2018…

sp

Today
is the last day
of the worst year
of my life

The only comfort is so small
that it is no comfort at all:
that next year will be even worse
as will each one that follows

There is no road ahead, just a path
with cliffs on either side
and the disorienting knowledge of
the ugliness of self-pity

Baby, I’m Falling Apart

Is it time for another self-pitying song already? Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Loudon Wainwright the third is one of my favorite songwriters and one who knows a thing or two about self-pity. If you don’t know the man’s work, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Here’s a snippet from his newest collection:

I’m just a leaky supertanker
With a lot of oil to spill
I’m feeling sorry for myself
But if I don’t, who will?

It’s one of the inspirations for this song, which I wrote last week:

It started out so promising
We both had so much fun
If this is just a game
Can’t we say you’ve won?
You’re so put together

Baby, I’m falling apart

I know it wasn’t your intention
To go and break my heart
I don’t need to mention
I was stupid, you were smart
You’re so put together

Baby, I’m falling apart

All my friends are asking me
Why I can’t think straight
Why can’t I figure out
If I’m early, if I’m late?
Maybe it doesn’t matter

Baby, I’m falling apart

Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out)

I was fired last week from a job I’ve held a little less than two years. Every other job I’ve had ended when I decided to walk away. So it was a new experience for me, and not an entirely unpleasant one. The only thing I ever liked about that job, I liked way too much. I could never get the right balance.

I fell into a bit of a funk, which was actually a deepening of a low-level funk I’ve been in for a long time. A conversation with a friend, unbeknownst to her, helped turn me around. When I heard how pathetic I sounded talking to her, I realized I’d been wallowing in self-pity, which is not only an ugly thing to do but it’s also antithetical to my normal outlook and personality.

So I’m good now, but while I was in the gutter this tune came up on my iPod and struck a chord with me. From the pen of my favorite songwriter, John Lennon: Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out):


Nobody loves you when you’re down and out
Nobody sees you when you’re on cloud nine
Everybody’s hustling for a buck and a dime
I`ll scratch your back and you scratch mine
I’ve been across to the other side
I’ve shown you everything, I got nothing to hide
But still you ask me do I love you, what it is, what it is
All I can tell you is it’s all show biz
All I can tell you is it’s all show biz
Nobody loves you when you’re down and out
Nobody knows you when you’re on cloud nine
Everybody’ hustling for a buck and a dime
I’ll scratch your back and you knife mine
I’ve been across the water so many times
I’ve seen the one eyed witchdoctor leading the blind
But still you ask me do I love you, what you say, what you say
Every time I put my finger on it, it slips away
Every time I put my finger on it, it slips away
Well I get up in the morning and I’m looking in the mirror to see, ooo wee
Then I’m lying in the darkness and I know I can’t get to sleep, ooo wee!
Nobody loves you when you’re old and grey
Nobody needs you when you’re upside down
Everybody’s hollering about their own birthday
Everybody loves you when you’re six foot in the ground

Too Old to be Too Young to Die

There’s nothing wrong with getting old. The alternative, obviously, is dying before you get old, which sounds great in a rock’n’roll song but kind of sucks for the people gathered around your casket.

I’m too old now to be too young to die and there’s something to be said for reaching that milestone (even if you wouldn’t necessarily say it to my face). The downside of being too old to be too young to die is that there seems to be a lot less of everything, very much including time, than there used to be.

When I was young, the promise of the future and the pleasures of the present made the minor struggles of life easy enough to endure. Now, most of life’s pleasures threaten to destroy or severely damage any future promises. And the drudgery of work seems more futile every day.

That reminds me of a song. This one’s by my brother James, written and performed when we were both a lot younger. Actually, it’s kind of reassuring to think you can be pitiful at any age. Here’s James with his “Pity Me Blues”:

All I want to do is sit down and write some
Pity me blues
All night
And all I’ve gotta do is sit down to write some
Pity me blues
And say anything
It’s alright, ’cause you mean everything

I’ve just got to see you every night
Even if it’s only for a little while
Because when I get home I pick up my guitar and
 
All I want to do is sit down and write some
Pity me blues

And all I’ve gotta do is sit down

And say anything
‘Cause you mean everything

I want to hear your sweetest talk
I want to watch your sweet legs walk
I want to see that twinkle in your eye
I want to see your mouth smile

All I gotta do is sit down
All I gotta say is anything
Because you mean to me everything
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s every night

Tight tight tight tight fitting clothes
Bright bright bright bright smile and a winning nose

All I want to do is sit down and write some
Pity me blues
All night
And all I’ve gotta do is sit down to write some
Pity me blues
And say anything
It’s alright, it’s alright because you mean everything