Songs that were written all about you

What were the chances that the bartender at the Dutch Cabin--the tiny beer-only, ages-old, Eugene O'Neill-haunted place in downtown New London, Connecticut--would play Broken Social Scene's "Anthem for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" when Phil and Monique and I were there on that random late December night? We had chatted with the bartender about the 17 Relics, about Lotus, about his current band, and he had none of those on cd, but for some reason he had "Anthem...," which made me stop and think, "Why do I know this song?" before realizing: ah. Because it was on a cd G made for me.

And what were the chances that Frijtz would set aside its normal fare of 80s vinyl while I was there tonight to play "There Goes the Fear" instead? I tried to focus on chatting with Jeff about client consultation questionnaires rather than listening to the song, but it crept in anyway. I once (clearly erroneously) read into those lyrics--the soaring "there goes the fear/let it go," especially--a kind of loving encouragement to once and finally set aside my fretting. Now they just seem taunting and sad.

Though I've taken all of G's mixes and dubs from my cd changer and have seriously limited my doses of emo and Canadian pop, even just going out in the world (which is supposed to be a balm) risks hearing something that will send me reeling, if only temporarily and only internally.

So maybe I just say fuck it, just put the summer '03 disc in my Discman tomorrow and turn it up loud and take it running like I used to, when "American English" and "Sharp Hint of New Tears" and "Throw Your Arms Around Me" meant something else entirely. Maybe I run with it fast enough and long enough and hard enough that, for a while at least, only my legs ache, and everything else goes numb.



Last year I made several resoultions, all of them aimed at improving my health and generally making myself a better person (which, I suppose, is just what resolutions are for). Somewhat unsurprisingly, I eventually broke them all--except the one about drinking more red wine, for which my cardiovascular system thanks me, I'm sure.

So this year I'm steering clear of specific resolutions (of the "floss every night" and "drink 64 ounces of water a day" ilk) in favor of one general one shared with me by my colleague Connie: Make new mistakes.

Connie explained the resolution thus: you know you're going to make mistakes somehow or other, so it's not realistic to try to avoid them altogether, but at least you can aim to make (and learn from) new ones so you're not repeating the same ones you made in the past. This, to me, is both simple and brilliant. It requires, first off, that you look at and acknowledge your past mistakes, and then that you let them go so you can start fresh, all with (hopefully) a modicum of guilt.

That much I can do, even though identifying last year's mistakes will involve looking into some caves and under some rocks I'd much rather leave as the dim and unexplored areas they are right now. But once that's done, I can let all of last year's trip-ups fall into darkness again, and can start messing up in all sorts of new and valuable ways. I'm looking forward to that.