Thanks, Joel.

I was catching up on Facebook last night when I ran across the following exchange:

Chet Farmer
“hey, that guitar looks familiar.”

Joel Frank Black
“Man, that guitar didn’t mess around nohow– it wouldn’t take no jive turkey crap from NOBODY, had solid yttrium pickups, was carved from the finest particle board plank available in Guangdong prefecture, spoke several languages including esperanto, and, when not actively holding the fabric of the universe together, reposed in a case made of interwoven Chic-O-Sticks.”

It has triggered some tremors in my brain. I don’t know what Joel’s day job is, but I don’t think he puts bacon on the table as a writer. My business card says writer, but I haven’t written a thing in years that was as alive and energetic and fun as that post of his.

We knew each other in Hattiesburg, had common friends. We both got out, heading in different directions. He headed west to California. I headed east to Atlanta, and after bouncing around a bit have landed in SLC.

I left to escape the lack of opportunity. I was too special, too free thinking, too creative for that one-horse college town. But after 25-odd years that have passed since burning rubber outta town on Hardy Street, I find myself in another small city, doing work that is in no way special, creative, or free-thinking, at least not in the sense I understood it then.

Joel is still in California. And no matter what his day job is, his post reminded me that he is more creative and free thinking than I will ever be, without even trying. I’m not being self-deprecating here. Joel and his ilk were always able to shake it up and spray it out in the most mind-bending ways. Clearly, that’s still the case.

Maybe the punchline is that regardless of where think we belong, we end up where we’re meant to be. Maybe in spite of all the years of running and working like a dog, I was meant to live in a small town and write dull stuff. In which case perhaps I shoulda just stayed in Mississippi. For all the energy expended, I haven’t really moved forward very much. Not that I didn’t have the opportunity. It’s just that again and again, I chose what I thought was quality of life over career. Which led me here.

Not complaining. Life is good. Comfortable house in a safe place, great coworkers, gorgeous city, haven’t been laid off in awhile. And I had the pleasure of reading that brilliant rant. Now you have, too. What does it all mean? In the words of Mr. Natural, don’t mean sheeit.

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