Friday’s Mental Massage

Many of my friends, also readers of this stagnant pool of paeans, often chide me for references to my time in college. I recall a night not too long ago when one said, “Ah, yes, Rapid Eye Reality. Let’s sum it up. 1931 Juniper Circle, mental crisis, my family is beautiful, and bookend with 1931 Juniper Circle.”

Depending on the time spent drinking, I respond either with a “Yeah, I’m your clown,” or simple acquiescence. In large part, these critics are right. I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from time spent in that little duplex in Columbia, Missouri. Its beer-soaked carpets, worn-out bed springs, and well-used back porch were home to some very formative years.

Still, the criticism has forced me to evaluate why I spend so much time on the subject of things that ended ten full years ago. Certainly, though the time was fun, I’ve done a great deal more of importance in the decade since then. What’s more, I don’t even pine for those days any more. They were lazy, ill-informed times, void of aspiration and illustrative of a certain hedonism that is rarely appreciated in a 23-year-old–let alone a 33-year-old as I am now.

When I woke up this morning, I went through my usual routine. These days, usual means going downstairs, turning on my laptop, letting the dog out, going to the kitchen and grabbing a Diet Coke, letting the dog back in, giving her a treat, and then sitting down to drink my soda and run through the morning e-mails and news.

Some late-night work (actually done around 3am) meant the morning was still resting on a good Friday balance and allowed me to check in on the personal e-mails for the day. And that’s pretty much where I decided I was ready to chuck the laptop in the fireplace for the weekend.

The first thing I really read this morning was news that a very good friend is going–back–to Iraq. I don’t really feel comfortable going into all the details surrounding this news. Suffice it to say, this guy and his sense of duty and honor are models for men.

And that’s pretty much where it ended for me. Before lunch time I was looking at myself in the mirror and wondering, “What in the hell are you doing?”

This is another side of me that is often targeted for the butt of jokes. Not undeservedly, though. My better friends often find themselves with me during times like this. Usually softened with hops and barley, I’ll be heard to remark, “What are we doing with our lives?” Again, it’s become a bit of a joke.

Frankly, I was prepared to spend the day lamenting or extolling the virtues of a host of other things. For instance, after a number of controlled experiments with Google Reader, Bloglines, and my Internet Explorer “feeds” option, I’ve determined that the new and improved Rapid Eye Reality’s problems with Bloglines are Bloglines-specific. That is, my feed is coming through fine EVERYWHERE except my favorite reader. Actually, I can force Bloglines to pull up the feed. However, as for picking up that I have posted and marking RER as “new” in the Bloglines folder, that’s a no-go. No amount of poking, prodding, or re-subscribing has done the trick. Frankly, I think this sucks. Regardless, for anyone using an RSS reader, I’d encourage you to resubscribe now.

What else? Well, apparently the NFL isn’t going to let football fans tailgate at the SuperBowl. The Miami Dolphins were all for it. The NFL, however, has bigfooted the Fins’ home turf. Nobody will be tailgating within a mile of the stadium. For the Colts fans, I don’t see this being much of a problem. For the Bears, however, this may be the reason they’ll end up losing.

What else? Still Stanley, that’s what. There was a group of guys (apparently they actually still exist in some form) that my wife knew back in the day, who ended up making a run at L.A. several years ago. For a time, it looked like they might make it. They played regularly at the Whiskey and the Viper Room and had quite a good following. We’ve had one of their demos in the house for the past five or six years and I never get tired of listening to it. My wife put it on her i-Pod and it’s playing now. I always thought these guys were too damned talented. Part of their problem with mainstream success, I suppose, was that their sound changed remarkably from song to song. Sometimes they sounded like the pop-punk bands of the 1990s. Other times they’d sound Sergeant Peppery. Other times, they were undefinable. I never had the pleasure of seeing them live. However, I did find a few of those demo tracks online at what was apparently their label for a while. I like each of these songs for a different reason.

I Fly Low
Been Gone Off

Word on the street is that Will Golden, one the band’s talented members, is now playing with Joe Purdy, an artist that has recently become friendly enough with Hollywood that his songs are playing on Lost and Grey’s Anatomy. Everybody else seems to have stuck together and started playing a bit back in the deep south.

Also on the music front, barring a kid-getting-sick disaster, I’ll be out tonight seeing the Bottle Rockets at the Handlebar. I’ve been going to see these guys since, well…yeah, since I was in college.

Other than that, Friday is quiet. The dog is sleeping in the middle of the floor. The wife and I eat leftovers. The kid continues to wear his Chiefs hoodie, despite the fact he’ll be three years old before we see the Chiefs on the gridiron again.

And thereya go.

Oh, and I know why I spend so much time writing about things that happened a decade ago. That was the last time I had complete freedom from responsibility. It was the last time nothing was expected of me. These days, I don’t mind responsibility and even embrace it sometimes. Still, those days of answering to no one weren’t all that bad.

Then again, Kris Kristofferson had a lot to say about freedom. And he’s probably right.

1931 Juniper Circle.


Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous Anonymous says:

    That’s why I have the fridge collage framed and properly placed for all to admire.-fb

  2. Anonymous Su says:

    There’s nothing wrong with wearing your Chiefs gear year round!

    AND- long live the great memories made at 1931 Juniper Circle 🙂

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