A Quick One for the Road

from Nick Suss

July 23, 2013, 10:03 p.m.

A Quick One for the Road

Tomorrow I’m going on vacation. Except, I really haven’t been working that hard to necessitate a vacation and I will be working while on vacation, so I really am just changing scenery. So I decided I’d tell my devoted and wide-reached reader base a few scattered stories a la some of my other “Thoughts” pieces to stave them over before I do my end of summer overhaul of stories, recaps, personal podcasts (more on that later), lists and overall freak out. What do I mean by that? You already know. You guys know me. And if you don’t know me personally, you know me through my writing. Whenever something comes to an end, I tend to freak out. At this juncture I have about two and a half weeks left of summer. That means that you should prepare for a barrage of way-too introspective crap about what this summer meant to me. Some of you will read that and get sentimental and sympathize with my quasi-perceived pain. Others will think of it as useless drivel and go on with your days unaffected. But either way, this is a fair warning.

So I took a long drive today. I had to drive from my house down to Atlantic Station to pick up media credentials for a tennis tournament I was supposed to cover but couldn’t because of the aforementioned vacation. Driving to the ATL isn’t that bad. But then I had to drive from Atlantic Station to Athens and then back from Athens to my house. And that was inconvenient to say the least. Especially since no one wanted to come with me. So I was left to drive for what amounted to four and a half hours by myself. Which isn’t too painful, just tedious. However, whenever I find myself stuck with myself for a long period of time, I do a little bit of thinking. Here are some things I thought about.

The radio is a funny thing. I love listening to the radio. I love the witty banter between songs. I like to contrived interplay between deejays and callers who just won prizes worth about 50 dollars. I like hearing the same song four times across three stations in two hours. Most of all, I like the promos. I listen to four Atlanta based radio stations. That’s it. Five would be too many for me to comfortably keep a finger on every preset button and three is too few to a point where all three may be on commercial simultaneously. So I listen to Star 94.1, Radio 105.7: Atlanta’s New Alternative, 97.1 The River: Atlanta’s Classic Rock Station, and B98.5. (If you don’t live in the metro-Atlanta region, just know that means two pop stations, one alternative and one classic.) Those are my four stations. There is absolutely no deviation. And in today’s drive, I learned a few things about my taste in music.

  • Firstly, about in the broadest sense, I learned exactly what my pop music demographic is. From listening to the never ending deluge of promos on Star 94.1, I fit into the same musical niche as stressed out soccer moms who need a break from their kids. No shame here in saying that, but there probably should be. I knew this to a certain degree, but today I came to admit it. You see, I am completely without any sense of regret when I say that whenever Love Somebody by Maroon 5 or When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars comes on, I will down my windows and blast that crap while singing along in m feigned falsetto. That’s right. I’m secure enough to tell you that I listen to the same music that preteen girls and their mothers listen to. I even listened to a Taylor Swift song today and was bopping my head. (Of course the next song I listened to was Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden, but…) I’m going to stop beating around the bush and say it: I love pop music. Not dance music or what some other stations consider pop, but legitimate top-40 garbage by band and artists like Katy Perry and Jason Mraz. That being said.
  • Secondly, I hate Phillip Phillips. Mumford and Sons might go down as the worst thing to happen to my life. Ever. Try to go ten minutes without hearing Gone, Gone, Gone on any modern radio station. I heard it three times in the same hour on three different stations. How a song that bad has that much crossover appeal befuddles me. And I blame Mumford and Sons for making that kind of music popular. No type of music should ever have that much stomping in it unless it is directly followed by a rousing rendition of We Are the Champions. And that is a scientific fact. I just don’t get it. What makes this kind of music popular? I mean, I’m all for hearing the Lumineers once every week or so, but if I have to hear Ho Hey one more time today, I’m going to kick a hole in a wall. And don’t get me started on I Will Wait. But the main problem is Phillip Phillips. I couldn’t possibly like a man with such a redundant name.
  • Thirdly, I can’t stay awake while driving long drives unless I sing along. Normally, like every other clinically insane person in the world, I lip-sync along to the words of the more dramatic songs while looking in the rear-view mirror to see how good of an actor I am and to critique my form. (How I don’t crash when I do that is beyond me.) But today any time I did that I put myself to sleep. Even when I did my ridiculously well timed and effectively acted rendition of Somebody That I Used to Know, I was yawning the whole way through. So songs would come on which I have no business singing along to, like, oh, I don’t know, Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, and I would have to sing along. No questions asked. And do you know what I learned from that? I am beautiful. No matter what you say. Your words can’t bring me down. So don’t you bring me down today.
  • Lastly, and considerably more seriously, I hate music with an undying passion. Let me clarify: this is an idea I’ve had for a long time but never had a platform to talk about it, so don’t think this is Nick being rash. I really do hate music. There’s no such thing as a happy song. Every song makes me sad. (Or infuriated in the case of Phillip Phillips) I don’t care if it’s Bubbly by Colbie Callait, any song can make me feel sad. So what is it? Well, I’m naturally inclined to listen to lyrics over sound. To me, the main point of enjoyment of a song is the poetic properties that it exudes. And the more I examine lyrics, the more I realize that they always make me sad. Let’s return to the first two songs I mentioned. Love Somebody is a song about a man who is lonely and just wants to have somebody to love and to touch. That makes me sad on both a personal and impersonal level. When I Was Your Man is a heartfelt ballad about a guy who broke up with somebody and is regretting it to a point that he realizes all he wants is for her to be happy. That makes me sad on an impersonal level. (I can’t quite feel that on a personal level like the other. Wonder why.) And then there are happy songs. There are all of these songs about finding true love and having families and doing great things, and those just make me feel unaccomplished. I haven’t done anything. So the music guilt trips me into feeling useless and a waste of space. (Even though Katy Perry says I don’t have to feel like one because I’m original and cannot be replaced.) So that’s why I hate music.

