Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mick Jagger is a Lying Liar Who Lies

 My current earworm is the Stones' "Time is on my Side." Musical introduction!

As a too-long-to-be-parenthetical aside, I have to say that "earworm" gives me the heebie jeebies. The term does a marvelous job of evoking an absolutely horrifying image. It puts me in mind of the Babel fish, but 10,000% less useful. When I was a whippersnapper, we called it having a song stuck in your head, but I guess that's too many syllables these days.

Back to your regularly scheduled Mick defamation...

I've had this song stuck in my head for over a week now. The only line I know is "Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime is on my side, yes it is," so that's been looping in my brain ad infinitum. It's pretty annoying, but it's given me an opportunity to reflect on the sentiment. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I'm aware that the song actually goes on to talk about a faithless lover coming back to the narrator, or something.

OK, so time might be on your side if you
have one of these. But you don't, do you?
I didn't think so.
But I'm not here to talk about faithless lovers. I'm here to talk about time. And how it is not, in fact, on my side. In high school, my junior year British lit teacher impressed the idea of carpe diem on us, and it's always stuck with me. I've done a lousy job of putting it into practice, even though I'm fully on board with the notion. Today, the Masters Boyce watched a Doctor Who episode in which the character Martha Jones relates this advice from her mother: "Never do tomorrow what you can do today." Her clone (I swear it makes sense in context) helpfully pitches in, "'Cause you never know how long you've got." -- i.e. Carpe the freaking Diem.

Lately, I've had a few experiences which have really driven this point home. We don't know how long we've got. And that doesn't even mean that gravity might reverse itself while I'm having my morning coffee and we all go sailing off into the void of space to meet our untimely ends at the hands of a merciless, airless, freezing / burning (depending on whether or not you're in the path of a wayward sun ray) vacuum.

Anything in the could happen. Debilitating diseases rob people of their ability to use their bodies. Financial catastrophe robs people of their dreams of seeing the world. Children grow up before you get to have them photographed in the smocked jumper Aunt Tilda so thoughtfully made you. Wheat crop collapse could rob you of your burning desire to make the world's largest strudel. You just never know what's around the corner. I could lose my hands in a tragic tooth brushing incident and never type again (Shut up, it could happen.).

You could fall asleep at an awkward angle and horrifying nocturnal gremlins could come during the night to sit on you and / or gape from the corner. YOU DON'T KNOW.

All we have for certain is right here, right now. This moment. What are you doing with it? Are you pursuing a dream--even if it's just getting your ducks in a row so you can actively go for it?--or are you coasting along in a rut, pushing all the things you want to accomplish to the back burner? We never know how long we've got. Even if I never accomplish some of the big things I want to do, I want to be able to say that I tried. That I gave it my best. That I was working on it. I don't want to come to the end of my time--however much that may be--and know that I squandered what I had.


  1. Funny. I've had a similar concept on my mind lately. The offending song is "Time won't let me go" by Bravery.

  2. Your captions are the best. YOU DON'T KNOW :D :D :D

    Time is definitely NOT on our sides, Mick. I'm sure he know that now.

    1. That would be KNOWS.

      Hai, subject-verb agreement. Be my friend.

  3. I wrote a long post and it apparated! To where, I don't know. Maybe you just didn't approve of it. :D

    At any rate, I advocate a different sort of carpe diem. It saddens me to think of whole boatloads of people dreaming of a future that may never come. I actually gave a speech on "seizing *this* day" at my alma mater... that we must appreciate the beautiful and valuable in the daily life we are living now instead of focusing on what might be. I have always tried to follow the opportunities that appear in my path as I remain open to them, instead of bushwacking my way towards a possibility that may never materialize.

    I agree that time is not on our side, but in taking issue with Mick, I support making the most of what's right in front of you instead of focusing on striving for something that makes you feel like what you have now isn't good enough. I'd argue that worrying about the future is exactly what might keep you from taking that photo of smocking-clad kiddos.

    I'm not saying don't strive, just savor what is here while keeping your eye on the at least somewhat reasonably attainable goal.

    PS - Is there a Pulitzer for caption writing?