Thursday, November 17, 2011

Music

I’m not really that into music. Don’t get me wrong, I like music. I listen to it all day, I dance to it in clubs or in my living room, and I sing it with all my heart in the shower. I have at least 5 complete musicals memorized, ready to perform at a moment’s notice, and although I haven’t played the piano regularly in over ten years, my fingers can never unlearn “My Heart Will Go On.” Music is a constant presence in my life, and it contributes greatly to my happiness.

That said, I can count the number of concerts I’ve attended on one hand. My non-musical theatre repertoire consists of things I heard on the radio or stuff my friends sent me. Pre-Pandora I could name at most two bands that formed after 1990 and none that my parents couldn’t also name. Music and I like to keep things casual between us. We hang out, we have fun together, but we don’t let things get too serious.

I would never list music as one of my interests on some internet profile. I suppose I may have, in the past, before I met people with real dedication to music. People who, for instance, have tracked down the lead singers of obscure bands that disbanded ten years ago, resulting in said singer sending them a CD containing unpublished tracks this singer produced on their living room floor using nothing but an 8-track, a gramophone, and Scotch tape. People who have done all of this and yet still don’t consider themselves “that into music.”

I have no intention of ever putting as much effort into anything in my life as music subculturists put into their aggrotech-cybergrind electro-industrial fusion.

Pictured: too much effort.
  Therefore I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I have no idea what goes on in the world of music, whether in its creation or consumption. I do, however, know enough to know that this is a stupid, stupid song:


Now, will someone please explain to me why this song got a big cheer when it came on at this party I went to a few weeks ago? Keep in mind, this was a Halloween party, and yet somehow this song generated more excitement than “Thriller.” In fact the level of enthusiasm for this song was that usually reserved exclusively for “Don’t Stop Believing.”

I just don’t get it. The song is not brand new. It doesn’t have a particularly good beat. It’s not a good song at all by any measure. Worst of all, and I didn't even know this until I looked up that video, the goddamn title contains a typo*. Strangest of all, the crowd at the party was wealthy 30-somethings, effectively the “1%.” With all their resources, you’d think they could afford better taste.

The gap between rich and poor is supposedly growing, but culturally at least, I don’t see it. Rich people may spend more money on music and fashion and education, but they come out looking and sounding the same as poor people.

If you’re one of the two dozen young people who still believe that hard work and intelligence will allow you to rise to the top, I have a very important message for you. Although I can’t afford to discourage you given how bad things are, I really feel someone should let you know: the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the sun, it’s a dinky compact florescent bulb in a sad, musty basement. When you reach your goal, when you become the 1% or whatever it is you’re after, you won’t find yourself admitted to a stunning world of advanced culture. The Brandenburg concertos won’t be playing as you enter the gilt palaces of the rich and influential. You won’t be greeted by high-minded sophisticates in silks. You don’t get to join insightful conversations on engrossing subjects. No. Instead, you’ll find a stale room filled with Zach Galifianakis clones discussing the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Detroit while the fucking Black Eyed Peas play endlessly in the background.

But hey, at least there's a song (that's actually good) about this very thing:


Good luck,

S. Misanthrope

*"Gotta" means "got to" or "have to" as in "I gotta run to the store, because the milk went bad, and I need to feed my cat." It does not mean "got a" or "have a" as in "I got a fresh carton of milk from the store, but it was too late; Fluffy had died." That's nonsense. And before some asshole shows up lecturing on the evolution of slang terminology, FUCK OFF. The whole point of words like "gotta" is to shorten and simplify phrases, not add unnecessary letters.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Egg Salad Paradox

I run into the same problem every time I try to make egg salad. Let me first say that I love egg salad. I’ve never ordered an egg salad sandwich, egg salad wrap, or egg salad salad and regretted it. Eggs are tasty, versatile, and filling. The “salad” part makes it sound healthy while actually just adding mayonnaise. Other than the smell, there’s really no downside.

Except for one teeny, tiny, crippling neurosis.

Eggs are great in part because they go with so many things. Steak and eggs, bacon and eggs, ham and eggs, eggy-in-the-basket, eggs on toast, eggs benedict, eggs with cheese, eggs with veggies, five bagillion kinds of omlettes, eggs with hot sauce. They make cakes and cookies and custards. They even go in drinks like egg nog or Rocky’s power-protein shakes. Pretty much the only thing they don’t go with is chicken, which kind of makes sense since that would be like chicken-wrapped chicken. Even for a dedicated consumer of animal flesh, it seems a bit much to eat the baby and its mother at the same time, in the same dish.

Because of the versatility of eggs, every time I plan an egg salad feels like a wild adventure. Will I use red onion or green? Will there be garlic or pickle relish in the mix? Mayonnaise or salad dressing? Which of the dozen or so mustards in my fridge will make the cut? Will I top it off with some subtle spices or go crazy with the hot sauce? What wild card ingredient will get thrown in at the last second?

Every concoction is unique, enticing, and unerringly delicious, and yet, when the preparation is complete and the time for consumption at hand, something stops my fork and seals my lips tight. My entire body becomes physically incapable of ingesting eggs in any form whatsoever. It’s like some mental switch, moments ago set to “If you don’t give me egg salad right now, I will murder your family,” is now set to “If I so much as look at an egg, I will lie down on the floor and vomit until I die.”

For a long time, I assumed this was happening because my egg salads went horribly wrong at the last minute somehow. That isn’t the case, though, because if I wait a day or two before eating it, after my anti-egg psychosis has faded, I discover that what I made is in fact incredibly delicious. The problem, though, aside from having to find something else to eat after my brain decides eggs are unacceptable, is that egg salad keeps for about 3 days. If my egg madness sticks around for 3 or 4 days, I’m out 3 or so perfectly good meals.

I don’t really expect anyone to find this story interesting, but I haven’t written in a while so I can’t afford to be picky here. Also I figured there’s some chance that I’m suffering from some documented egg-phobia condition. Maybe someone else has had this problem and can point me to some support groups or “How to Eat Eggs” self-help books. Or maybe Plato was right: maybe you can only desire a thing when you haven’t attained it yet.

At least when that thing is egg salad.

Love and sulfur-scented kisses,

S. Misanthrope