There’s nothing that affirms the bonds of friendship as hearing from a friend who is going through some troubles, and having that friend say:
I’m having a shitty day. Call me. I need to hear you laugh at me. That always makes me laugh.
…and knowing that that friend is actually serious.
The power of cynicism… Heh.
After that phone call, I walked around in the sunshine in my neighborhood, watching people, thinking about how silly all this seems sometimes. People take their toils so seriously. They see doom and gloom at every opportunity. They fall in love, they fall out of love, they get mad or are filled with sadness…
My view of the base nature of humanity, the absurdity of corruption, the bonds that are forged by a lack of perspective, all that combined in me and came out as a cosmically-inspired laugh.
It didn’t hurt (or help, I suppose) that I encouraged and extended this feeling by queuing up Bad Religion on my iPod, no doubt inspired by the gravity with which I’ve been experiencing life. The brutal, cynical straight talk of Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz always cheers me up. Or should I say Doctor Graffin? How many other punk frontmen have advanced degrees? Not many!
The absurdist humor in the advice given in “Slumber” is a perfect example. The narrator is attempting to cheer up a sad and isolated young man by pointing out how close death is, so why not choose to live as well as possible in the meantime?
so, you’re feeling unimportant,
‘cuz you’ve got nothing to say,
and your life is just a ramble,
no one understands you anyway
well, I’ve got a piece of news, son,
that might make you change your mind,
your life is historically meaningful,
and spans a significant time
slumber will come soon,
and you are helping put it to sleep,
side by side we do our share faithfully
assuring that slumber will come soon
well, now do you feel a little better?,
lift up your head and walk away,
knowing we’re all in this together,
for such a short time anyway
there is just no time to parade around sulking,
I would rather laugh than cry,
the rich, the poor, the strong, the weak,
we share this place together,
and we pitch in to help it die
I’m not good at giving morals,
and I don’t fear the consequence,
if life makes you scared and bitter,
at least its not for very long
Even the rueful self-awareness of the narrator in pointing out their own failure in delivering good news in such a dark way underscores the humanity of the message.
What else can I say but “Fuckin’ right”.