Last summer around this time, we were driving across America. I'd have small ideas for blog posts and I'd ask my wife (when she wasn't busy sleeping, which was most of the trip) to write them down for me. Then I lost track of the paper for a long time. Now I've found the paper and I searched my blog to make sure I haven't already written these posts. It seems I haven't, so here they are.
When I first heard the Bob Dylan song "Maggie's Farm," the line "she's 68 but she says she's 54" meant nothing to me. Old was old. But now that I'm approaching 40, I see a big difference between 68 and 54.
This reminds me of when I was six and we moved next door to an older couple. They stayed the same age in my mind for the next 30 years. When I stop to think that I've known them for 30 years, I realize that they were probably middle-aged at best when I met them. I mean, the husband wasn't even retired yet (and that was back when people could retire!).
- It is impossible to come up with a B-word that rhymes with "goth." I guess you can approximate it with something like "bawth," but that only works for some American accents.
In the first verse of the song "Rocky Mountain High," John Denver sings, "He was born in the summer of his 27th year / Coming home to a place he'd never been before." The protagonist's migration to Colorado is presented as integral to his self-discovery. Imagine if he hadn't made the trip; he'd have spent the rest of his life never having lived.
But then in the third verse, the narrator complains of those who "try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more / More people, more scars upon the land." What if this view had predominated before the protagonist got there? In the late 1970s, John Denver championed development restrictions on Alaska that would make the self-discovery lauded in "Rocky Mountain High" harder for everyone else. But at least we can listen to a song about what it would feel like it we'd been allowed the chance. That's almost the same thing, right?
In 1599, William Shakespeare wrote
"All the world's a stage / And all the men and women merely players"
In 1926, Dave Dryer wrote
"You know someone said that the world's a stage / And each must play a part"
In 2007, Rivers Cuomo wrote
"Somebody said all the world is a stage / And each of us is a player"
These three variations on the same theme have very different meanings.