The Bare Minimum

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.

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Exceeding Your Own Expectations

Inspired by: Capable of Anything” (2015) from the Ben Folds (featuring Y Music) album So There


After a couple of days off to recover from last week’s entries, “Best Imitation of Myself” resumes today.

When we are kids, our parents often tell us that we can be anything that we want, that the future is a blank canvas for us to make our mark upon.

But this isn’t necessarily as true as those idealistic parents make it seem. Studies have shown that the environment that we grow up in has just as much impact on where we eventually end up in life. Sure, you can overcome those biases along the way through lots of effort and hard work, but circumstance is more responsible for your potential success, whatever the measure of that is to you,.

Anecdotally, there is plenty of evidence of people from trying circumstances achieving heights in their life the didn’t seem possible. Former president Barack Obama is a prime recent example. Raised by a single mother, he rose to the highest office in the United States through perseverance, overcoming many obstacles along the way. Bill Clinton is another example, rising out of poverty in Hope, Arkansas to become a Rhodes Scholar and president as well. And that’s just two examples off the top of my head, and there are hundreds if not thousands more of anecdotal stories like this.

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Of Sad and Dark Times…

Inspired by: “Selfless, Cold, and Composed” (1997), from the Ben Folds Five album Whatever and Ever Amen


Apparently it’s the week to be emo about stuff that happened back in 2008-2009 thanks to a song from a decade before that.

After yesterday’s post about affairs and whatnot, I went digging through the archives here looking for stuff that I had written related to the period between my divorce and my deployment, which I often feel is one of the lowest points of my life.

There is a short post on this blog – which I made private long ago for some reason – announcing that I was moving out of my condo after the divorce* and whatnot, but not a whole lot about the whole situation. I mentioned in this nonsense post that the divorce was the worst thing to ever happen to me, and at the time, I probably believed that. It was pretty traumatic, but more so for the aftermath of everything that happened in the months following that had led me to move out of the condo that was in my name alone.

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That Girl from Connecticut

Inspired by: Kylie from Connecticut” (2008) from the Ben Folds’ album Way to Normal


The other two posts so far this week were at least partially devoted to Connecticut, so it makes sense that this one would be too.

The song itself is about a wife finding out about an affair that her husband is having, with a note stating that “Kylie from Connecticut” called and confirming her suspicions. It all triggers memories to earlier in the marriage, and a “man she hadn’t seen since the children were small.” It’s about growing apart but not really realizing it in the moment and instead taking the path of least resistance to keep the peace in a long marriage.

My first marriage didn’t last 35 years. It didn’t even last 35 months. And it wasn’t an affair that ended it, though my affair after we decided to get divorced but before we actually did probably ended any chance of saving it, permanently damaging a relationship that we thought would endure even after we went our separate ways.

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