Saturday, November 07, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Don't Want To Be A Fool

My family gave me a proper PC with a modem and everything around the time My Poppy was going into the hospital for the last time. Talking about DOS while the ambulance is pulling up is one of those bizarre moments that populate my mind about that time, and only recently did I realize the computer became sort of a crutch in my grief, that the end of one life and the beginning of another, far emptier, existence overlapped in the month I went from playing pool with a man I could laugh with and cry with and talk to about anything, to teaching myself how to use AlphaWorks so I could write down my feelings and playing pool with slow VGA characters who always beat me and always said the same things.

While this whole substituting the world I loved with a world I didn't know was going on, I changed my radio station. I started listening to "soft rock." The station of course played no rock whatsoever, but when I think back to those days I always seemed to be listening to Don't Want To Be A Fool by Luther Vandross. Yes, Luther. I love Luther Vandross. There it is. Except that last song he did, don't even mention that to me or I'll break your face.

The video has embedding disabled, so you'll have to click the link to see Luther be smooth even while heartbroken all over the city. I would warn you all to watch out for the lightning storm halfway through the video, but apparently I'm the only person who tips over when things like that appear in on the screen. Not even I have that problem half the time. My Poppy would've had a joke for that. I wish I knew what he'd say.

Listening to the words now, I realize I was probably even more messed up about things than I let myself know. I hear it's popular to write to your 16-year-old self now, but maybe she knew I'd be better off never getting involved with anyone if it meant I'd have to go through what I was seeing my Nan go through. It's easy to pretend to be fine when your only company is a grayscale King Arthur who only wants you to joust properly so he can get on with finding his knights. I still remember the names of the people I wrote to on the Prodigy Sierra games board for hints on how to get past the mad monk of Glastonbury Tor. I still remember what they wrote to me when I told them why I'd been away from the board for a while. They made me feel like they cared, and it helped. I've thought about Googling them and letting them know I finally beat Conquests of Camelot, and was grateful to them for their help during an insanely difficult time, but I think I'll just let them go on being the kind people they were in my memory.

No comments: