I miss the Year in Review posts the blog world served its collective self while the remaining December days slipped into top dresser drawers, night tables, and kitchen cabinets. The documented memories and isolated events, sorted, and ranked according to personal relevance were examined as part of the whole. Our lives, within and out of context, reviewed, evaluated, summarized, and tucked away in tissue paper with the appropriate sachet; we wrote last words, buried the year, and moved on. My final 2007 post was titled Midnight Special which was a lie because there's no mention of a Smith & Wesson, not one word about more than a handful of personal tragedies, and no mention of the boys of Creedence which doesn't mean it wasn't there. It meant I couldn't look at more than one piece at a time. 2007 had a soundtrack. Sound, music specifically, is harder to ignore than the written word.
In 2007, Sparky died on the darkest night of the year and seven weeks later I was wishing that for myself. That shit doesn't just pop up out of nowhere; it's a dark Pavane marching toward, and delivering up multiple inevitable ends. In other words, I lied to myself at the end of the year. It isn't as if I hadn't reread all 155 posts, I did. I suppose I got to the end of that business, plucked out some sunshine, and shoveled the rest into an attic-bound box. I think it's a survival thing and to some extent we all do it. It takes a little more effort to cherry pick what we like when we've documented as much as was bearable at the time. It's all still there sent back to draft state. 2,228 posts, exposed and naked isn't something I'm willing to live with. But I don't delete them once they've been published. We may choose to cover and bury what presents as too much to bear, but the act of deleting is attempted murder of the sort that facilitates historical revision.
Let me tell you, that's a really bad idea. Ends badly, every time and we never see it coming.
462 words, not a one of them about 2021. Do you blame me?
But I can tell you this: Midnight Special is a Traditional, a prison song from the American South. The first commercial release was in 1926, Dave 'Pistol Pete' Cutrell, followed the next year by Sam Collins. The number of covers before Creedence blew it out of the water and knocked us over is remarkable. I can't actually find a complete list. That in itself ought to tell us all we really need to know. Today we associate the phrase with a five chamber revolver; an inexpensive mostly throw away weapon. A last minute acquisition, purchased in a state of fear or rage. Maybe used, maybe not; does it matter?
The Midnight Special was a train. Whole other context, don't you think? Maybe. The point is, we've been singing the same damn prison song for at least a century, probably a lot longer, and I don't think we see it.
Oh my fucking god. COVID. It's a prison, it's a death trap, it's a self-propelled freight train to nowhere good. It's manslaughter at best, aggravated assault with the intent to deny the corpse. It's a reflection and result, and collectively we're sinking in a pit of denial. That's not new either but it bears comment. I commented.
I'm not going to bullet out my year this year either. I could because I am looking at it as a whole, but I won't. You've already read it and I've read it twice and we're going to forget anyway. We've already forgotten 2020, colored it over to support whatever beliefs we need to keep. We've mostly forgotten January 6, 2021 because we've made an uneasy peace with the fact that we aren't really a democracy and the Capital isn't so sacred as we'd like to believe. I can't help but believe that day was the pivot point that got us where we are today. Everybody's responsible, if only for accepting the status quo one way or another. It's become easier to talk to the religious right than the progressive left; the religious right knows they're going to have to compromise, even if we've closed our eyes and declared it not so. I remember W. Bush talking about the Axis of Evil as if we had no part in it. Really? We used the deaths of a mere 2,996 to justify a war that lasted almost nine years and killed close to half a million over an unforgivable lie.
In two years, COVID casualties (cold bodies) has the documented Iraq body count beat by 360,000, give or take. As a collective, we're OK with this. Neither war is really over, by the way, we've just stopped counting (I had to actually hunt for the COVID number; Iraq was easy - whhhhyyyyy?).
The final statement in The Matrix Resurrections, before the last words words about sunshine and rainbows trickled off the screen, was about Sheeple. Refer to the last couple of paragraphs. That's it. That's the end of 2021. Never mind my personal stuff; good, bad or indifferent. I don't need to say it. I see my reflection in the mirror just fine.
I believe, in spite of our humanness, that we are good people with our own unique and often unbending beliefs in what is 'good'. It's hard to stay conscious when there's just too much, too much to parse and disseminate. We've got ourselves locked up; we've swallowed the key, which does NOT mean there's no way out. There's always a way out assuming we can figure out why we swallowed the key in the first place.
Midnight Special: I gave you a couple different versions ending with my own sound track, but it's always the same song. Give 'em equal air time. This is our history, and my God, we are a passionate people.
Play it loud, sing louder. You might be surprised, the way you feel, when you do.