Sunday, September 30, 2018

Songs for Our Sad, Sad Times

"Guy Who Doesn't Get It" / Jill Sobule

This is the song that first made a Jill Sobule fan of me. I discovered it late one night a decade or so ago, surfing iTunes user playlists (back before iTunes decided they would eliminate the personal interface to instead monetize everything to feed the iTunes Store).  Talk about AHA moments.

I'm way far down the Jill fangirl road by now -- but sometimes it's good just to remember how you got there. And given this past week's events, this snarky little track from Pink Pearl (2000) seems all too relevant.

The cruel irony here is not that the girl singing the song is suicidally depressed -- although she is -- it's that her obtuse boyfriend hasn't got a clue. "Can't you see that I am dying inside?", she starts singing, in that sweet-and-innocent voice, even before the listless acoustic guitar and bored-sounding drums lurch in -- "Can't you hear my muffled cry?" On the second verse, a lazy slide guitar joins in as she wearily elaborates: "Don't you know my life's a quiet hell? / I'm a black hole, I'm an empty shell / Does it occur to you that I might need help?/ You're the guy who doesn't get it."

Okay, that's the premise; we've all known/dated/married men like this, and we're smiling in recognition and shaking our heads. But then, what if the guy isn't her crush/partner/husband? What if he's just a guy she ran into at a "gathering" at a friend's house?

What if that happened years ago? And what if he has completely forgotten about it? (Not even worth jotting down on his weirdly detailed monthly calendar....)

And what if, no matter how little he noticed, it's the night she could NEVER forget, the night that radically wrenched her soul and her psyche into a critically different dimension? That changed her life?

Oh, there's more -- there's her bleeding on the new tile floor (God, how I love that detail, like Mary Tyler Moore going on about having to regrout the bathroom in the film Ordinary People), there's her huffing the car exhaust, there's her zoning out on Nembutol -- Jill being Jill, she gives us a royal flush of scenarios. All of which add up to the same downer conclusion.

So here I am, watching these dueling testimonies, and remembering how it felt to be violated that morning years ago, and how hard it was to stand up in court, terrified, and tell my truth. And I'm just saying, Christine Blasey Ford is my hero.

And anybody who doesn't get that, in my opinion, hasn't got a voice in this debate.