It happened today. The thing we’ve all been trying to avoid; the pain that we don’t dare speak of. But sometimes fate rides on the wind, and it doesn’t matter how fast you run. Then it happens—that awful moment when you realize you can’t get away, that the fires of perdition will burn and you can’t do anything about it. And all you know is that you’ll be changed forever.
So you close your eyes, and let the feverish pain wash over you, because you know deep down that some things simply have to be endured.
It happened to me today. I finally heard Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen. The song was released in September of last year. It is currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and is also the most played song on Spotify in the United States at this time. I have successfully avoided listening to it for 288 days. I had a good run, but as they say, all good things . . .
I was minding my own business, simply driving home from the grocery store. The radio was on, I didn’t think anything of it. That was the worst mistake of my life. The chorus rang out, over and over—the repetitive strain was simply words, gibberish. I don’t always pay attention to pop songs. They are like wallpaper, always there but you don’t consciously notice the pattern. But the words kept repeating, and I noticed a phrase—could it be? No, I’ve been good; I’d been diligent, disciplined, all those horror stories you hear about couldn’t happen to me.
But it did. When it was all over, and the screaming stopped, I tried to gather myself together. Truth be told, I’ve already blocked the experience from my mind. However, deep down I know that won’t be enough. It’s still there, embedded in my subconscious, waiting to reveal itself when I least expect it. Maybe in a dream, maybe in a simple quiet moment. The possibility will haunt me til the end of my days.
In a desperate search for atonement, I went to see a priest. He told me for my penance I would have to listen to three hours of The Clash and two hours of The Who. Then he added in a low voice, “And throw in an hour of Miles Davis just to be safe . . . but the old stuff, not those funky techno jams he did toward the end.” I asked if there was anything else, and he told me to watch Fight Club with the subtitles on, and mentioned it would probably be best to avoid any Wes Anderson movies for a couple of weeks. I thanked him and left, unsure of my future, but assured that I at least had a recipe for healing.