Happiness? More or less....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/09/12 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2010/09/12/10060809.aspx


You should feel free to skip this blog. It's all about sone lyrics and Liz and Andrea so forth....

So it was a few weekends ago, after midnight.

I was on the way back from Tacoma, where we were watching Lady Gaga perform.

She isn't my favorite, unlike some of those I was with (for whom she is!). But she is a mildly guilty pleasure I have.

Anyway, I am sitting in the back seat, suddenly Pledge of Allegiance starts playing (and when I say Pledge of Allegiance, I mean the Louis XIV song off The Best Little Secrets are Kept, not the Pledge of Allegiance).

Not so Gaga-esque of a song, I'm momentarily confused.

Oh yeah, that is the ringer on my phone. I blame Samantha for that, she's the Louis XIV groupie. Hasn't she heard they broke up yet?

I answer the phone and it's Andrea of course. She wanted to talk song lyrics.

It isn't after minight in the Netherlands.

I tell her I'll call her back when I get home (subjecting you readers who can close their browser to this nonsense without hurting my feelings is acceptable; to Frank and Holly it would a little unfair!).

Anyway, i make it home and call her back. It is late, but not so much in Nederland, so she doesn't mind.

She reminds me that I promised I'd talk about Lucky Man at some point.

I had kind of hoped she had forgotten about that one, actually.

A reconstruction of the conversation follows:

Me: It's an awesome song by The Verve from the late '90s. It was a hit here and in the UK, what about it?
Andrea: Michael, you promised me you'd tell me what was so special about it. You did!
Me: Well, they put it to good use in For Love of the Game, which is more than one can say for Kelly Preston.
Andrea: I have all night if you want to keep playing games.
{pause}
Me: I was taking to Liz's sister a while back, when she told me about how Liz had feelings for me. And she told me what the song meant to Liz. That's all.
Andrea: Okay, so what did the song mean to Liz?
Me: Well it was what it meant to me too. And what Liz thought about that.
Andrea: {getting angry now} If I have to fly out there and slap you around to get a straight answer, I'll do it.
Me: No, I'm answering. I am!

I'll pause to give the actual lyrics. Now there are several sites out there which hav similar but inconsistent lyrics, but  I'll focus on one lyrics during one show I was actually at and recorded. I don't think the song changed, other than Ashcroftian variation from live performance slips, as can happen often. The slight differences I noted were actually improvements, in my opinion:

Happiness
More or less
It's just a change in me
Something in my liberty
Oh, my, my
Happiness
Coming and going
I watch you look at me
Watch my fever growing
I know just where I am
But how many corners do I have to turn?
How many times do I have to learn
All the love I have is in my mind?

Well, I'm a lucky man
With fire in my hands

Happiness
Something in my own place
I'm stood here naked
Smiling, I feel no disgrace
With who I am

Happiness
Coming and going
I watch you look at me
Watch my fever growing
I know just where I am

And how many corners do I have to turn?
How many times do I have to learn
All the love I have is in my mind?

I hope you understand
I hope you understand

(Oh....no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no)

Gotta love that'll never die

(No, No)

Happiness
More or less
It's just a change in me
Something in my liberty
Happiness
Coming and going
I watch you look at me
Watch my fever growing
I know
Oh, my, my
Oh, my, my
Oh, my, my
Oh, my, my

(No, No, No)

Gotta love that never dies
I Gotta love that'll never die
No, no
I'm a lucky man

It's just a change in me
Something in my liberty
It's just a change in me
Something in my liberty
It's just a change in me
Something in my liberty
Oh, my, my
Oh, my, my
It's just a change in me
Something in my liberty
Oh, my, my
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Oh, my, my

Ok, getting back to our conversation.

Me: Richard Ashcroft wrote it, pretty much for his wife. But he was pointing out that luck, and love, and pretty much all the pieces of a person's life that can become happiness, come from within. Not from without.
Andrea: So its one of those "you can't love anyone if you don't love yourself first" kind of things?
Me: Not necessarily. He wasn't saying you couldn't be happy with others. In fact, he wasn't saying it was happiness that he was having on his own. He just recognized that there was something kind of happiness-like thing that he had from knowing himself and what he was, and that he had nothing to be ashamed of in all that. But his real passion was still coming from her -- she is the one who can make his fever grow, just by her watching him. The one lesson he keeps learning is that he needs that earlier "preparation" bit to really understand that love. Because all the love he has is in his mind. And how can he understand it (how can he love, how can he be happy) if he doesn't understand himself?
Andrea: Okay, that makes sense. I can see it.... {pause} Now what about Liz? And you?
Me: When I told thai interpretation of mine to Liz, she had been hung up previously on where she had first heard the song. That Kevin Costner Baseball movie. She thought their use (focusing on the lucky man, with fire in his hand) was brilliant. But it seemed off to her, somehow - since none of the rest of the song was about that at all, thematically.
Andrea: Some of your influence, no doubt.
Me: No doubt.
Andrea: And?
Me: I told her that sometimes I doubted I had that change in me. I doubted I really understood my heart all that well.
Andrea: What did she say to that?
Me: She told me not to worry so much. Because she understood me.
Andrea: Oh.
Me: And I could lean on her, as needed.
Andrea: Oh.
Me: Her sister told me that Liz thought of me in that context as a Richard Ashcroft before being able to sing that song. That I couldn't love her yet because I didn't understand those things yet.
Andrea: Oh. Again.
Me: Yes, OH. It was her hope, for me. That I'd understand myself and then would turn and see her and then that would be it. I would just know.
Andrea: What do you think?
Me: I think she was giving me too much credit, you know? It really never occurred to me. I mean during the time that it might have come up, one or both of us was always involved with someone else. We'd both joke about it now and again, but we were always just joking.
Andrea: Well you were joking.
Me: Yeah, I was. I never saw it.
Andrea: And now?
Me: I've been divorced, almost engaged, broken up with (and/or been dumped by) a small division (though not battalion) of women, yet the one who made me realize this truth that I expounded on myself was the sister of the girl I shared nothing more than a single kiss, and a lifetime from afar, with.
Andrea: And so you understand it now?
Me: I think so.
Andrea: And are you happy?
Me: Maybe. Though it's just as possible that it's too late for me, anyway. And yet, it can still allude me.
Andrea: What, happiness?
Me: More or less. It's just a change in me, you know? Something in my liberty...
Andrea: Oh my, Mi-chael.

The conversation devolved from there (to whatever extent it hadn't devolved already) after she accused me of aiming the conversation at that last bit to do the lyrics and I denied the planning while admitting to opportunistically taking advantage, and we hung up within an hour or so.

Hard to know what will happen when one doesn't even know what's happening tomorrow. And hope is not natural to someone as cynical as I.

But I haven't given up just yet. That's the bonus of not knowing what's happening tomorrow....


John Cowan on 12 Sep 2010 10:12 AM:

"Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future." --Nils Bohr

""I certainly wasn't happy. Happiness has to do with reason, and only reason earns it. What I was given was the thing you can't earn, and can't keep, and often don't even recognize at the time; I mean joy." --Ursula K. Le Guin, _The Left Hand of Darkness_

Tom on 13 Sep 2010 8:52 AM:

Uhhhhhhh.  Thanks for sharing.


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