Last Saturday, I’m reasonably sure I convinced some of my co-workers that I had completely lost my mind.
I was out on patrol, when I got a call from the desk officer, who informed me a package had just arrived with my name on it. It was a rather large package, and she figured I’d want to know about it. She was right.
I raced back to the station, knowing good and well what awaited me in the big box from Amazon. I was smiling from the moment I hit the door, which is not exactly an everyday occurrence for me. I’m friendly, sure. But that was different. I was positively giddy.
Naturally, more than a few of my fellow officers wondered what could possibly have me so excited. They were baffled and bemused by the look on my face when I showed them my 50th anniversary deluxe box set of the Beatles classic, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The befuddlement ran deeper when I hugged one of my co-workers out of pure joy.
What can I say? I was happy.
As I took my new prize back to my patrol car, I crossed paths with three more co-workers, who couldn’t help but wonder what had their semi-dour friend walking out of the station with a big smile on his face. I showed off my new prize, leading one of them to offer me an understanding smile, while one of the others seemed a bit exasperated. “Good Lord,” she said. “You and your music!”
All I could do was look back at her and smile. “Yeah,” I said. “Isn’t it great?”
It’s difficult to get someone who doesn’t appreciate music to understand my passion for the art form. To be honest, I’ve stopped trying. It’s not something you can get by force. Music either resonates within you, or it doesn’t. I just have a tough time trying to relate to people who can’t get there. I remember talking to a friend about a new record I had fallen in love with. He looked at me earnestly and said, “You can’t love music. That’s impossible.” I had to pause for a moment, just to make sure he was serious. He was.
I just shook my head. “Clearly,” I said, “you haven’t heard the right music yet.”
With the understanding that I love my daughter like nothing else in the world, nothing lights me up the way music does. I appreciate my career, I enjoy baseball and golf, and I’m a big movie fan. But music … man, that is something else entirely. There’s just something about coming home from the record store, or receiving a package in the mail, that takes my mind to another place. It’s a happier place. It’s a world where I can cast aside the endless parade of idiocy I see in day-to-day life and focus on the art form that makes it all better.
There’s nothing quite like a stack of new CDs, waiting for me to pour through them and explore the sounds that lay within.
I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. I don’t see it changing any time soon. Why should it?
Sometimes, I get through all my new music in a day. Sometimes, it takes me a week. It doesn’t matter. I’m not racing to get to the bottom of the stack. It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. Even if that journey is 12 CDs long.
There are few things I enjoy more than knowing there is new music waiting for me at home. It might be a stack of CDs. It might be a couple of new downloads for me to review. It might be one of the 600(!) albums that await my attention on my Bandcamp wish list. That next great new piece of music is out there. I just need to find it.
It’s been suggested that the money I’ve spent on music over the years might have been more wisely invested in something else, like a large house. Granted, I like the idea of a comfortable home. Still, a neatly manicured front lawn will NEVER have the same impact as a well-executed guitar solo to me. You can keep your three-car garage. Music brings me a lot more joy.
Music is what gets in you. It’s what lights you up. There are few situations in life that can’t be connected to a song or artist. Music pulls me through things. It augments moments of joy. It reminds me of what is good in the world, and keeps me from drowning in a sea of negativity. Music makes it all better.
I realize not everything is for everybody. Still, I have trouble understanding people who don’t appreciate music. I’m not saying you have to appreciate it the same way I do. That’s a lot to ask. But I would think everyone would have at least a small appreciation for this amazing art form. I interviewed my friend Abbi Telander for my forthcoming book. She’s almost as fanatical as I am. “When people say they’re not into music, I find myself wondering, ‘How do you live?'” she told me. That’s exactly how I feel. How can you not get excited about music? It boggles my mind.
Visiting two record stores in Baltimore last month spurred me into a new project. I have a perfectly good car, and there are tons of cities I can drive to in six hours or less. There are a lot of record stores out there. Why not visit as many of them as I can? Once there, I can explore the music native to that region. And just like that, an entirely new avenue of exploration revealed itself. How excited am I?
So prepare to see more stacks of CDs. There is much to see and hear out there. And I’m gonna check out as much of it as I can. I can’t wait to tell you about it.
My daughter. My health. Music.
What more do I need?