The Other End of Sunset

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Welcome to my nightmare....

I have a game I play: I try to work song lyrics into work discussions. Without anyone noticing. I'm getting sloppy these days, and (horrors!) actually forgetting the lyrics, which makes the game somewhat more challenging. I find myself able to recall Metallica lyrics. But, man, is it a challenge to work a song quote from songs about drug abuse, or an homage to “Johnny Got His Gun” into a business conversation. Not clearly a winning proposition.

As I sit here, on this bouncy plane, I thought about this predilection, and decided to try another auteur trick in this posting. I think I'll make the post about quotes. Random things I have heard, or read, or thought about, in the past few days.

The hard part will be how I play it out… Do I explain what I mean about the quote? Or the story of how it occurred (and why)?

On the one hand, if I tell the stories, it makes the post richer (and longer), and likely clearer.

On the other hand, if I don’t tell the story, just give the quote, it offers the reader the right to make the art up – it’s not my art, this writing, but yours. It only slightly matters what I think the quote is about, or why it matters – it matters a lot why you think it matters (if, indeed, you do). And it matters even more what you think it’s about in your life. I know for whom I write.

Let’s see how it plays out, shall we? Perhaps a random walk through my brain will be fun. Perhaps you will recognize yourself, in the quotes, or (dare I say it?) in me. Maybe you will understand my story, and maybe you’ll understand yours.

I think, for the privacy of some of the participants, I shan’t even credit some of the quotes.

In GQ this month, from an article about Robert Duvall: “You’ve gotta look for the contradictions in a man.”

Wallflowers: “Cheap lovers make expensive wives.”

My now ex-wife’s now-passed-on-father, on the morning of his death: “We’ve gotta work on our communications skills.”

“She had a chance for really long-term relationship… and she wasted it. Idiot!”

“You were the love of my life.”

Me, in a meeting in the early 90’s, with a bunch of computer scientists, “The Web is just like NNTP news – everyone says it will be huge, but why? HTTP is just hacked XML, which is just hacked SGML. Find me an SGML parser, I dare you.”

“I would never roll my eyes at you.”

From a coworker, over drinks, with a knowing smile on his lips and a mischievous glint in his eyes: “How can it be creepy that people read someone’s blog? I mean, you write a diary, on the Internet, and expect people not to read it?”

Green Day: “Everything isn’t meant to be ok.”

My mentor and colleague John: “You still have a lot to learn from RAND. I wish you would stay, not be so impatient, recognize that the world is bigger than you know.”

“Unlike some of you, with thoughts only on a single track, I have more to think about!”

My oldest friend, when presented with an impassioned list of things I was freaking out about on that particular day: “The first and second are stupid, the third is the only thing that matters. You worry too much. Focus on the third one.”

“It wasn’t a date!”

So, gentle OtherEnders, was there a theme? Was this just wisps of my mind, part two? Did a few of the quotes inspire you to stop, think, and recall someone in your past? And maybe reach out to them?

Perhaps you just kept waiting for some punch line, some funny Sunset, a coda to the random stream of stuff. How sad, for us both.

No punch line. Not this time. Not that serious either, but not funny.

Just a little of me. Or perhaps, just little me.

I think I’ve given you enough from the cobwebs of my meager little brain. I'm headed back north, to my office, to the clouds, to JR. To everything that is, which must be, by definition, right (thank you Alexander Pope for giving my one last quote to end with).

I’ll be back soon, with my usual sarcasm and irony, and perhaps a few song lyrics.