Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I and Love and You

This was taken from the insert of the latest Avett Brothers album entitled "I and Love and You".
After reading it, I felt it was something to be shared with anyone willing to read it. I am continually amazed by the talent, heart and inspiration this band possesses.

If you have yet to check these guys out, please do yourself a favor and purchase "I and Love and You", or "Emotionalism" immediately.


The words "I" and "Love" and "You" are the watermark of humanity. Strung together, they convey our deepest sense of humility, of power, of truth. It is our most common sentiment, even as the feeling of it is so infinitely uncommon; each to proclaim these three words with his or her very own heart and mindset of reason (or lack there of); a proclamation completely and perfectly new each time it is offered. Uttered daily and nightly by millions, the words are said in an unending array of circumstances: whispered to the newborn in a new mother's arms; shared between best friends on the playground; in the form of sympathy - said by a girl to a boy, as the respect continues but the relationship does not. It is said too loudly by parents to embarrassed children in the company of their friends, and by grown children - to their fading parents in hospital beds. The words are thought in the company of the photograph and said in the company of the gravestone. It is how we end our phone calls and our letters...the words at the bottom of the page that trump all those above it, a way to gracefully finish a message, however important or trivial, with the most meaningful gift of all: the communication of love. And yet the words themselves have been the victims of triviality, a ready replacement for lesser salutations among near strangers, burst forth casually as "love ya." Truly? To what degree? Why, how much, and for how long? These are questions befitting the stature of love, though not the everyday banter of vague acquaintance. The words have also been twisted by the dark nature of deceit; to say "I love you" with a dramatic measure of synthetic emotion; a snare set by those who prey upon fellow humanity, driven to whatever selfish end, to gain access to another's body, or their money, or their opportunity. In this realm, the proclamation is disgraced by one seeking to gain rather than to give. In any case, and by whatever inspiration, these words are woven deeply into the fibers of our existence. Our longing to hear them from the right place is maddeningly and simultaneously our finest strength and our most gently weakness. The album "I and Love and You" is unashamedly defined by such a dynamic of duality. As living people, we are bound by this unavoidable parallel. We are powerful yet weak, capable yet temporary. Inevitably, an attempt to place honesty within an artistic avenue will follow suit. This is a piece which shows us as we are: products of love surrounded by struggle. The music herein is, in many ways, readable as both a milestone and an arrival. A chapter in the story of young men, it bridges the space between the uncertainty of youth and the reality of its release. The record is full with the quality of question and response. As far as questions go, there are plenty - normally residing within the tone and delivery of the lyrics themselves, which, ironically, are sung with so much confidence. Among songs and thoughts so driven and purposeful, the most basic and relatable doubt comes through with a resounding clarity. Outside of the eternal theme of romantic love, the album speaks thankfully upon a landscape of light-filled rooms, word-filled pages, time machines, forgiveness, singing birds, ocean waves, art, change, confessions of shortcomings, and reasons to continue on. Hope and a cause for smiling follow naturally. In the midst of all this, there are allusions to the less-than-ideal conditions of life: the loss of memory, the inability to control temper, insecurity, indecision, jaded indifference, and the general plague of former and current weakness. "I and Love and You" is an album of obvious human creation, characterized by its best and its worst. Emotional imperfection is a reality for those who recorded the piece, just as it is for those who will hear it. The conclusion of the song from which the titles is taken admits that the words "I love you" have become "hard to say." And perhaps that difficulty is as common as its counterpart. Perhaps the inability to say these heaviest words is as much a part of life as the lighthearted candor of those who say them without any difficulty at all. And so it ends with the phrase whispered to and by those of us most defeated and most elated...I and love and you...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Malignancy Ignorancy

So just a quick note. I've been thinking about this dog that came into work the other week. Before even going into the appointment, I was warned by the receptionist that the owner could be a 'real handful'. Great. Grand. Wonderful. It sounded like something to make my awesome day at work top off the charts. In I go. As I open the door, before me I see two Huskies connected by leash to a mother-daughter owner duo. Basically the first paragraphs out of the woman's mouth are that she's already spent $1500 on her dog to find out what is wrong and blah blah blah. I just smile and say I understand.

So to spare a bunch of details, the woman's dog has a mass in it's chest that needs to be surgically removed. The mass has already been biopsied and came back as cancer. The dog needs a CT scan before surgery so the surgeon knows exactly to what and where the mass is connected. This is a major surgery involving chest tubes and such, and is potentially high risk. It also cost a ballpark of 6 grand.

So the woman is in sticker shock at first, but decides she wants surgery. But wait! No! We're not going to do surgery now, but in a few months, because she wants to use the dog as a stud dog to produce a litter of pups. Well here you go lady, take a handful of the oncologist's cards and pass them out with each puppy that finds its new home, so when that puppy get's cancer, it knows where to go.