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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Don’t Change Your Plans

Inspired by: “Don’t Change Your Plans” (1999) from the Ben Folds Five album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

I’m sensing a theme in this week’s song already, and it’s only Tuesday.

“Don’t Change Your Plans” features our narrator letting someone go to chase their plans in Los Angeles, since his heart tells him to remain in the Northeast somewhere:

Don’t change your plans for me
I won’t move to LA
The leaves are falling back east
That’s where I’m going to stay

“Don’t Change Your Plans” by Ben Folds
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I Was Never Cool in School…

Inspired by:Underground” (1995) from the Ben Folds Five album Ben Folds Five

This song reminds me of high school, or more specifically, thinking about high school on the verge of my ten year high school reunion a while ago. It’s the song’s opening lines:

I was never cool in school
I’m sure you don’t remember me
And now it’s been 10 years
I’m still wondering who to be
But I’d love to mix in circles, cliques, and social coteries, that’s me
Hand me my nose ring (Can we be happy?)
Show me the mosh pit (Can we be happy?)
We can be happy underground

“Underground,” written by Ben Folds

Aside from the nose ring*, I feel like this describes high school me pretty well. A mostly unforgettable existence where I was fairly known among the various social groups hung out with but not known to the wider population of the school. Part of this was due to being one of 2,000 kids or so in the school, and among the 700 or so kids in my graduating class, but also because I just didn’t care about being popular. For that reason, I kind of hated high school (in retrospect) and fled Utah because I didn’t want to simply be a “townie” that followed everyone to the University of Utah or whatever.

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Inspired by: Jesusland” (2005) from the Ben Folds’ album Songs for Silverman

Two straight posts kinda centered on the dominant religion of Utah. Oh joy!

When I listen to “Jesusland,” I can picture the type of southern or rural area that Ben Folds is describing. He grew up in North Carolina, and I’ve seen those places with giant crosses, dollar stores, and other indications of religiosity undergirding everything. I also see the same thing here in Utah, never failing to pass an LDS meeting house when I venture out of the house, unless I am driving in one specific direction and not that far.

If you’ve ever been to Utah, it’s probably to come see all our amazing National Parks and Monuments. Or the mountains, for summer hikes or winter skiing. We have a “booming” tech industry with a dumb name (Silicon Slopes), trying to take advantage of our generally well-educated citizens and lower cost of living compared to the Bay Area or other tech hubs.

Otherwise, what’s the point of coming here? We have terrible air for half the year, from the winter inversions (January to March) and smoke from wildfires in the summer (June to August). We have funny laws related to alcohol, and despite being surrounded by states with versions of legalized gambling (either lotteries or actual gambling) resulting in funding for schools and whatnot, our Republican-led supermajority legislature will never allow those “vices” to come to Utah, letting the citizens of our state to fund our neighbors through their “illicit” border runs for PowerBall, weed, or fancy booze.

Continue reading “Brighamland”