I love Stevie Ray Vaughan. Truth be told, I’d love Stevie if he had done nothing other than Lenny live at The El Macambo. That one song at that one moment was more than enough for me. Laugh all you want, but I consider that song holier than Handel’s Messiah and just as humanly beautiful as Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. The song’s got everything I need as it stands on that small stage with smoke from SRV’s cigarette blurring his eyes in that limelight, but the little I know of it adds exponentially. He wrote it for his wife, you see, and when things didn’t work out, as I understand, he didn’t play it anymore. It was hers. When he said, “here’s a thing that I wrote for my lovely wife. It’s a thing that goes out to her…always,” he stood by it. If, like me, you caught that tune at the right time in the right frame of mind, you’ll not escape the utter beauty of humanity in those notes. If not, I don’t fault you. I’m sure there’s something that soothes that savage and/or callous part of your soul out there (forgive me the assumption that every soul out there has a savage or callous portion in its makeup; I don’t profess to universal truths, but I’ve seen a bit of humanity and the small parts generally build to larger- especially when people are utterly assured of those small parts).
My iPod sits on shuffle more often than not. I like to think of it as an oddly modern sort of I-Ching. Laugh again, if you must. I’ll not fault you that either. I planted the music there, after all. The chances of a relevant song cropping up are drastically increased. Even at 13,000 plus songs, the next tune arising is sure to be one that I figured at one time or another worth saving and sewing. It is MacEzra’s iPod, after all.
Lenny still affects me, though. It got me through some tough bits, but only after it got another through some tough bits. We learn, we do, individually; maybe even as pairs, small groups, as crowds, we can only hope.
Have you met my elephant? We call him White Cracker Fat Ass. (All the better to deal with you, my dear.)
I have no children. My best friend does. There’s a bun in Mag’s oven (a little boy) and a girl that astounds me in all her childishness. (“I love my Rapunzel, Jason, but I wish you had got me Belle.”) Abs is nothing short of a little miracle, as far as I’m concerned. The kid’s four years old and I can hear her in Lenny already. This kid’s built to break my heart and mend it every time I see her (and I’m sure my best friend would have it no other way). That’s what children do, isn’t it? Force us into some kind of absolute reevaluation?
The elephant here is that I see her, now, in light of tragedy. Abby. Tragedy has always been a bit distant from me. I can do that; it’s well within my power. September Eleventh was bad, but didn’t quite hit home for me. I expected some such occurrence to come at some time or another. The world insists on such, such is the way of people. The callous part of my soul allowed me that distance. Columbine was horrible, but over there; away, as it were. The savage part of my soul counted the miles between me and the scene.
My father said to me today, “Those people losing their children…you’re a full grown man and I don’t think I could deal with that now, but at five…” Jesus Christ. Pogo sticks. Blasphemy be damned. Kids, man. Children. Innocents.
As Uncle Jason I’m okay with Abby knowing about these terrible events, but I can hardly face the thought of her going through anything like this. Jesus, but humanity scares me right now. Look at these paragraphs; I’m losing ground. I’ve nothing to say and it’s evident. Gods damn it all.
The iPod’s on shuffle, rolling my electronic I-Ching. I quit asking for answers some time ago. I trust questions (they make sense to me), you see; but Abby, Abby’s a child. I don’t know that she’s found her Lenny yet. That frightens me.
Guns, it should be noted, don’t frighten me. I respect them and deal with them only in the most responsible manner I can muster at any given moment. Many people are telling me that guns are the problem here. I’m prone to disagree. There are numbers to say that guns in America are not the problem (I’ve seen them and they’re out there for you to find, as well). There are also numbers out there to say that guns are the problem (I’ve seen them, too, and they’re out there for you to find).
People, however, scare the shit out of me. As a child, I marveled at how easy it would be to really get away with something horrible (pure thought- experiment, understand; I am a practicing pacifist, believe it or not, even unto words). An icicle, alibi, and stalwart constitution of lying better than Raskolnikov would do it.
I took a day away from this and enjoyed the patter of rain on my small cul-de-sac of my quarter acre homestead to clear my head. Eliott Smith sang, “The street’s wet, you can tell by the sound of the cars.” Here, it’s the trees that tell you what’s up. Their limbs are cold and leaveless, but the rain bears its mark. If you listen close enough you can hear the sigh of a collapsing star. You find what you’re looking for in nature and in humanity. You want destruction and devastation? We’ve got that. Horrors? Utterly covered. You want beauty, decency, compassion, sacrifice? Dig deeper, it’s there, I swear to you. If you want answers, you’ll find them, too; but I fear you for that.
Beautiful Abs, at four, has more than a few questions and she wants answers, I’ve no doubt. Childhood, for me, was about closed doors. Uncle Jason, days before thirty-eight, has found a few answers, but would rather keep them under wraps. Adulthood, for me, was about experiences. Uncle Jason’s answers are little more than efforts to keep his universe in order. Maybe, in her twenties, Abs will hate guns, maybe she’ll fear people, or maybe she’ll just have come around to the same thought process which has done so little and so much for me in believing that people should be taken as is. Beautiful Abs deserves that acceptance from me, I think. I’ll answer her questions with plenty of my own. My love for her insists that I do right by her for her growth as I see it. Argue this freely. I see hiding things from children as a horrible disservice to their growth. Kids see, kids ask, and if you’re not talking someone else is. We do the best as we see fit (and, therein, we often fail).
The folks with the approach on better dealing with mental health issues have my vote, but, I fear, even that falls short. We are numerous, good, bad, ill, or hale, all. We have always had tragedy, we will continue to do so. Laws don’t stop travesties; they never have. Liberties do not disallow horrific instances, nor lessen them. Regardless of your genesis idealism, we are animals capable of great wonder and terrible pain. It’s what we are. Argue this as you need. I allow you that.
I’m just thinking that we better serve all our Abbies by helping them find their Lenny. We can make our laws, restrict, or free as we see fit, but, in the end, it comes down to little else than seeing our little ones better able to deal with the expanding universe in manners that we, ourselves, have found to be less destructive than the horrors before us.
It’s not a bad place, you know. Humanity has always held its merits. Look for them and you’ll see they’re still there. We deal with all of it as we can, as we have, and as we will continue to do so. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t lose your place when you can’t fix it. The wheel will roll regardless of its axle; inertia, alone, deems this as inescapable.
Jesus and marigolds, write in the dark of night or speak in the bright of light, love someone enough to allow them to be wrong as you see it. If my best friend’s four year old Abby turns Marxist, Fascist, or Anarchist on me, she’s no less beautiful. This is my response to tragedy, that one little girl can count on Uncle Jason to be there when needed. Keep your guns, outlaw them, regulate dissentious behavior, and/or better note mentality; when my niece of un-relatable beauty has a crisis of humanity, of one of those things that we can’t escape, I only want to be there to hear it, to commiserate. I might have an answer, I probably won’t.
I might play her some Stevie Ray Vaughan in the rain. I like to play my strengths. Little Abs may one day find it, too, but, at least, I’ll be there to listen. For what little I may have to say, Abs has me. I am hers. I only hope I serve her well in hearing her needs.