Friday’s Theme Music

Masked up and went walking yesterday. Of the ten pedestrians I encountered, one was masked. So, about eighteen percent are masked when out and about, contrary to guidance.

Our little town has a reported ten COVID-19 cases. That’s an unofficial count. The county has had fifty-two cases. Social distancing and sheltering-in-place has been practiced, but most only wear masks when in stores, because the stores demand it. So, I suspect our low count is due to our rural nature, limitations on travel, and luck. I hope it all holds.

While out exercising my legs, I realized I was humming a song and identified it as the Rush song, “Freewill” (1980). I have one friend who was a devoted Rush fan and another who can’t stand Rush because they don’t like Geddy Lee’s voice. The Rush lyrics rushed in with these memories (sorry for the pun).

A planet of playthings
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive

The stars aren’t aligned
Or the gods are maligned
Blame is better to give than receive

[Hook]
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose freewill

h/t to Genius.com

These lyrics are taken in different ways by different people. (Well, words, right? That’s how it goes with words.) I’ve always thought that the song referred to thinking for yourself. I like to believe I think for myself. I wear a mask because that’s recommended; studies show it helps reduce viral transmission.

Maybe I am sheeple, as non-mask fans charge. Perhaps my twenty plus years in the military conditioned me to obey orders without question. Don’t think so, myself; I was known for challenging orders.

Then again, we select and frame the information and memories that best suit what we want to know as the facts, don’t we? We’re each in our own bubble. We try to control what comes in and goes out but there’s quite a bit beyond our control.

Nebulous? No, complicated. One thing that I’ve discovered as I’ve aged is that I’m not the person who I think I am. My window into myself is as limited as my windows into others. My body is often doing things that I don’t know, responding to chemicals in ways that science knew but I didn’t, and my brain often reacts before I think. We depend on surface impressions and isolated moments to inform our decisions. Some of them are magnified in importance – in our heads – rising on waves of emotions and intellect.

Such complicated beasts we are in a complicated world. Which takes me back to “Freewill” and Rush. You make a choice. Sometimes it seems to work, other times, it seems to flop, but a lot of times, we’re forever waiting to learn the results.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

A guy who worked for me at Shaw AFB in South Carolina was a big fan of Ratt, Judas Priest, and Rush. Anniversary dates and weather impressions have kicked memories of the “I was there with <XXX> when…” variety into my stream. So I was thinking of this fellow, Bob, and wondering what happened with him. Smart guy, from Texas, but no Texan accent, he seemed like he was on a slow downward spiral. Going to college but not completing classes, and gaining weight, something we frowned on in the military.

But, thanks to Bob, I’m remembering Rush today and their song, “The Spirit of Radio” (1980). I didn’t get to Shaw until 1985, but Bob loved this song, and played it in our office on a boom box almost every morning.

Friday’s Theme Music

Today finds me streaming and humming “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. This is another, “WTF are they singing?” song. Here are the lyrics with purchase in my brain matter this morning:

What you say about his company
Is what you say about society
-Catch the mist – Catch the myth
-Catch the mystery – Catch the drift

The world is the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his skies are wide

Today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets high on you
And the space he invades
He gets by on you

No, his mind is not for rent
To any god or government.
Always hopeful, yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent –
But change is

h/t to rush.com

It’s all part of a classic Rush presentation, along with the drumming and guitar work.

Although this song is from 1981, I became aware of Rush in 1974. They were opening for Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena that year. I knew Heep and Mann (I wore out “The Magician’s Birthday” and “Easy Livin'” by the first) but I had no idea who Rush was. I wanted to attend that concert, but I was living in West Virginia then. Having graduated from high school and feeling pessimistic about the future, I’d already enlisted in the Air Force and was awaiting the day to go onto active duty.

As it was, I was in the military, stationed in San Antonio, Texas, with orders for Okinawa when this song was released. Rush has had many hits and terrific albums, but I think “Tom Sawyer” remains my favorite.

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