thebestjakeyoung

I don't want to read this crap.

Listen

There’s a clanging, a constant beating. There’s a tolling of a bell and an eternally reverberating strum of other worldly discord that I’ve always been able to hear since my first wasted breath and for three and a half decades it’s crept ever closer and grown louder. We all hear it but are programmed to ignore it like how you can always see the end of your nose but your brain chooses to ignore it without your consent. It’s never quiet or still for one second.  Beat. Tick. Ring. Clang. Strum. Then one day not only is the whole dirge so loud you can’t stand it anymore but it’s so hopelessly and irrevocably out of tune that it feels like physical weight. Suddenly you wonder how long you’ve known and if you could’ve fixed it but you’re pretty sure it was a machine built only to malfunction so it’s purpose and execution are faulty and perfect at the same time. The worst part about feeling like you’re doing everyone a favor is realizing that you’re never going to matter enough for your presence OR absence to even register on anyone’s radar in any lasting way.  You never have. You never will. Dust in the wind or some other bullshit song lyric that was never as deep as any number of chemical reactions lead you to believe it was. Wake up. Breathe. Keep breathing. Cry in your cereal and laugh at all the right times too. That’s what we need, captain. Right the ship. Write the tragedy. Everyone is waiting on you to realize you’re not some exploding star or a goddamn David Bowie song and even if you were, stars gasp their dying breaths in the sky above you every night and shout their final fuck yous into space in the most terrible fashion and all you see is a twinkling little painting that’s always hung just so since you were blissfully unaware of any of it. You’ve never known. None of it ever mattered and none of it ever will so you might as well eat shit. Fuck you.

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Maybe don’t

I miss my little dog Dayze so much. She was perfect in every way that dogs are all always perfect. Her love was unwavering and in her final weak days it seemed like she felt as though she was letting us down by not being the playful puppy she had been. That crushed me and makes me feel like I’m dying a thousand silent deaths every time I think of it. My family was better because of her. She helped us with things we didn’t realize were wrong and she bridged emotional gaps that we may have never realized we were standing on the edge of and shouting into a void. She wasn’t just joyful. She was joy. She was joy and love and excitement and curiosity and loyalty and completeness and no words will ever be good enough or poetically arranged in a way to even come close to paying her the proper respect she deserves or expressing the depth of loss i feel now that she’s gone. I miss her so much. The worst part is how undeniably her loss has driven home the fact that I can never hold anyone tightly enough to hold onto them forever.  We’re all going to die and some days i feel like it’s a race where the winner gets to experience less grief than everyone else. If I’m being 100% honest, lately I cannot make myself care about the pain that others might feel if I died. I want to and i simply cannot. I just don’t want to wait around for it anymore and that’s all that life has felt like for too long. Nothing any of us will ever do is going to ever matter outside of our tiny bubbles of existence. Waiting to die feels like all we were really created to do. It doesn’t matter how much I love anyone. It won’t save them and it only makes losing them worse. This human experience feels like a disease that infects with love, regret, blah blah fuckity blah. Kill the virus. Contain the outbreak. Destroy the carriers. Do your part, soldier.

Loved ones, Nike, and Shia Labeouf

As it happens on so many afternoons at work, today I looked all over the building for Courtney, leading her to believe I had important news, only to start the conversation with “what if there was a superhero who…”

She listened. She always listens, and when I’d exhausted far more words than necessary, she said, simply, and without further commentary, “write it.”

I left to run an errand and took the long way so I could listen to music in my car, and I couldn’t shake “write it.” It wasn’t dismissive or patronizing. It wasn’t exasperated or distant.

To me, today, it was everything.

Write it.
Do it.
Be it.
Sing it.
Play it.
Record it.
Tell it.

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There are people in my life that have taught me great things- the how tos and whys and why nots- but the greatest influences in my life are the ones who have, without reservation, let me be me and wholeheartedly believed that I was enough.

“WRITE IT.”

She didn’t even think twice. She just knew without question that even if I never do, I can. This is made infinitely¬† more amazing by the fact that some of the ideas to which she tirelessly listens are the worst that anyone’s ever had.

If no one has ever told you, let me be the first:

YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.

You’ll need help. You’ll need instruction. You’ll fall and you’ll fail and you’ll learn and fail again.

Listen to me.

YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.

Follow the fear. Be in the moment. Say yes. Listen. If it feels weird, keep doing it. It will be ok in the end and if it’s not ok, it isn’t the end.

So, a lifetime of thanks to anyone that never said, “maybe you shouldn’t.”

-Courtney, for always knowing I can write/act/create/improvise it. You’ve more faith in me than I deserve and I too often give you far too little credit for being the kindest human I know.

-Mom, for always letting me sing.

-Dad, for saying all the things you say to mom about me in private. I won’t say them here because if you wanted that business known, you’d tell me yourself. It’s ok. I understand why you don’t. Clearly, I didn’t inherit that reserved quality and I’ve ever refused to have the openly sentimental side of me quelled. Deal.

-Rebecca, for encouraging me to have big, wild, and unapologetically reckless adventures and take risks. I may have never ended up in Missouri if I hadn’t followed your example. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve another few thousand words or more on what it’s like just to be your brother.

-David, for telling me to get going and not trying to talk me out of leaving town, even though it was clearly what I wanted from the conversation, the day I headed north and I made your office my last stop on the way out of town, unannounced and afraid, on a random Monday morning over ten years ago.

