Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The One Where Your Narrator Gets All Nostalgic And Shit

On this day in history, the United States became the first (and only) nation to utilize weapons of mass destruction when it dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, effectively ending World War II. 140,000 Japanese citizens died.

Sounds awful, right? Read on.

Revisionists claim this was an "unnecessary measure," and that the United States only did this to intimidate the Soviet Union in the advent of postwar negotiations of who would control what in Europe. This is absolute codswallop. We had to avoid a shooting war in Japan, where the idea of surrender was unheard of in their culture. The Allies would be fighting civilians as well as soldiers. The Defense Department speculated casualties in the millions for the United States Army. Not hundreds of thousands - MILLIONS. Among the potential dead would have been Charles E. Rowan, my maternal grandfather.

It was a simple case of pain and suffering now or much more pain and suffering later. Nothing to do with pressuring Stalin to shut his yap during negotiations. I will concede however that an unintended effect of this act was the Cold War. But quite frankly, that was nothing more than the diplomatic equivalent of seeing who had the bigger dick.

On a completely unrelated note: no response yet from Squalus? Darn, guess I won't be sleeping tonight.

On an even more unrelated note: there are a few songs out there that I can say truly tap deep into my emotions. Most of them are Kinks, Who, or Beatles songs, the occasional Zappa song (let's face it, Frank wasn't the most emotional man in the world)...but this one I just happened to discover at an opportune time.

The first girl I ever "knew" in the Biblical sense was a girl from Bedford named Sommer. We made a lot of big plans prematurely, which in retrospect was stupid, but made perfect sense for my 16 year old and her 17 year old brains. Regardless, it ended painfully when she left me, only to want me back weeks later, then dump me again, and my fears of infidelity (at least EIGHT times in less than six months) were confirmed after the fact.

My first real job ever was working as a DJ at wedding receptions. On one cold, dewy Indiana night I went to the bowling alley in Seymour for my first night on the job. I was helping my boss' 30 year old son Bill run karaoke. Bill and some girl around my age did this song. As you know with karaoke, the lyrics are posted on the screen. It struck a chord for me, both lyrically and musically, the lyrics were obvious (I'll post them in just a second), while the feel of the line "And now our bodies are oh so close and tight" sent chills down my spine.

It wasn't until just tonight that I learned that line uses the B-flat chord, which I have officially deemed my favorite chord. The Kinks use it in "He's Evil," OK Go uses it in "Here It Goes Again"...it gives that slightly haunting minor feel without going into a different key. You'll notice it - it's all about the feel, you don't have to hear it and say, "Oh, well, that's a b-flat..." you'll feel it.

I'd also like to add - as you'll see in the printed lyrics - that the third "movement" of the song made me laugh, and in turn helped me get over what was the roughest period of my life to that point. It has very witty - and jaw-droppingly accurate - words.

This is the first time I've ever discussed this with anyone, and I'm pleased to have gotten it off of my chest. Without further ado, "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" by Meat Loaf:

Paradise By The Dashboard Light
I. Paradise

Boy:
I remember every little thing
As if it happened only yesterday
Parking by the lake
And there was not another car in sight
And I never had a girl
Looking any better than you did
And all the kids at school
They were wishing they were me that night

And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C'mon! Hold on tight!
C'mon! Hold on tight!

Though it's cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light

Girl:
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed

Ain't no doubt about it
Baby got to go and shout it
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed

Boy:
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed

Baby doncha hear my heart
You got it drowning out the radio
I've been waiting so long
For you to come along and have some fun

And I gotta let ya know
No you're never gonna regret it
So open up your eyes I got a big surprise
It'll feel all right
Well I wanna make your motor run

And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C'mon! Hold on tight!
C'mon! Hold on tight!

Though it's cold and lonley in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
Paradise by the dashboard light

You got to do what you can
And let Mother Nature do the rest
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely--

We're gonna go all the way tonight
We're gonna go allt he way
An tonight's the night...

