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February 14, 2013, posted by Crumbs

THE GENERAL JOURNALS: DIARY OF A FRONTMAN... AND OTHER RAMBLINGS - Part 6

Machine Head

REMINISCING

Why the hell do we reminisce? MAN, it's fucking pointless.

These last couple weeks I've been reminiscing for some reason.

Time has a way of erasing all the bad memories and scenarios and only leaving us with "the good ol' days." It's like when somebody dies and suddenly all their sins and transgressions are totally washed away.

Do we think we get some sort of closure on the actions and/or words of the departed?

True, some people do get some closure in their lives with said person, but more often than not there may be no closure at all.

Genevra's father was an alcoholic and a heroin addict. He was barely in her life, maybe a year and a half at “best”. What little time he gave to her and her brother Jack was not what anyone would really consider “good time.” As a parent and as a child we all know what “good time” constitutes. He was never off any of the above mentioned addictions long enough to form a bond with his children and it was hard life for both of them.

I remember the final year of his life. His doctor telling him that if he didn't quit drinking (every day) and shooting heroin (every week) his esophagus was going to separate from his stomach lining and he would absolutely and unequivocally die from it. His family pleaded with him, Genevra pleaded with him. He wouldn't listen. People don't change unless they want to change. Even though she was upset beyond words she still reached out to try and spend time with him. She offered to take him out on our boat, go to dinner, whatever, and time after time he would just leave us waiting. He’d leave us waiting at the house or waiting at BART, but truth is, we weren’t “waiting” on him, he’d simply forgotten or had something more "important" to do.

One year everybody in Genevra’s family forgot to call her on her birthday, she was bummed, understandably. Her dad called her the next day, not to wish her a happy birthday, but to ask if any of her friends were diabetic so that he could pick up "some rigs" from them. It was heart-breaking and infuriating all at the same time. He never wished her a happy birthday.

When he died a year later (just like the doctor said), she had made so much effort to get some closure on their fucked up relationship. It never came. He just died. It was over. In some ways, without sounding too cold, it was better. This is what the lyrics to the song "Days Turn Blue To Gray" from our ‘Through The Ashes Of Empires’ album are about.

Read them here if you haven't - "Days Turn Blue To Gray":
http://tinyurl.com/c5mehsp

But the finality of death somehow made that closure so much more real. She's had some closure now, it's been 12 years. However, she has no qualms about what they were and why. They definitely weren't "the good ol' days".

I relate as well. My Grandfather was an asshole. He probably said 100 words to me my entire life. "Hello Mijo", "goodbye Mijo". That was pretty much it. We had had one semi-meaningful conversation at a birthday party for my Mom, Gloria. He was a little drunk and the word meaningful is a stretch, but it was awkwardly playful, like I was talking to someone I just met or an acquaintance I never really hit it off with. He never truly accepted me being part of the family because I was adopted, and he let my family know as much. To make matters “worse for him”, I was born with a lazy eye, meaning one eye went in towards my nose (basically cross-eyed, but only in one eye). I had a corrective surgery soon after being adopted. But when my parents picked me up from the adoption agency at six months old, I had this lazy eye. When my Grandfather saw me and my eye he looked at my Mom and Dad and blurted, "That's not my Grandson!"

Wow...

Up until that point I was supposed to be named Samuel, after my Grandfather. But my Mom changed my name in that instant, to her favorite actor of the time (and whom she had a major crush on) Robert Redford. Robert (after Robert Redford) Conrad (my dad's first name) Flynn. Changed from Lawrence Matthew Carden, my birth name just six months earlier.

When my Grandfather (we all called him "Papa") passed away a few years ago, everyone was very sad. To my surprise (or maybe not), I wasn't. I didn't feel sad. I didn't reminisce, as there was nothing very meaningful to reflect on. In fact, I felt nothing. It was weird to me and I thought about why, but I never came up with an answer. I just felt... nothing. It was like being at a stranger’s funeral surrounded by family. I could empathize with their sadness and I felt for them, but...

All everyone talked about were the good ol' days at the memorial. To me though, they weren't really that good.

Now my Papa is a saint. In the homes of his family you mustn’t speak a bad word about him.

But in my heart, even now, I still feel nothing.

You know what?

FUCK the good ol' days.

Like Captain Jack Sparrow says at the end of ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl...’

"Now, bring me that horizon".

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