Hello, it’s me.
The two devices that store and play most of my music are my phone and my car’s sound system. I have both set to play random selections from my entire collection. Lately, for some unknown reason, they’ve both played a lot of songs by Todd Rundgren. (Pretty much everything I listen to is over 40 years old.) I have no problem with this. I don’t think I’m alone in the opinion that Mr. Rundgren is a musical genius. The (brilliant) LP “Something/Anything” is the one that keeps getting played. Which got me to thinking…
I’d like to talk about something/anything other than Covid-19!*
I can’t be the only one who feels this way, yet it’s still all anyone talks about. Including me! Maybe it’s because we can’t think of anything else to talk about. There aren’t that many subjects we cover in most conversations anyway.
Many of those are off limits.
Religion and politics are taboo in the best of times. Now that they’ve merged into an unholy alliance, they’re even less appealing. Besides, the maniacal moron now occupying the White House part time is a one-man pandemic and just as tiresome a topic.
Others are just plain dull.
The weather is a popular, if tedious, conversational crutch. Let’s skip that one, too, for the cliche it is. Your latest purchase or home renovation? Equally banal. And equally unedifying. And maybe just a wee bit vain.
Hey, we can always rely on sports to prompt a lively discussion or argument. How ’bout that? Oh, yeah. There are no sports happening because of the… well, you know.
So what’s left?
One of my favorite fonts of conversational fodder is movies. Most people have a good stockpile of movie experiences and opinions. The same goes for books and TV shows. Those talks can also lead to deeper exchanges. Such as…
One another. Tell me about you. No, not what you own or what you’ve accomplished. You. As the equally brilliant Michael Omartian once sang:
I don’t want to hear about your conquests,
Or your casual affairs.
Each one a great new story…
But who cares.
I want to know about your feelings,
Or the ache in your heart,
The thoughts that make you what you are,
That set you apart.
‘Cause maybe I’ve had them, too.
We avoid those sensitive topics, not wishing to make ourselves vulnerable, but is anything more important? Granted, this is not the stuff of light banter among casual acquaintances. In those cases, the weather will suffice. When sharing with someone closer, though, coronavirus is as sterile a subject as any. Why not go deeper?
For example, let’s talk about God. (That’s different than religion.) The way we conceive of Him might determine what’s inside us better than any other question. As A. W. Tozer once put it:
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
What are your dreams, hopes, and plans? What are your fears, failures, and disappointments? Now we’re getting somewhere. Drop that stuff on me and we both might benefit. You get to share your burden and I could find a kindred spirit.
Or we could fall back on R.E.M.’s advice**:
Should we talk about the weather?
Should we talk about the government?
Sure. Something/Anything but Covid-19.
* I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic, but it shouldn’t be all-consuming. To obsess over it is as dangerous to our mental health as the virus is to our physical bodies.
** I’m of the opinion that a post can’t have too many references to quality music.
I can’t believe someone else knows the lyrics to that Michael Omartian song! I love it. I think of it all the time. I listened to it as an adolescent in the 70s. Really stuck with me.
Confession time: I know the lyrics (as well as guitar riffs, drum beats, and harmonies) to nearly every Omartian song. And my introduction to his music was long after my adolescence! This song, I assume written for his friend Annie Herring, is timeless. I’m of the opinion that music should reveal what’s in the heart and soul. Else, why should I invest my time and effort?
Thank you for your note, Traveler. You’ve reminded me of the song’s significance. May it stick with you forever.