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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Brown Shoes and Bruno Mars

"Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage." -- Psalm 27:14

I went shoe shopping this week. My three-year-old work shoes, trusty veterans of two New Hampshire winters, had six holes between the two of them, leaked in the rain, and were daily approaching solelessness. I hate shoe shopping because it's such a commitment, an expense, and such a necessity. I had one of those moments on the mall escalator, running finances in my head and making sure I could still go grocery shopping, buy shampoo and work out school expenses, where I thought, "Okay, guess what? Everything's okay. This will work out just fine. Relax." And then one of my least favorite songs in the whole wide world came on:

Here's the thing: this song summarizes everything about my generation that causes our parents to say, "Kids these days..." It embarrasses me. It makes me angry. It fills me with a sense of righteous indignation and a zeal to render swift justice to self-centered twenty-somethings who never left adolescence behind them. It makes me wish I were the sort of person who believed in standard castration of societal leeches. And yes, it makes me angry that he sits around not doing anything while I'm working a full-time job and still feeling guilty about spending money on a necessary pair of practical boring brown shoes.

People tell me I'm prone to overreaction; I blame it on my being an INFJ: "Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger." So yeah, sometimes I get really p.o.'ed about things that aren't that big of a deal. But this is a big deal, people. The lyrics of this song involve him masturbating, sitting on a couch all day in a snuggie, having sex with a girl he just met (sex that he hopes will validate his mistaken sense of manliness), telling his Dad he'll have to wait on him finishing college, procrastinating, and sitting around naked.
"'Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value there is to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have suffered so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye?' He paused again, his eyes misty now, then went on. 'I learned long ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable, though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning; meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one's life with meaning. That I think you do not understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here. Do you understand what I am saying? . . . Merely to live, merely to exist -- what sense is there in that? A fly also lives.'" -- The Chosen, ch. 13.
Bruno Mars is a fly.


  1. Wow, I never listened closely to the lyrics on that song. But I have the same reaction to "Good Time" by Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City. I love the song, but the lyrics drive me crazy because they make me resentful. I think "how unfair! They 'don't even have to try' because their life is so easy and free--they really can do whatever they want because they haven't really entered the adult world of budgeting and responsibility and sleep deprivation and so on. But you know what, I think that's not really true. It reminded me of the conversation we had, about married people having this unrealistic idea that single people have all the time in the world. The grass is always greener... I don't think there are really people out there who are living this charmed life with all the time in the world with no responsibility; or if there are, they have it worse than us anyway, because they're adrift, without solid roots and a plan for their life. If anything these people deserve pity, I think!

  2. also, you sound like you need a nice cup of tea. and twizzlers.

    1. I had a twizzler last night. It was DEE-licious :)