I feel like I don’t really know my sister Jen. Sure, I’ve known her her entire life, and even though I don’t remember a lot about our first few years together – I was, after all, only 4 1/2 when she was born – she’s always been my “little” sister.
Growing up, Jen was always the tag along, surely annoying my sisters more than me in that regard, but still seemingly always underfoot. We teased her relentlessly, as older siblings often do, and there were more than a few times where she’d run home crying from whatever house we were playing at, only to have our mother yelling at us to come home and answer for our crimes. I still remember my mother yelling Robert from the front porch, the indicator that she was truly mad and not just calling me home for some other reason.
But that was fine, right? That’s what kids did, especially kids when there were four kids born over seven years and we all just kind of took care of each other, much to our own chagrin. We grew up, played together less frequently, but Jen was always there.
Continue reading “Jen”
Inspired by: “Still Fighting It” (2001) from the Ben Folds’ album Rockin’ the Suburbs
The song that Ben Folds wrote about his son obviously became the song that makes me think of mine, right? Or at least one of the songs. This song obviously came out long before I had a child of my own, but it is a great song nonetheless. Prior to Lincoln, the thought of having a kid of my own was pretty foreign, though it was something that became more realistic once Kim and I decided that maybe it would be a good idea.
There isn’t a lot I remember about the early days of having Lincoln at home. He was born early (though just in time), so he spent the first six weeks in the NICU at McKay-Dee getting strong and being sassy. We’d visit him twice a day, prepping our home for his eventual arrival, recovering from the pretty traumatic ordeal of his birth.
Continue reading “Lincoln’s Song, Part 1”
Inspired by: “Landed” (2005) from the Ben Folds’ album Songs for Silverman
Unlike the last song, I actually like this song. It’s probably one of my favorites, honestly. At different points in my life, it’s meant different things, and it’s always been the thing I message to people when they are picking me up at the airport. At least, people in the know about Ben Folds. Others might be confused if they receive a link to the music video when they are expecting me to let them know my airplane has landed.
Once upon a time, that message was not well received by its recipient, and made a drive home from Providence particularly sad for me, on a night that would ultimately be a few weeks before my ex-wife filed for divorce on my birthday. But that misery has been replaced with its usage almost every time subsequently, as the person picking me up from the airport tends to be my most favorite person ever.
Continue reading “Landed”
Inspired by: “Prison Food” (2005) from the Ben Folds’ album Songs for Silverman
This is one of the songs that was on the list of songs that I didn’t really care to write about. I’m not a huge fan of the song, and the title or lyrics don’t immediately trigger something like a lot of the other songs. The song itself appears to be about the end of one of Folds’ many marriages and the isolation felt when something like that happens. Of being alone again.
I’ve written enough about that for now, so let’s focus on the abstract metaphor of the title. “Prison Food” is not about the food itself, but instead about something that is required to be provided but not required to be great. We lock folks up in prison and give them the bare minimum needed to survive, at least when it comes to food.
There’s a lot of parallels to this even beyond prison. A lot of our “politics” can be described the same way: we pay taxes for lots of things, but then the powers that be decide what is “enough” for us to receive in return. Whether it’s school funding, healthcare, Congressional lines… the list is endless. And we are told from a young age that if we don’t like something, we just need to vote.
Continue reading “The Bare Minimum”