That's My Jam: Lessons Unlearned

Always loved this track. Ebony used to jam this on repeat with this beat-up little blue GPX boombox she kept in her room. I was still teaching then -- so my summers were free, which offered plenty of time to just hang out and chill as the music drifted in from the doorway of her room while we talked and laughed about nothing for hours on end. Those weren't necessarily peaceful times in my life -- but whenever I look back on those summer days in that old brick house when the Florida sun would shine hot to where we'd open all the windows and let the breeze flow through the screen door it's hard not to smile a little bit.

Whatever else she might have been. Whatever she might have become. Whatever part it all might have played. No matter what she thinks of me now --
She was my sister.
For obvious reasons, I mostly hear news these days in pieces. Broken transmissions from around the world -- like a radio with a bent antenna that you have to move around the room every now and then to keep a clear signal.
I'll be honest, most of the news I hear these days about her isn't as good as I would have hoped for it to be.
..Lessons unlearned.
As you go through your days, you're going to encounter people that will touch your life in memorable ways. But what I think we often lose sight of amongst the warming winds of nostalgia and memory is the importance of keeping the moment in perspective. Because as fondly as I remember those summer days in Jacksonville, or even the times in Tallahassee that proceeded them -- I would be a fool to try and separate all of that from the other moments. The ones that didn't shine as brightly in comparison.

That I choose to remember those good times before the bad is a part of who I am as a person. A possible weakness in my character. Or perhaps better to say that it's a strength that occasionally gets used against me. What I do know, however -- is that while I do enjoy remembering those times, there's never going to be a return to them. Those moments were a different lifetime ago.
They're gone, and they're not coming back.
Lesson learned.
For a lot of people, this day will offer a chance to talk about the Notorious BIG, as the date marks the 13th anniversary of his death. Whether you were a fan or not, it's hard to deny that he was an iconic figure. A focal point for what at the time was a major turning point in the development of the genre.

And yet, I think it's also important to recognize the fact that Biggie and his music represented essentially a moment in the history of music. A moment that comparatively could be placed next to the moments shared by artists like Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, or Jimi Hendrix. Their music left lasting impressions, but that in an of itself is not enough to make them perfect people. To acknowledge the popularity of someone's music, or the power it had to inspire others to follow in their footsteps and (hopefully) evolve music further than those who came before is a vital part in the history of music. And to do so without also recognizing the cultural impact that an artist had on the fans that grew up listening to them would be nothing short of blindness. But to pretend that iconic status as an artist, musician, athlete, or politician somehow is enough to make a person great -- especially if they died or were taken from us far before their time is not only absurd, but irresponsible as well.
Just because someone died on a particular day does not make that day important. It's
what those people do to enrich your lives that makes their legacy worth remembering.
And so -- as it should, this particular anniversary will likely spark remembrances. Conversations. Conjecture. Arguments. And hopefully, some thoughts worth considering as we move forward in time. But for me, it will be about the music. About a song that I really liked, a background groove that I once tried to learn on guitar. About an album that provided a soundtrack for a summer before the storm, and the girl I once knew who would play it on repeat before heading off to work in the afternoons.
Listen to the track.
Smile at the memory.
Remember the lesson.
..Move on with your life.

[Listening to:  Vetiver - "Sister" ]

Comments

Werdna said…
B-smalls trying to nab my b-day.

Best track with him is also with Elton John mashed up by Girl Talk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDDdpxEf9hM

1:26 in for the reference.
Heff said…
Never heard it before (of course), but...GOTCHA.
Bef said…
great post...
Hex said…
Werdna -- Ain't no one, even Biggie could steal away the glory that is March Madness.

I'll admit -- I wasn't with Girl Talk at first (probably because I effing hate James Taylor), but you've been wearing me down a bit. That track is sweet.

Heff -- even if you don't like rap, Biggie was great for choosing choice backing tracks, stuff that hadn't been used or heard in a while.

Bef -- Thanks, girl.