Radio Broadcast:
Ok, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going here, two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth, there's the wind-up and there it is, a line shot up the middle, look at him go. This boy can really fly! He's rounding first and really turning it on now, he's not letting up at all, he's gonna try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center, and here comes the throw, and what a throw! He's gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he's out! No, wait, safe--safe at second base, this kid really makes things happen out there. Batter steps up to the plate, here's the pitch--he's going, and what a jump he's got, he's trying for third, here's the throw, it's in the dirt--safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base! He's taking a pretty big lead out there, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher glances over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted down the third base line, the suicide squeeze in on! Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close, here's the throw, there's the play at the plate, holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!

II. Let Me Sleep On It

Girl:
Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further--!

Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?
Do you need me!?
Will you never leave me!?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life!?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife!?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!!!?
Will you love me forever!!!?

Boy:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning

Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning

Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning

Girl:
I gotta know right now!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further
Do you love me?
And will you love me forever?

Boy:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it!!!

Girl:
Will you love me forever?

Boy:
Let me sleep on it!!!

Girl:
Will you love me forever!!!

III. Praying for the End of Time

Boy:
I couldn't take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
I started swearing to my god and on my mother's grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!

So now I'm praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don't think that I can really survive
I'll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I'm praying for the end of time
It's all that I can do
Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!!!

Boy:
It was long ago and it was far away
and it was so much better than it is today

Girl:
It never felt so good
It never felt so right
And we were glowing like
A metal on the edge of a knife
***************************************************

It's worth mentioning that Todd Rundgren plays guitar on this track, his fellow Utopia bandmates Kasim Sultan and Roger Powell on bass and keyboards respectively, Edgar Winter (brother of Johnny, leader of The Edgar Winter Group - they did "Frankenstein," which sounds like a bitchin' outtake from Hot Rats) on saxophone, and Max Weinberg of Springsteen's E-Street Band on drums, though you may know him better as the drumming bandleader on Conan. Todd also produced the album.

As for Sommer, there wasn't ever any real closure or confrontation on it. And that's okay. That summer - 2004 - she was on staff at the church camp, and I again learned how her reputation as a trollop was almost the stuff of humor with other members of the staff. We were able to talk for about a half an hour, just catching up on what we were up to, only to be interrupted by someone else who needed her for something right as our conversation was about to get interesting.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't entirely sad when I learned she'd moved out and shacked up with her coworker at McDonald's, passing on college (though she'd gotten accepted) and her parents hadn't heard from her in a few months. That was November 2005. I next heard about her when I saw she'd been taken in for questioning, then later arrested, for petty theft. To quote a Kinks song title, "easy come, there you went."

In the long run, I'm glad what happened happened. It made me bitter for a long, long while...though in time I just became smarter and infinitely more cautious. I also can't stress enough how happy I am with Shelley. Sommer pretended to like what I liked. The Who was my favorite band at that point and - what do you know? - they were hers, too...though years later rediscovering her on Facebook I saw her interests were the likes of Nascar and country music. She lied to impress me, then messed around in my absence.

I don't have to worry about that with Shelley. When we're working on math homework or just sitting in my room I can put my iTunes on random and just about 95% of what comes on she likes. To my surprise, she DOES like the bizarre ramblings of Beefheart and the what-pop-music-sounds-like-in-Hell of The Residents, and yet she's largely unimpressed by Cheap Trick barring a few standout tracks. She digs Charley Patton and Skip James, but passes on Ministry and Iron Maiden. The greatest thing about our relationship for both of us is that we're allowed to be ourselves with one another.

Anyway - two more days of this infernal math class. It cannot end soon enough!

Alex

3 comments:

m@ said...

Meatloaf.
My biggest memory of that song is from a cast party for something at JCCT. I remember one particular, saintly, virginal cast member dancing not so saintly or virginal to it.
Some images just get burned in so brightly they don't fade over time.

Squalus Maximus said...

Alex,

Sorry I haven't replied before now...I was out saving the world.

Also, my anonymity must remain.

And before I forget - I want to wish you a good time on you trip to Gulf Shores. Have fun and take your sunscreen.

-Squalus

m@ said...

See, that's the crap I'm talking about.

Remain anonymous and then throw that line of bait out there about his trip.

Why don't you just go ahead and say, "Hey, look, I am now putting a piece of information out there to prove how nifty and in the skinny I am. Aren't I clever?"

Ridiculous.