Lincoln’s Song, Part 1

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.

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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.

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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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