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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why the Stones and not the Beatles

I should start this by saying, I have nothing against the Beatles. I love the Beatles. I know what their #1 song was the year I was born. I Want To Hold Your Hand. I especially liked Ringo when I was younger, then that changed to George Harrison. Paul was always the one I considered to have the most talent, and to tell you the truth... I just never really connected with John.

Recently someone asked who I'd rather be, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Most of those asked had selected The Beatles. I picked the Stones. They've been together for 42 years - longer than most marriages - and they are still alive... I'm all for being alive. (I almost said staying alive, but that brings the Bee Gees to mind, and we just can't go there in this topic.) A follow up conversation went something like this.

"Yeah, but which would you rather BE? The Beatles, who were awesome, or The Stones who were ... eh....?"

"I don't think the Stones were 'Eh'!"

Later that evening we attended a very small, intimate concert that opened with a skinny young musician with truly unruly hair, performing his own material. I just googled him and found that he's younger than I thought, which makes me feel older than I felt. As we stood (new concert attending trend - even when it isn't rock your bones and make it impossible to sit still music - which is incredibly distracting if you wear shoes that kill your back), I found myself crying through a good portion of his performance. Not because it was incredibly touching music, because it wasn't. But because I looked around at the crowd and found that there were a few women my age there... and I realized... I was also THEIR age.

While I look out through the same eyes I've always had, the face that others look back at is not. There is a confidence I used to have when I was in a public place. While I am by no means a beautiful woman, I'm attractive to some people. I've managed to snag 2 husbands, though the second one saw my ass before my face... so I used to have a nice one of those as well, 'back in the day'. Now I weigh 15-20 pounds more than I want to. I don't stand up as straight as I used to - laziness, core muscle tone, different weight distribution, bad shoes, heavy purses... who's to say why. Finding clothes that make me feel attractive is near impossible. Jeans, yes... shirts... ugh... big breasts and 5'7" in height work against me finding a shirt that flatters OR fits! If it looks good in the store, it washes once and THWUP... sucks up into a shirt for a b cup woman about 5'3" tall. This is why most women my size end up in sweat shirts or t-shirts. Flattering - no... but at least they fit the curves and are long enough that your underwear aren't flashed to the viewing public if you move a teensy bit off of upright.

Apparently this is the long version.... the Reader's Digest abridged version is unavailable at this time.

Last night, I was obviously old, middle aged, less fresh faced... whatever you wish to call it.. it was suddenly and overwhelmingly painful. My life, which is rich in family and relationships and love, felt as dry and barren as a desert. I stood in that dark room and my life was 46 years worth of... ??? I've done many things I've wanted to do... and last night, my consistent thought was, "I've done nothing. My life has been nothing. I am nothing. These young people have every dream possible in front of them, and mine are old and stale and unfulfilled."

This morning I took a glance at my thighs... no good news there. I got my Ipod, ironed my t-shirt, which has been in the dryer since yesterday, put on my tennis shoes and went for a walk. A good 2 1/2 - 3 mile walk. Ironically... I hit the Stones about 1/3 of the way into the walk... with... "Mother's Little Helper" (What a drag it is getting old....) "Ruby Tuesday" (There's no time to lose, I heard her say. Catch your dreams before they slip away. dying all the time, lose your dreams and you will lose your mind. Ain't life unkind?) ... and followed that up with "Sympathy For The Devil", and then "Under My Thumb" (The girl who once pushed me around, is under my thumb...).

Even if I never mentioned "Can't Get No Satisfaction" or "Beast of Burden" or "19th Nervous Breakdown" or "You Can't Always Get What You Want"... I gotta go with the Stones. There is something real in their music... for ME.

That last song I mentioned reminded me of something. The 'someone' that asked me to make a choice between the Beatles and the Stones was my daughter. When she was a young teenager, and even before that and since, when she and her sisters were denied something, and I was enlightened with their "But I want to....." my reply was a bit of that song (sung off-key, at best)... "you can't always get what you want... no you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find.. you get what you NEED."

I take responsibility for her "... eh ..." Perhaps it has nothing to do with it.. but the way we connect music to every visceral emotion and mood in both of us - I think it has made an impression on her subconscious.

So, thank you to The Rolling Stones. Today was better than last night. Perhaps my pity party is past. (say that 3 times really, really fast). I will pray that they are not still alive due to a pact with the devil - and that maybe they have just pickled themselves and will remain forever preserved for future generations of mid-life crises.