Monday, March 7, 2011

Lucky Man

"The full verse (2 Corinthians 11:19) reads, "ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise." - St. Paul

"You don't suffer for your art, you suffer for your relationships. So, you just live man, just live." - Bob Dylan

"The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them" - Paul Westerberg, The Replacements

Neurosis, I believe, is thinking how the world should be, not how it really is. Too deep a thought for a Monday morning, perhaps, but when you want to figure out yourself that's not a bad start. How many times have you asked the question; "Why don't people just think the same way as I do?" 

St. Paul, Bob Dylan, and Paul Westerberg were three wise men. They are much smarter than I. Yet they all asked the same question. When Paul started the Christian Church, God knew he would have rivals. Paul would make more people angry than happy. So telling him to smile and deal with "fools" rather than fight them was a way for him to handle the stress so that he could achieve a greater good, spreading a Gospel.

When Bob Dylan became huge in the 1960s every writer, musician, and artist hung on his every word, thinking Bob had the answers. Then he went electric, he embraced country and rock instead of folk, and suddenly he had critics, enemies, even. He also saw his marriage fail. Bob Dylan knew how human he was, and how his sanity was more important than his art. What he had to say, was, you just live through the hard times and not fight the impending tides of disappointment.

Paul Westerberg saw less talented musicians and songwriters become multimillionaries during his heyday with The Replacments in the 1980s. He was constantly tagged as "critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful". Westerberg was confident enough in his talent but realistic enough in his alcoholism to know where his "place" was at the time. His thought that trying to satisfy people who didn't make you happy would keep you under the thumb of failure every time.

While I may be lesser than all three men, I relate to their mindsets. At some point, I find maturity is about knowing who and what you are rather than doing the right thing all the time. I won't get into the pop psychology of "owning yourself". This blog is the anti-Oprah, if it's anything at all. But being able to understand what makes you tick can help your interactions with people important to you, like your family.

I struggle with being the best I can be for my wife and kids. Wouldn't it be easy if everyone was perfect, we all got along brilliantly every minute of every day, and there were never any dirty dishes? Uh huh. That's not how our world works. I need to be better than what I am. Learning to harness your temper, pick the right battles to wage, and be more understanding are just as important as bringing home a paycheck and being strong. Suffering fools, just livin', and appeciating the ones who love us best is, were, and are good enough for Paul, Bob and Paul. It should be good enough for dumb, ole me. The next time there's dirty clothes, a full sink, a changed female mind, or some new stress I didn't see coming. I'll have this blog to remind me not to lose my mind. After all, if so many people can just relax and get over it, so can I. I'm lucky to have what I have.

You would think I'd play Uncle Bob or Mr. Westerberg. But today's about me getting my mental act together. The song is Lucky Man by The Verve. After all, happiness more or less its just a change in my liberty.


  1. Did Oasis influence The Verve or did The Verve influence Oasis? This is too heavy for Monday.

  2. Rich Ashbrook kind of did his own thing. But Oasis came first they deserve some credit. Sorry for the heavy.

  3. Calm, reasoned perspective so early on a Monday... I am not ready for this. Must. Have. Coffee.
    Great post though, really. Would save me a lot of stress to not react to others perceptions.

  4. Awesome post, highlighting a couple of my fellow Minnesotans. Paul Westerberg is the real deal - I just wish he toured / played more often.


  5. If I wasn't a father, this is entirely too soon in this young week to throw something of this magnitude out there, but, as it is, I have been awake since somewhere's around 0700. I don't have much to add because you hit it this pitch out of the park. I am this guy. I have been blessed with so much but I forget easily and often.

  6. thanks all...don't worry I'll be lobbing nonsense and softballs by wednesday...

  7. Oh Lance, I have something for you!!! After reading this post, I know you'll appreciate it. I'll email you.

  8. Yes, sir. It's taken me years to figure this out. Control the temper, pick the battles, be more understanding. You see, I am the man trying to be a woman. My husband is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve. And has a shit ton of shoes. And takes an hour to fix his hair. Oh, how I love our twisted ways....

  9. "Neurosis, I believe, is thinking how the world should be, not how it really is." -- I didn't know where you were going with that at first, but in light of the rest of the post I understand now.

    It's interesting how our human mind works. Maturity brings with it understanding and appreciation for the smaller things. Some of that comes about by us realizing that we will not be a professional athlete, rock star, movie star, and we find our ways to justify how/why we didn't achieve our dreams falling back on the knowledge that we are blessed right where we are. For many it is an empty understanding, but eventually we truly understand what is most important and we become thankful that those dreams didn't come to fruition.

    Nice piece.

  10. WRONG!!! Oasis was formed in 1991, The Verve in 1989.

  11. Read this on a Saturday.
    Here's hoping you didn't lose your mind this week :)
    Though I haven't suffered the same trials of St Paul,Dylan, Westerberg or the people of Japan.
    I did have a cold this week.
    I am better now.
    It is beautiful out.
    I have a cup of DD coffee.
    I am lucky.

  12. THAT is true. I get frustrated because I want people and the world to be like they should be. And not how they are.