“The end of the world as we know it.”

Somehow I missed the music of the ’50s and ’60s and so I’m catching up in the ’10s. A fast Internet connection, a subscription to Pandora, a couple of speakers* in my study—and I can listen to streaming music as I work. R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” caught my ear: fast, funky and provocative. These days, “The end of the world as we know it” seems like the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the ,truth about life in general and my life in particular. Maybe you feel the same way.

Everyday there is something new to learn: a new version of Photoshop, shifting my domains from one registrar to another, launching a blog. And those are the easy ones. It gets tougher. How do I support an adult daughter who is learning how to coach a young adult son who is learning how to be a good partner to his girl friend, both of whom are in the sink or swim school of hard knocks for being good parents of a new baby-due-any-minute-now, all at the same time. That’s a learning curve! If you followed the family tree, you’ll note that I have to learn how to become a decent grandfather and great-grandfather all at the same time. I’m too young for that kind of challenge. It really is the end of the world as I know it.

In the ’80s, R.E.M. sang , “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”

R.E.M. “And I Feel Fine…” album cover

“…I feel fine.”

Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself
churn. Locking in, uniforming, book burning, blood
letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a votive, light a candle. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crushed, uh-oh, this means no
fear cavalier. Renegade steer clear! A tournament,
tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions,
offer me alternatives and I decline.

I listen to myself churn—especially on days when the news sounds like a tournament of lies, screaming for solutions and alternatives. There’s something inside of me that wants to rise to the occasion. I’d like to help end poverty, war, homelessness, divorce, sexism. I aspire to be someone who offers alternatives to despair, anger, opting out. Since I’m not a savior or a superman, I’ve got to choose or go crazy. Some days I make my choices and some days I decline. Some days it takes a long time to muster the courage to join the battle against the tournament of lies.

Those are the spiritual challenges: saying yes to what’s in front of me; sticking with a challenge; not letting the churning get me down. On really hard days, I resort to lighting a votive candle. Even though it won’t solve any of my problems, it’s a good symbol of taking a small step to shed some light on whatever darkness I’m battling at the moment. Every time the little flame catches, I wonder why I don’t like a candle more often.

The complete lyric
“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine”
(on R.E.M.’s album, The Best Of The I.R.S. Years 1982-1987)

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds,
snakes, an aeroplanes, Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn – world
serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs. Feed
it off an aux speak, grunt, no, strength, Ladder
start to clatter with fear fight down height. Wire
in a fire, representing seven games, a government
for hire and a combat site. Left of west and coming in
a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck. Team
by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing! Fine, then. Uh oh,
overflow, population, common food, but it’ll do. Save
yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs,
listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and
the revered and the right, right. You vitriolic,
patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty
psyched.

[Chorus:]

It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

Six o’clock – TV hour. Don’t get caught in foreign
towers. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself
churn. Locking in, uniforming, book burning, blood
letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a votive, light a candle. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crushed, uh-oh, this means no
fear cavalier. Renegade steer clear! A tournament,
tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions,
offer me alternatives and I decline.

[Chorus 2x]

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental
drift divide. Mountains sit in a line, Leonard
Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester
Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You
symbiotic, patriotic, slam book neck, right? Right.
______

* I’m running Airfoil to stream from my Mac to the stereo over the Wi-Fi network via Airport Express. Beautiful!

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About David

Writer, editor, desktop publisher | tool maker, story teller, image builder
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