|Talking Heads around the time they recorded the Fear of Music LP.|
Artist: Talking Heads
Artist: Talking Heads
|Cheery cover, no?|
Cut to a few months later. Out of the blue, and I mean the fucking Papa Smurf's ass blue, I got a job offer to teach at a middle school near Joliet, IL. Even better, I was at my desk at the parts plant when it happened. I immediately took it, no questions. Quitting that customer service gig was one of the Top 5 happiest moments of my life. (I can't even think of the other four.) My father was not thrilled. He made me feel very guilty about the whole thing, and I don't think he's ever gotten over it. I felt then -- and I feel now -- like an ax murderer for moving out of his house and into my own apartment in another state, even though I'd definitely be dead today if I hadn't. That was 2001. That middle school was where I was when the Twin Towers fell. It was the day before my 26th birthday. I don't think I taught those kids in Joliet a damned thing. Someday, I'll write about my horrendous experiences as a teacher. (Short version: if you hate and fear people, especially teenagers, don't go into teaching.) But I certainly learned a valuable lesson that first year "on my own." I thought that the move would somehow magically fix everything and that my personality would just naturally smooth itself out once I was in Illinois. Didn't happen that way. I was the same asshole there that I was in Michigan. All my hang-ups, hatreds, insecurities, and inadequacies were still there in Illinois. That's what I think about whenever I hear "Mind" from the Fear of Music album by Talking Heads. Most of the lyrics are about the things that "won't change you": time, drugs, science, money, religion. I don't know if David Byrne was directing this song at himself, at the listener, or at somebody he knew. But I'll be good and goddamned if it isn't all true. I can add a few items to his list, too. Xanax won't change you. Therapy won't change you. Welbutrin won't change you. In the chorus, Byrne sings, "I need something to change your mind." Amen, brother. I'm still looking for that something.