Gloomy Monday. February Monday. Terminal Monday!
Funny, haven't had a real job in just less than thirteen years, but still get the Pavlov's dog response-like Monday depression to this day. It's from twenty plus years of working for the man I think, that, coupled with a hard partying lifestyle. Nearly every Monday back then I'd report to work dragging ass and hungover. In pain and bummed, knowing I was getting nowhere, except to my next paycheck that would be ruefully inadequate for anything but barely paying the bills and financing the next party. Spinning my wheels. Every seventh day---Suicide Monday.
Wrote a song once back then that goes like this in part--
Paying the bills
don't give me no thrills
spinning my wheels
can't get over that hill
It was called ironically, "Ain't waiting to die" and the chorus was . . .
ain't waitin' to die
just tryin' to get by
ain't waitin' to die
gonna reach for the sky
ain't . . . .
The happy conclusion was that we all, me and my bandmates, escaped this life of drudgery, quit our day jobs, and moved to Austin or L.A., Chicago or New Orleans to start our new careers as rockers. My friend Chris wrote this part . . .
Sellin' my car
pickin' up my guitar
gonna play in the bars
gonna be big stars (because)
We ain't waitin to die (etc.)
Not waiting to die. Making a point of living, really living while we are still here sucking air. Like (hopefully) everyone else, we were seeking the meaning of life. Surely there was some reason, some purpose, something besides trading our time for rectangular pieces of green paper that we then gave someone else for food and shelter, cars and gas, booze and drugs.
Work, spend, do it again, forever. Wage slaves, working for what? A retirement that you save up for all your life just to reach that great day when you can quit slaving, only to have a heart attack or get hit by a truck? And then, even if you survive, you're old and raisin-like, a walking wrinkle with a limp dick! This was pre-viagra mind you.
In five years time I get two weeks paid vacation? Wow! Only five? Thank you sir, would you like your hand job now or later?
Chris worked at a box factory doing maintenance. Worked on the machines that made the cardboard, and ones that folded and glued the board into . . . fucking brown boxes. Evening shift. Forty hours plus. Chris was the first to quit his job. He had headaches that he thought were caused by the box dust and the noise there, and besides, how could one dedicate a life to music, poetry and art--to the beautiful things of life, the mysterious elusive whatevers . . . that might make one happy and fulfilled, while occupied full time with the depressing pursuit of "the man's" money?
Well, life ain't fair is it. Chris's headaches were caused not by box dust and noise, but by the pressure in his brain from a tumor, a big one, and yes, stage four malignant. (Maybe the dust did cause the tumor--afterthought here) He was able to retrieve his health insurance from the box joint through "Cobra" so had the very best health care. Came home from the first surgery, head half shaved, horseshoe shaped scar sealed up with industrial sized staples, and two black eyes. When I saw him it was all I could do to hold back tears and I had not even close to a clue as what to say, but I didn't have to because he did, to me, and he was smiling even.
"Hey man, the news isn't good but I'm not going to cry over it. They can scoop it out at least a couple more times. Whatever I have left is going to be done right."
And so it was, for the most part at least. He made it much longer than the doctors said he had and we rocked often. And he didn't complain or whine. And that was an inspiration to me, and is to this day.
It was on a Monday, in February, twenty years or so ago, that Chris passed after 31 years of, of . . . whatever it is we do here.
For lack of a better word, life.
And so here it is Monday, again, snow on the ground and another foot to come tonight. The sky is littered with dead nuns and bludgeoned baby seals. Totally depressing! But out my window from here where I type, I've been watching a little finch gathering up twigs for a nest, because he or she knows spring is coming, not even phased over today being another sickening Monday.