Naturally, I also thought about baseball. The Ryan Braun suspension is a little disconcerting to me. Obviously, it hurts that one of the best talents in the game has had his legacy tarnished, but it hurts more that he can come back. I’m not a proponent of lifetime suspensions on the first offense, but I honestly thing that might be what we have to do. Fifty games is less than a third of the season. To be suspended less than a third of the season for violating the second most important rule in baseball (First: Don’t Gamble) is way too easy. I think the suspension should be 324 games plus the playoffs, or the equivalent of two full regular and postseasons. And that’s just on the first offense. The second offense should be a death penalty. Just look at Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal. All of those guys served 50 game suspensions in the last year for PEDs and they are all on the list again for Biogenesis. And they will be suspended, likely, for 100 games each. Two violations and they don’t even add up to a full season of baseball. That is crap. If the game is going to be cleaned up, these guys need to be suspended, without pay. Ryan Braun is going to make something like 18 million dollars this year, regardless of his suspension. That is wrong. He cheated. All of these guys cheated. And they should be punished as if they committed a cardinal sin of the game, not slapped on the wrist. Aside from Braun, these aren’t hall of fame-caliber players here. They won’t be judged by history. They will be judged in and only in the present. And we’re letting them off too easy. A two year suspension without pay would actually hurt a player and make them think twice. 50 games with pay, that’s just a two and a half month vacation. For these guys, it’s like a trip to summer camp.

Of course, I also thought about sitcoms a lot. I thought a lot about Frasier since I’ve been watching it a lot, but also about Cheers because, well, I’m an addict. And then I also thought about Friends and The Office and The Big Bang Theory. I went into deep, analytic and psychological analyses of characters and plot lines, deducing reasoning for certain actions from other actions. I thought way too long and hard about Sitcoms, and I do on a daily basis. So I had an idea. In all fairness, I’ve had this idea for about two weeks, but I decided on it today. I’m going to start doing some solo podcasts, probably two a week, maybe more, once I get back from vacation and figure out how to do them. I’m gonna do one a week called Sitcomology and I will do a discussion with myself about sitcoms. Because I can and you guys will listen. Then, I’ll also do one or two a week about sports. I don’t have a name for that one yet. If the situation arises where I want to tell a story, I’ll do one of those too. But here’s the thing. I also want actual feedback. No more of this no commenting and when you do it’s just an LOL here or a that was funny there. I want people to tell me what I do wrong or right and I want people to respond to me in the same way that I do to Martin whenever he writes something immensely stupid. So write responses in the comments which are coherent. Or, and this is much more fun of an idea, call me or text me and perform a rebuttal on the show with me so we can talk it out bro to bro (or bro to bro-ette.) I want these to be interactive. And I know only about six of you have made it this deep into the post, so I’ll repost this later once the first podcast goes up, but I want this to be my podcasts with guests and callers and me being called out for being the idiot I am.

Speaking of being an idiot, I don’t have a conclusion to this.


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