Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No Good Deal Gone Down

One thing I have come to believe about bluegrass and traditional music is that, for the most part, it is strikingly apolitical. There are stories that are related in the many songs and ballads, but even the best murderin' tunes are not particularly rife with any viewpoint other than that which represents the larger human condition. The music, while deeply personal, can transport us to a place where all the arguments that confine us and comprise our modern-day constructs fall away, leaving us only with our essential human capacity to learn, love, and live.

Nonetheless, I have strong opinions about a lot of things, and quite often get myself in a tangle. The problem is, the combined influences in my life have left me uniquely predisposed to self-sabotage. As I debate an issue, the more the other person matters to me or has influence over me or my children, the more quickly I lose my footing and my argument, and my confidence, devolve into a mass of emotional nonsense. I am left with an argument I could not win, even if I wanted to. The other person's opinion of me suddenly becomes more of a concern than my position. If there is a single threat to my success, this is it, and it is formidable. (Yes, that's a horrible picture of me, getting a well-deserved noogie from my sister.)

Recent experiences have left me no choice but to face just how poorly I approach the most intimate subjects with people in my life who are by birth or acquaintance my most intimate companions. Part of the problem is indeed how fully I express myself, about the things that matter most deeply to me, without any regard to whether it's remotely appropriate. Starting this blog posed both an opportunity and a great danger where that expression is concerned. I'd say I'm probably about at a 50-50 success rate.

I also realize that I have never been, and am almost incapable of being, my own best advocate. (I did post that horrendous picture, after all.) Given the opportunity to put myself first, I fail almost every time.

I finally understand that my tendency toward flight away from all the nasty and toxic forces in my life probably revolves around the romantic notion that if I got away, I would be able to give myself and my children a clean start that illustrated how life is supposed to be. There we might dwell, deep in the holler, away from all the nonsense that I have attracted, created, enabled, sustained, and given over to under the guise of some misguided notion of letting go and being mindful and living in service to others. That's the idiom that at my core, I believe. But it's evidently not very functional in the real world.

So I'm going to shift my little paradigm a tiny bit. Watch for signs of what a good friend from college referred to as my constant tendency to "shoot myself in the foot" and instead turn the gun on whatever has me hog-tied. Quit acting like I'm as dumb as a bag of hammers -- unless of course it presents a real opportunity to set up an important lesson for the dumb bastard standing on my last nerve. Return the confidence, love, and honesty of people who have given those gifts so willingly - - even under the worst conditions created by yours truly -- and be a whole lot more careful about offering those gifts to people who have repeatedly dishonored them.

I think this is a lesson we all strive to learn, to live with an open heart and not "let our deal go down." I'm just a lifetime late and a few thousand dollars short in learning it myself. Eh, better late than never.

This is a classic Flatt and Scruggs tune, but one of my favorite renditions is from Lyle Lovett with the Chieftains. (The album, Down the Old Plank Road, is a powerhouse collection of talent; I haven't gotten the second one yet, Further Down the Old Plank Road.) In honor of the approachin' wearin' o' the green, I direct you to that version but there are many versions, from Delta blues to the Flatt, Scruggs, Sex and Drugs variety. Have a good night and don't let your deal go down, now.

Don't Let Your Deal Go Down
Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt

Well, I've been all around this whole wide world
Been down to sunny Alabam
My mama always told me,
Son, never let your deal go down

Don't let your deal go down, good Lord,
Don't let your deal go down
Don't let your deal go down
Till your last gold dollar is gone

Well, the last time I seen that gal of mine
She was standing in the door
She said honey I'll be a long time gone
You'll never see your gal no more

Don't let your deal go down, good Lord,
Don't let your deal go down
Don't let your deal go down
Till your last gold dollar is gone

Well, I'm going sown the railroad track
Gonna take my rocking chair
If there doggone blues don't leave my mind
I'm gonna run away from here

Don't let your deal go down, good Lord,
Don't let your deal go down
Don't let your deal go down
Till your last gold dollar is gone

2 Comments:

At March 16, 2006 1:50 AM, Blogger Darkneuro said...

MMMM.... Chieftans.... Dig it :)

 
At March 16, 2006 8:18 AM, Blogger I ROCK!!!!! said...

Awsome Blog yo You Might like mine mine is the one called Darknessn you see me and my sister share an acount so's It's kind of confusing.

 

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