Set Your Life to Music

TomI am getting ready for my shower. Usually, this involves a misdirection regimen that I have been perfecting for two decades. I suck in the belly, tie the towel like a mundu, and focus on my good side in the mirror (if I look at my left eyebrow while squinting, I sort of look like Tom Cruise).

Like all other men who aren’t Ryan Gosling I am drawn to the changes in my body’s landscape. Freckles appear on my body like a constellation of fruit flies, and the rebel grays in my hair are starting to take over the Death Star. Hair is growing out of everything. My ears have a coat of fur on them and a fleece lining in them, there is a Bering Strait connecting my eyebrows. I am stunned by the hair follicular fertility of the top of my nose; I’m thinking of selling the skin to the guys at

I am feeling very middle-aged.

My back hurts, my front hurts and I feel very much like that guy who sits in the corner of your local pub talking to himself and eating ham. Or maybe that’s my local, but you know what I’m talking about.

But then, just as I’m about to fully succumb to being that middle-aged man who has a cat and a predilection for tuna, I realize the problem. I’m not listening to music. I immediately remedy this, dancing through the flat with nothing but glee and a towel between me and a funny farm. I choose Tom Waits, his older stuff when he still sounded like a human being and not the vocal embodiment of every story Charles Bukowski ever wrote.

By the time I am back at my mirror, it is now telling a whole new story. Now, with Tom crooning in the background, I am a quirky middle-aged guy in a movie, and living with a cat and watching TV in the bathtub are but endearing oddities to my behavior. Now that my morning soundtrack is playing, each embarrassing blemish is a funny part in the opening sequence of a sitcom called Single at 38 or Life with a Cat and No Morals.

Ah, the power of music! It transforms your bland, dull, everyday experiences into dramatic, hilarious and moving movie scenes. And before you judge me, OK, as you judge me, don’t pretend you don’t do it too. Cause we all do it these days.

Music transforms my morning run into an ESPN greatest hits montage. Reality breaks in only when I catch a glimpse of myself swrying (sweat crying) in a shop window. Paul Simon and shaking grapefruit in a grocery store and you have the scene in a romantic comedy when the charming teacher meets a cute nurse who also loves blueberry yogurt and crab sticks. The Rolling Stones make picking out milk a scene out of a demented thriller with Al Pacino. The Rocky Theme makes me want to throw a Granny Smith into the snotty counter boy’s chest.

I suppose it’s the natural consequence of being attached to a music conduit 16 hours a day and I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing. I don’t know if it’s good to have perfectly executed arguments with my ex to Townes Van Zandt or glorified walks to the market with the Black Eyed Peas, or to divide my tram rides into dozens of little moments of epiphanous poignancy that are total bullshit. Walking into school and listening to The Promentory emplaces me in the climactic last scene of Dead Poets’ Society; the reality being so laughingly, depressingly far from that.

The problem is, of course, that reality is waiting for you like your cat’s balloon knot morning greeting. And your Marvin Gaye induced tickle fights between Salma Hayek and Scarlett Johansson, or your backseat dry humping session with Emma Watson to the Rocky theme, are not going to get rid of your hairy ears or your mundane crab stick dinners.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

  1. #1 by Amy (KidFreeLiving) on April 1, 2013 - 3:33 pm

    My husband does the same thing… I thought he just liked music. It never hit me he was battling old age! He listens to very new music too… he must be falling apart faster than I realize…

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on April 1, 2013 - 4:29 pm

      Ah, a man after my own hair follicles!

  2. #3 by greg galeone on April 1, 2013 - 10:45 pm

    me and ennio moricone agree with you.

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