Careless Reminiscing, Random Phrases, and Non-Future-Proof Songwriting

You’ve probably seen the “On This Day” feature of Facebook – if not with your own posts, then with those of your Ffriends*. In theory, you’ve shared only your most joyous and most impressive moments online, so you’re only too happy to be reminded of them, and have the opportunity to share them all over again.

Or maybe you were having a sucky time on this date a few years ago. Remember that?

No no, this was fine. Not fantastic or anything, but fine.

No no, this was fine. Not fantastic or anything, but … fine.

Earlier this month, Facebook reminded me of the week or so I spent on leave from work. It’s all, “Hey, your mental illness and panic attacks and unhealthy obsession with the past got the better of you for a while! Let’s take a look at the tape!”

What makes it stand out the most to me is the timeframe and phrase, “Four Years Ago”. It echoes a set of lines in a song of mine, “Streetlamps“, that quite severely dates it:

The stars are nuclear fusion, the closest of which may have died
Four years ago and we still would not know
Four years ago when I was in high school

I wrote that line in my second or third year of college, and it was already out of date by the time I got the song recorded and released at the end of 2002. More time has now passed since I was in high school than in my entire life up to my last day in high school.

It all shows a rather startling lack of planning. Here my music was supposed to persevere for generations and I stuck an expiration date in? Sloppy.

“Four years ago” is a moving target. Four years ago now, as I write this sentence, I was recently back to work after a leave of absence. Four years ago in another month and a half, I’ll have suddenly quit that job with no plan. And four years ago from a year and a half from now, I crafted a witty social media status message that I never ended up posting:

Would gladly give up being able to stream video in any room of the house if I could never have to be anywhere but my couch.

Or something like that. Something that sounded more clever at the time. Something that expressed the utter lethargy and immobility of depression in a heartbreaking and sympathetic yet jaded and cynical way.

I’m not sure why I didn’t post it right away. I do know why I never ended up posting it shortly afterward: I no longer felt that way. Lazing on the sofa is still better than doing dishes or changing sheets or whatever basic responsible adult chore you want to come up with, but the weight holding me down had started to lift by that point.

Four years ago was bad. Now is better. It’s always now, but now is always different, and so is four years ago. Four years from now I’ll look back on that sentence and shake my head even more than I just did.

In any case, I got a not-really-a-robot out of my nervous breakdown, so it wasn’t all bad.

robot penguin thing made from a CD clock radio

His name is Philip.

* “Ffriends” is, naturally, short for “Facebook friends”, since actual friends and Facebook friends are not necessarily the same thing. When spoken aloud, the initial “f” sound is elongated. You’re welcome.

One Response to Careless Reminiscing, Random Phrases, and Non-Future-Proof Songwriting

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