25 December 2009

Songs that save your life

Sometimes it is the smallest things. You're beaten, you're down, you're alone, you don't know where to go or what to do.

Then a door cracks open and out spills just a sliver of light and suddenly you can see and you just KNOW that you can reach over and jerk that sucker open and walk through that doorway, out of the darkness and into a new place, a place that is, at the very least, different from where you are.

I don't know why songs are so often the thing that pops the door open. Something in music connects right up to Control Central right down there in the middle without having to travel through the buzzing wiring in our brains. It just gets in there and does what it does and we end up laughing or sobbing or gasping or standing up and shaking parts that we didn't even know we could shake anymore.

So there I was a while ago, driving around. I lived with someone who hated me and who was perpetually unhappy, both about my existence and about everything else in general. I had felt FAIL for so long that I couldn't even imagine what WIN was anymore.

I was getting on the freeway, heading home, feeling like crap. And then "Jump" by Van Halen came on the classic rock station.

I KNOW. Can anything be more silly or ridiculous? It's not great music. It's not gonna be on anyone's top 100 list. But that day, in that place, it GOT me.

Even though I was hearing it on the radio, the thousand times I had seen the video rushed back to life in my head and I was driving along seeing that nutty video play in my head and singing and laughing.

"Might as well jump." Damn right.

Suddenly I knew to the marrow of my bones that I was going to be ok. No matter how much anyone tried to keep me down, I was going to get up, to jump, and the jump was NOT going to be off a building.

I was going to leap through life with goofy, goony joy, the same kind of crazy life force that caused Diamond Dave to put on that wack red net corset-y outfit and parade around the stage like a low-rent Mick Jagger with bigass hair, the same joy that kept Eddie smiling his little elf smile while wearing possibly the most unattractive yellow tiger-striped jacket ever made.

"Might as well jump." From then on, when I was getting looked down upon, I had that song in my head and Eddie's sweet smile in my heart. On the outside, I put on my best blasé face and went through the motions and did what I had to do so I could put my escape plan into motion. But inside, I knew who I was. I was someone who could always jump.

I'm so thankful for that song. It gave me something, you know? Tell me about a song that saved you.
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