Thursday, February 23, 2006

Post concert highs and lows

Just got back from seeing Sigur Ros in Kansas City. Drove down with two fairly attractive guys - both seniors in high school. The show was great. I wish I could put into words how great the show was - but since we had to drive back to Omaha at 11 p.m. and I had to get up at 7:00 a.m. - I'm not the best about processing complex thoughts right now.

Anyway - I'm with these two, and I see that one has his arm around the other's...side. Not shoulder as in 'it's tight in this car, I need to stretch' arm around. I'm talking about around his side. One is rail thin and has his fingernails painted black. The other, a semi-heavyset redhead. A few hours later, one is resting his hand on the other's thigh (outer, not inner). The conversation goes from girls to the atrocities of Fred Phelps. It made me wonder/hope that in today's somewhat-more accepting high school environment (in general), these guys were free to express their affection for each other - regardless if they're straight or gay. But I know better. Whether or not Napoleon Dynamite is a cultural icon, it still has to suck being a geek in high school.

Anyway - we got to talking about careers. I'm making o.k. money now, but I still think my path lies in a newsroom. Still, I look at what makes people pursue the paths they choose. I think virtually everyone has thought of pursuing their artistic love (be it a musician, writer or painter), but for some reason or another, these people choose lives as insurance agents, county clerks and scientists. That's not a bad thing - in fact, Time magazine just did an article about how we are falling so far behind in the sciences. It made me wonder if it's PARTLY (not all, just a small equation) because the U.S. is probably the most celebrity-driven culture in the world. So many people (maybe I'm one of them) strive to be writers, musicians, actors because of some sort of chase for authenticity. If they're not pursuing their art, they're "selling out." Being a writer is perceived to be "cool". Being a scientist is perceived not to be "cool". It's as if the culture tries to sway people away from these career paths.

Which brings me to House. He was talking about either the 'cool' status or punks. He berated this one person - and I'm paraphrasing: "you want to know the true punks in this world, it's the Asian kids who spend their late nights studying - because they don't give a crap about what people think of them." A bit prejudice, I know - but the overall message can't be discounted.

That's what keeps bugging me about not wanting to sack everything and take up a job at a newspaper at a lower level that pays shit - just to get my career in gear. I think my job now in corporate America is shallow and not authentic. And being a journalist is a helluva lot different than being a poet (no offense, Ted Koozer - even though he worked full-time in insurance while he was a poet). It's a career and you can honestly make a steady income (albeit meager). It's authentic - but authenticity starts to lose its romantic allure once the student loans pile in.


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