Dostoevskys and the other favorites.  Selling them off would be like selling off my liver, and frankly, my love of alcohol would never allow me to do either.

But, as gorgeous and spellbinding as To Kill A Mockingbird is, I don’t need to own a hardcover copy of it.  I’ve read it twice in my life, enjoyed it both times, will recommend it to anyone who asks, but having it sit in a box under my 25″ television isn’t serving any purpose, certainly not proving my worldliness.

Since my earliest years, I’ve wanted to own one of those breathtakingly immense libraries that fills shelves from floor to ceiling.  But why?  I don’t own a house and I hope I never will.  I’m not Jay Gatsby with strangers walking through my palatial mansion, checking to see if the pages of my books have been cut.

If, someday, I am well-off enough to have a nice penthouse apartment with room for a library of books, maybe I’ll go back and stock up on the classics (both old and modern).  Certainly, if I ever have a child, I’d like her to be raised in an environment that sets books on their proper altar.

Until then, though, my books are just one more albatross.

What do I need with physical things?

I am a human, I have emotional attachment to objects, and some of those attachments are too strong even for my soulless being to break.  Mostly, though, I hold onto things because it feels like I should own them, not because I need to own them.

When I move again, I’ll have my clothes, my laptop, (hopefully just) one box of books, a box of DVDs (until I can afford a laptop with enough storage to house my film and television collection, I’m holding onto my DVDs), a box of kitchen necessities and a box of my journals/notebooks/photo albums.  And ideally, that is it.

As we talk about being ‘greener’ and leaving less of a footprint on the earth, I can’t help but think that our consumerist need to own things is a step in the wrong direction.

I’m certainly not advocating for the end of books (flipping pages is the most edifying tactile experience one can have), and I don’t foresee them going away any time soon.

But physical albums (and movies for that matter) will be going the way of the T-Rex soon enough, and I’m relishing the evolution.  Yes, the technological shift will bring with it financial pains for most industries (we’ve been going through them for a decade, at least), but they are inevitable changes and only fools will set their feet down and refuse to go with the rushing waters of change.

Less stuff in our lives means less anchors to arbitrarily tie us down.  For the first time in history, traveling around the world does not require a lifetime commitment with the risk of death or financial ruin.  Yet most of us will still stay in place our entire lives, fastened to our bookshelves and our entertainment systems and our recliners and we will be satisfied, because our things will all be there when we get home from work.

It’s been said, you can’t take it with you.

I’m asking, why would you want to?

A Song I’m Loving Now – Life Before Aesthetics

Life Before Aesthetics ~ Denison Witmer (right click the song title and Save As to download)

This is actually a song I’ve been loving for quite some time, but considering my current living arrangements, it certainly strikes home.  I won’t normally post someone else’s words here (unless I’m quoting them), but this song is a catchy tune with words worth reading:

I’ve got more important things
Than shiny diamond rings
And modern furniture

Life before aesthetics was

A nail hole in a wall
A borrowed comforter

Now I wait until the sound
As if I never drowned in my addition
I’m not saying that it’s right
But waking through the night I felt it coming

And it crossed my heart
When did all this start
Stand together, fall apart
And it crossed my heart

Hear the oceans as they sing
The mountains and the spring
And all it means to me

Life before aesthetics is
A mindset that imparts impossibilities

Still I waste the chance to give
As if I’ve never lived throughout deletion
I’m not telling you it’s right
But waking through the night
I felt it happen

And it crossed my heart
When did all this start
Fall together, stand apart
And it crossed my heart

And it crossed my heart
I’ve got more important things
Than shiny diamond rings
And modern furniture.

When did all this start
Life before aesthetics was
A nail hole in a wall
A borrowed comforter

Stand together, fall apart
Hear the oceans as they sing
The mountains and the spring
And all it means to me

And it crossed my heart
Life before aesthetics is
A mindset that imparts impossibilities


I don’t have a lot to add to the song, the words are pretty clear, I think.  The need for things always seems to overwhelm our original happiness.  Another underlying message is how we become less giving the more we have.  We cling to our gold.  Whether you’re Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, Pastafarian or one of those weird religions, I think devotion to ‘stuff’ should be questioned.

People ask me how I can move my stuff so much and I tell them, I don’t really own much.  DVDs, books, a laptop and my clothes.  Everything else I just pick up when I arrive.  There’s a lot of lip service paid to my lifestyle, “Oh, I wish I could do that, but I’m such a pack-rat” sorts of statements.  So be it.

I think Tyler Durden had something to say about the things we own.