-Ben, for being the first to really show me what it looks like to give zero f###s. I took the first steps to really becoming ME when I met you.

-Arlon, for being the first person to ever truly value me as a musician and a collaborator, and for being the first to tell me it’s ok for a white boy from Louisiana to rap.

You’re my biggest fans and I’m nothing without you. Then again, maybe I’m¬† exactly enough.

don’t dream it. be it.

They WILL

Will they/won’t they romantic tension is one of the most overdone plot devices in television, and while the hint of a love angle isn’t enough by itself to keep me coming back, if I like a show for enough other reasons, I am a known sucker for the multi season romantic tease.

Thoughts of this are brought on today by my last few days’ catching up on Downton Abbey. The will they/won’t they tension created by one or two meaningful glances or awkward queries per season (for FIVE SEASONS now) between Mr. Hughes and Ms. Carson is masterful.
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The writers of that show make me forget about it and then give an off hand nod to it that’s so subtle it may be imperceptible to anyone not fully engaged, but at the same time so intense I think about it the entire next day, leading me to post a rambling blog entry.

The trick, as I see it, is making the audience still care about the characters after they finally hook up. I cared so little about Ross and Rachel BEFORE their pivotal after-hours-at-the-coffee-shop make out sesh that doing away with that tension made the “I Ross take thee, Rachel” bit very anticlimactic for me. Then again, Friends was never really my thing.

All the scorn and jilting that quintisential everyman Philip J Fry suffered at the hands of his beloved mutant Turanga Leela on Futurama was funny and relatable until they finally became a couple. Then she was still mean and it kinda just made me hate Leela. In fact, it kinda made me hate Katey Segal, which is unreasonable and unfair, but I was and will always remain heavily emotionally invested in that cartoon.

The awkward Jim/Pam angle on the Office was sweet, but the confessional nature of that show made it seem so real that when, in later seasons,  their marriage appears to be failing, the show became extremely uncomfortable for me to watch.

I believe the finest example of this plot device succeeding is the marriage of Andy Dwyer to April Ludgate Karate Dwyer on NBC’S soon-to-ride-off-into-the-sunset Parks and Recreation.
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Their relationship, their individual characters, and the show at large got a hundred times more interesting when they ended the chase and got them together. This has everything to do with the emotional investments we made in these characters early on, and even more to do with the fact that Parks and Rec is, possibly more than any other half hour comedy in my lifetime, a show about personal growth.

Honorable mention goes to the current season of New Girl on Fox. They let Nick and Jess AND Schmidt and CeCe get together so early in the series, AND broke them up so quickly that now the show has become a fairly compelling double shot of will they/won’t they get back together. Lord knows I need something to keep me from screaming at my TV about how much I hate Coach.

Also, props to Kevin Arnold for keeping Winnie Cooper AND Becky Slater at arms length for the duration of The Wonder Years. Respect.
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Adnan Syed is a Real Person.

I stated listening to Serial on the recommendation of friends. All I knew was that it was a podcast whodunit story. I thought that sounded neat and I was impressed with how real it felt. Then I researched it a little more and found out that it feels real because it is a true story and the people on the show are not actors. It’s not a show at all. It’s investigative journalism. As is so often the case, I was late to the party and my mind was kinda blown.

I’m not sure how I feel about demanding to be entertained by the details surrounding the actual death of an actual high school girl. Real crime drama is nothing new and this case is old news. Still, on the same day I discovered the truth, I was cracking jokes and making up insane theories for my own amusement with no respect for the dead, the imprisoned, or anyone else. These lives were fodder for my amusement.

On one hand, what if Sarah Koenig or some handful of Reddit sleuths exonerates Adnan? That’s great, right? Sure it is. But where does that leave us in the way we trust or mistrust the justice system? Can a podcast topple the whole house of cards and affect change? Am I as terrible of a person as I feel like I am for having that buried deep down and unspoken “ignorance is bliss” attitude? I probably am. Adnan Syed is a real person and if he’s innocent, then he deserves to be free at the very least, right? Right. So what really happens if that happens? Does every court case that isn’t cut and dry get subjected to online scrutiny? Does this become a trend? Is this where revolution starts? Am I overreacting? Maybe on all counts. I hope so? I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel or how to really even start to figure it out.

On the other hand, what if we find out he’s as guilty as the court rightfully decided he is? Consider what it’s like for his family at that point to know that a million trendy podcast fans clutching their smart phones are mulling over the irrevocable tragedy of their family over coffee in the afternoon like some nouveau hipster book club – like their lives are just there for our dissection and consumption. What if it isn’t resolved in any way that the mass market demands it be resolved? I mean, there can’t really be an ENDING to this, can there? It will surely end up a memorable and polarizing moment that will ultimately be a frustrating contemplation on the nature of truth.

What if he’s exonerated amid all this sudden passionate theorizing and reexamining but he’s ACTUALLY GUILTY?

I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t listen to Serial. I’m going to because it’s as gripping as anything I’ve encountered in a long time, but I will listen from here forward with a new set of ears. I AM saying that to me it raises questions that go beyond whether or not Adnan killed Hae. Its popularity is a chilling snapshot of our instantly gratifying digital world and its implications. And no, I don’t think I’m reading too much into that. I think we are witnessing a landmark production and an important and challenging piece of art that will not only last forever, but continue to raise questions and stir passions for a long time. And isn’t that the purpose of art?