Sunday, July 20, 2008

That girl is like a sunburn

Is it safe to admit that one of those moments where a person finds out who they are happened to me because of a Third Eye Blind song? Probably not, eh, music snots?

I heard my friend Mark say, about ten times during a span of a year or so back in the early '00s, that he wanted to get in a fight. He knew that his chances in the fight were slim, and that he probably wouldn't inflict much damage on the other person's face or guts, so why even bother? "I figure I'd learn a lot about myself," he would say. He was too much of a sweetheart for any of us to offer to kick his crap in, and I reckon the rest of the world felt the same way. so, as far as I know, Mark still hasn't learned what he wanted to. But, I can see what he means.

Black eyes and broken ribs aren't too shabby of way to learn about yourself. I mean, there is the pain, and the re-and-re-telling of the story when people ask what happened to your face, but once the wounds heal and you look less pathetic, your story could get a lot better, and perhaps you would make a few more friends. Plus: lesson learned. You'd know how many punches you can take before you can't take anymore without crying and what kind of noises you make when you're getting your crap handed to you.

But....Third Eye Blind, sometimes abbreviated as 3eb according to Wikipedia? Kind of a completely shabby way to learn who you are.

I hated Third Eye Blind from the first time they entered my ears. I remember the first time I heard "Semi-Charmed Kind of Life". We were in my friend Doug's older brother Bob's car, a Geo of some sort, towards the end of the summer of 1997. By the way, have Geo's been outlawed in the lower 48? I haven't seen one since my little sister sold her Metro. I digress. So, we heard the song on the way home from watching Con Air at the theaters (Bob was our rated-R movie hook-up), and I said, "Stupid song." Bob was pissed. He'd yell at me sometimes. Like when I called Seinfeld overrated. And another time when I said something while we were watching Die Hard: With a Vengeance. Anyway, he was mad because he has been singing along. Not during the Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo part, but the rest of it. So, my tact was a bit off. Or, perhaps my adjective was too strong. Whichever, I was right. And Third Eye Blind (3eb) is a dumb name for a band. Their other hit songs over the next year were even lamer. I also remember Doug getting in a fight with our friend Brian later that day. It made everything with that group of friends awkward and things were never the same (which turned out to be a good thing, at least for me).

Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days, days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, months turned into years, and in the summer of 2002, I took a job as a delivery driver for a construction supply company. For the next almost two years, I listened to a lot of Jim Rome and a lot of radio. I tried playing tapes in the truck, but tapes didn't play as loud in that big truck and the music would be drowned out by the loudness that it took to operate a ride like that. So, radio it was. It was while listening to that radio in that truck that I heard the news of Elizabeth Smart being found, and where I realized that I had seen her and her crew less that five minutes before the cops stopped them. I also stayed abreast of top-40 radio. Ashanti was huge then. I loved those rap songs that included a girl with a nice voice spitting the chorus. I also loved the easy listening songs. My favorite song, though, was one that started off with a guitar strum, then a sythesizer, then a "Woo!". I knew it was an older song because it played on those stations that don't only play the latest hits, but I didn't know who sang it. For more than a year, I was left in the dark, because the deej would never announce who played the song after it aired.

I finally found out that the song was by Third Eye Blind. "No way," I thought. "That doesn't sound anything like "Semi-Charmed Kind of Life" and there are no hints of that 'will I GRADUATE?' song. I just can't be. The deej messed up." Soon after, I found out that it was, in fact, them.

--I can no longer like that song, I guess.
--But wait, you like(d) that song so much.
--Yeah, but 3eb.
--Still, man, you REALLY liked it. It was your favorite radio song. You even admitted that to yourself. I'm calling you on it.
--But, I like punk rock.
--You were thinking about buying whatever album that song was on.
--That's because I thought the rest of the ablum might be cool like that song is cool.
--Me too. Just because we now know that it probably isn't, though, doesn't mean you can all of the sudden hate that song.
--It doesn't?
--Nope. Not if you want to keep it real.

So, on that day, "keeping it real" started to mean something. What I like is what I like. Just because stupid people or a the majority might like something, doesn't mean that I can't. Disliking something doesn't make me more interesting.

It may sound dumb, but this realization changed a lot about me. It broadened not only the music I like, but also other things like movies. (Joe Ghiz: I still think Minority Report was boring and Bourne Identity was great. I was being real that weekend.)

So, here's to you, "Never Let You Go" by Third Eye Blind. You made me better people.

"You say that I've changed. Well maybe I did. But even if I've changed. What's wrong with it?"

(sidenote: maybe Third Eye Blind, lame name and mostly lame music aside, aren't totally lame. From wikipedia: The band gained major label attention after their second demo was released in 1995, including that of Clive Davis, who invited the band to perform a showcase for Arista Records in New York City.[1] During Third Eye Blind concerts at the time, it was customary for the band to have a piñata release candy above their mosh pits, yet at the showcase for the record executives, lead singer Stephan Jenkins released live crickets from the piñata instead.


marshall p said...

I thought that song was called "semi-soft kindof life" and I thought it was about a boy who couldn't really get it up all the way... my bad.

Brad K. said...

Lee, I gotta comment on this one.

3eB (I've always hated abbreviations, except D3 worked for me) was always my favorite radio band in that time period but I liked all their stuff.

Also, I too remember being really disappointed in myself for liking bands that weren't punk.

El Jefe said...

The only thing I ever learned about myself in a fight is that I'm a pussy. I already knew that, and my already self-realization hurt too. I still pee-pee blood.

Lee said...

Marshall- Get what up?

Brad- Not only do I hate abbreviations (especially for bands), but 3eb is probably the worst. I don't know who D3 is, educate/remind me.
Oh, and the whole "only liking punk thing" is a tough stage to get out of. Some people start to like other types of music (indies), but they still don't get out of that stage.

Jefe- As least you are getting, nevermind.

Brad K. said...

D3 is what the studio execs over at Disney came up with for Mighty Ducks 3.

My all time least favorite abbrev was when they were trying to pass off the third American Pie installment as AP3 like it was some sweet Arnold movie or something.

Lee said...

Oh, yeah, D3.

Your bit about AP3 keeled me over.

marshall p said...

"it". you know, "it".

Adam Christian said...

Songs of the 90's really had deep meanings including this song... I am amazed that this song somehow changed you... bravo!

Lee said...

Interesting comment. Which 90s song are particularly poignant to you?