Wednesday, September 23, 2015

When I Win the Lottery

In a fast German car
I'm amazed that I survived
An airbag saved my life

Time and again on my blog I've embarrassed myself by copping to being deeply moved by maudlin and sentimental art, so why stop now? In the final scene of Saving Private Ryan, Matt Damon as an old man visits the graves of his fallen buddies and says to his wife, "Tell me I lived a good life." That scene just wrecked me.

I have always had a difficult relationship with survivor's guilt. My mother revealed to me as an adult that my birth was surrounded by grief and loss. I'm certain it's a coincidence, but there's very likely some behavioral epigeneticist out there who thinks differently. Regardless, whatever the reason it's baked into my psyche.

I realize my last lyrics-only post was kind of cryptic, but it related to this issue. I for once felt like had nothing to say that wasn't better articulated by the song. It was my reaction to (apparently) managing to pull my lab out of a funding nose dive with no rhyme or reason other than dumb luck when some of my friends are still barreling groundward. But that's not what this post is about.

My science fiction twin
Is doing better than expected

I recently convened with a parky group I am working with on a project and met a new member who is symptomatically similar to me. That is to say that ze is also not outwardly, obviously affected by the condition most of the time. We had a conversation about this that caused me to reflect on just how long I have been dealing with P and just how slowly it's progressing. My symptoms may have emerged as many as seven years ago, but I'm frankly doing awfully well. Many people are not so fortunate and that makes me sad.

I get the feeling some people expect me to feel like I got the shaft, but I sure don't. I read a quote from Radiohead's Thom Yorke referring to the lyrics that start this post. He said that basically you should jump for joy every time you get out of a car and you aren't dead. That's a better reference point.

My inexplicable and uncomfortable fortune reminds me of the final verse of one my all time favorite songs.

When the end comes to this old world
The rights will cry and the rest will curl up
And God won't take the time to sort your ashes from mine
We zig and zag between good and bad
Stumble and fall on right and wrong
The tumbling dice and the luck of the draw just lead us on
When I win the lottery
Gonna buy all the girls on my block
Silver-plated six shooters and a quart of the finest highland scotch
When I win the lottery 
The rights will shake their heads and say
That God is good but surely works in mysterious ways

When I win the lottery


  1. Lyrical excerpts are from "Airbag" by Radiohead, "My Science Fiction Twin" by Elvis Costello and "When I Win the Lottery" by Camper Van Beethoven.

  2. Don't start me talking
    I could talk all night
    My mind goes sleepwalking
    While I'm putting the world to right

    They say that travel broadens the mind, till you
    Can't get your head out of doors

    What do we care if the world is a joke
    We'll give it a big kiss
    We'll give it a poke
    Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke
    We're only living this instant

    Those who feel the breath of sadness
    Sit down next to me
    Those who find they're touched by madness
    Sit down next to me
    Those who find themselves ridiculous
    Sit down next to me