Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Cured Myself (From the Inside Out)

1966 Ford Mustang Coupe.

My first car was a light blue 1966 Ford Mustang High Country Special that I bought my first year in college. I'm not sure what made it "special" except the little badge on the front quarter panels depicting the mountains against the sky. That was enough for me, though, and I've never forgotten it.

Technically speaking, it wasn't exactly my first. That title is owned by my father's 1967 Ford F-100 pickup truck. Top half red, bottom half white, it had class. With a bench seat, it was tailor-made for snuggling with my girl friend while cruising down the road with the AM radio turned up full blast. FM was not standard equipment in those days, nor was stereo. As a result, it wasn't until years later that I began to actually understand the lyrics to many of the songs I loved.

Louie, Louie notwithstanding, the nature of rock music is such that sometimes it's still difficult to decipher the lyrics. For example, one of my favorites, Sympathy by the Goo Goo Dolls, has what I've thought is a wonderful line: "I cured myself from the inside out." Imagine my surprise when I checked it out on the web only to discover it was really, "I killed myself from the inside out." There is a slight difference, don't you think?

"Killed" makes more sense because the songwriter is describing how he's lived his life falsely. My mistake, however, isn't so far off the mark, since he also tells us where he went wrong: "I was in love with things I tried to make you believe I was, and I wouldn't be the one to kneel before the dreams I wanted, and all the dark and all the lies were all the empty things disguised as me."

By refusing to respect and revere the dreams of his life, he left himself open to be misled by those things which held no ultimate meaning for him. Yet, the fault doesn't lie with family, teachers, or friends, but within himself. And that's where his cure begins, as it does for all of us.


(Sympathy, words and music by John Rzeznik, copyright 2002 by Warner Brothers Records; Image via Wikipedia)

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