Thursday, March 27, 2008


My husband has a young co-worker that he genuinely enjoys and, for some reason beyond my husband's understanding, the young man seeks him out to talk to, has invited him out to breakfast, and to play basketball with him. Gary's truly grateful for this kind of inclusion. Friendship can be a big help when you're going to a job you otherwise dislike on a truly lousy shift. I've spoken with the guy on the phone once or twice. He has a quick sense of humor.

A week or so ago the young man handed my husband a music video by a group named Tool and asked him to watch it. He was just sure Gary would enjoy it. Looking at the surreal images of transparent fishlike creatures staring up at him from behind a windowed flap, my husband had his doubts, but he is a good friend (trust me, you want this guy at your back if you're in a tight spot) and said he'd try.

My oldest son saw the cover and shook his head. "These guys are seriously anti-Christian, Dad. I'd skip it if I were you."

Gary reported this back to his friend who assured Gary that Jeremiah must have misunderstood something he'd heard. They just make music, he said. Nothing more, nothing less.

So this morning Gary and I sat down and watched it together.

It is basic to my nature to try and understand everything I read, listen to, or look at. I enjoy surrealistic work as long as it's meaningful. I'm patient, I'll meditate on difficult prose or poetry, pondering its layers, wandering through its images. I actually prefer challenging, complex poetry, truth being told. To me it's like language-based algebra or a word game.



Gary and I sat through eight minutes of video. Eight minutes of a transparent humanoid figure staring at an eclipse (?) with fish-like creatures coming out his eyes until a locust-like creature stung him and he died (?) and an infant began to form in his brain. A block of amber floated across the screen more than once and an octopus type creature came out of the locust and died on the ground beside the humanoid. All of this was put to complex guitar-work and lyrics I could not understand because of the complex guitar work .

"I don't think we're high enough to appreciate this," said my almost 47 year old husband.

"I think it's about evolution and man's struggle to understand his role in the space and time," I replied, almost 43 years old young, but aging by the minute. "I agree though. We need more drugs."

We tried to watch the documentary that came with it, hoping for clarification. Instead we got a third-hand report by someone who'd once worked with the artist a long time ago and another report about the special effects used.

Because I'm me, I went in search of the lyrics online, learned that the artist "Adam Jones" was a talented sculpturist and media artist who worked on films like "Jurrassic Park" before he left to pursue music and videos. It seems Adam experimented-at least at one point in time--with hallucinogens and claimed they opened his mind.

Well that explains a lot.

I didn't find the lyrics I wanted, but I did find a collection of others. Interestingly he write substantial material--clearly has a drive to say something important--his topics ranging from censorship to third world horrors. But my search stopped when I found the words to another one of their songs called "Opiate". I don't feel the need to understand anything else at this point.

Choices always were a problem for you.
What you need is someone strong to guide you.
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow,
what you need is someone strong to use you..
like me,
like me.

If you want to get your soul to heaven,
trust in me.
Don't judge or question.
You are broken now ,
but faith can heal you.
Just do everything I tell you to do.
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.
Let me lay my holy hand upon you.

My Gods will
becomes me.
When he speaks out,
he speaks through me.
He has needs
like I do.
We both want
to rape you.

Jesus Christ, why don't you come save my life.
Open my eyes and blind me with your light
and your lies.

I showed them to Gary who frowned and sighed. He picked up the DVD dropped it in the bag he takes to work. "That's the end of that."

What do you do in a situation like this? Make up a strained little white lie to avoid hurting the other guy's feelings? Tell him you find his favorite group's materials offensive? Try to slip the DVD into his hand and stay out of sight until the subject fades from memory?

I don't envy Gary tonight.


Mike said...

It sounds like a great opportunity to find out more about where this guy's head is.

Mary Paddock said...

I agree Mike, and hopefully Gary will approach the subject with him. He's inclined to talk about his faith in a fairly measured way and people tend to respect that about him.

The added complication is that this guy is his superior. 'Could be awkward if he offends him.

I personally never know how to tell someone I didn't get something they considered important enough to share with me.

Scotty said...

If he makes things awkward for Gary just for having a different taste in music, I wouldn't count him as much of a superior myself.

As for telling others generally? The truth works for me. They're either mature enough (in the workplace) or enough of a personal friend to understand and/or respect your differing point of view/taste. I no longer let myself feel guilty for other peoples' inabilities to accept the truth.

"Before I answer that question, just let me say, Don't ask me that question unless you're 100% sure that you're gonna be okay with my answer..."