Barring a dramatic leap in lifespan (come on nanobots) I’m into the second half of my stint on this planet. In that humbling context, I find it sad that I’ve yet to find my happy place.
I hesitate to say sweets, even though you’re all thinking it, because, honestly, that’s more coping mechanism. Shoveling triple layered chocolate cake encased in absurdly thick, creamy icing into my maw isn’t a “place”, happy or otherwise.
Many of you have found such a refuge. A quantifiable, physical space where you escape life’s stress and bathe in existential contentment. I have not and that bothers me. Some come close, like a sugar bush in the fall or an enthralling geological outcrop but neither are readily available to me at any given time.
There are, however, moments when I do approach something reminiscent of happiness. Like many of us, music, though not a place in and of itself, offers an ethereal conduit to this yearned for but as yet unfound personal Shangri-la.
There are many songs that accomplish this for me, but none do so as unequivocally as this one. It’s not a common song. Only the rarest of you living outside Canada’s borders will have ever heard it. God forbid my happy place was tied to “Summer of ‘69” or some other wonderful but grotesquely overplayed CanCon anthem from my youth. Cough – “Life is a Highway”- cough!
I fill with glee whenever I hear it as though the Kool-Aid jug has just burst through my bedroom wall. In fact, upon hearing this song I often find myself unable to refrain from movement that might rudimentarily be described as dancing, something I am, and always have been, loath to do, save for the socially permitted pseudo-groping that is slow dancing to syrupy ballads at high school dances.
That it is also song about impotence might seem peculiar, not to mention completely, entirely, wholeheartedly, one hundred percent, without the slightest doubt unrelatable, but I think it’s a testament to the roguish charm in most of the songs by this band. It’s what makes them so enjoyable. And as my kids will attest, with expressions of embarrassment and much eye rolling, it gets me giddy every time I hear it.
With the world seemingly falling apart before our very eyes, with political leaders dredging the depths of ineptitude and lacking the slightest integrity, with entitled citizens going tribal and hating on each other like surrounded chimps, I need a happy place, no matter how brief and cerebral, desperately these days.
I will forever relish this band and their peppy, retro, cheeky, rock and roll tunes that magically expunge all the ugliness from my mind for three beautiful minutes of pure, silly joy.
I want you all to experience that joy as well. Take a moment to set aside your anger, your rage. Forget blaming whomever your indignant finger is pointing at. Take a deep breath and join me in the sanctuary of finger-snapping, head-bopping rapture.
I’m kicking off your weekend with the most fun-loving Canadian act of the eighties. This is “Making it Work” by the immortal Doug and the Slugs from the 1982 (1983 internationally) album, Music for the Hard of Thinking.
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