Astute OBSERVATIONS

On the ropes with Mr. Orange

2017 is off to a shocking start, huh?
     I feel like I’ve spent 10 rounds in the ring with fear and hate. I’m like a metaphysical Rocky Balboa, me versus the man in the orange trunks. He wants to put me in a body bag or a rubber room. His finishing move involves ripping out my soul and frying it up for a late-night, post-Twitter snack. I’ve got my back to the ropes and despite his diminutive hands, my opponent packs a mean wallop.
     I’m down, but I am not out. Mr. Orange has me off balance. His blows are erratic and out of nowhere. I can’t seem to defend against them. I’m backpedaling. I can’t see out of one eye, and everything is a bit foggy.
     I’m stunned, staggering, and covering up, just trying to make it to the next round. My legs are like rubber, and despite my resolve, I may hit the canvas.
     I need the sage trainer Mickey Goldmill to lay some of his hardscrabble, pugilistic wisdom on me: “Go for the ribs, Hags. Don’t let that bastard breathe!” That’s good advice, Mick. Thank you, but I’m exhausted.
     For months now, my head has been filled with the ravings of an absurd reality show caricature spewing bald-faced lies at maximum volume. I don’t think my psyche can take another alternative fact or FAKE NEWS diatribe. I’m an artist, man. I’m sensitive. I need a break, a DC-free zone, if you will. For the sake of my sanity, I am turning off the news. I am shaking off the punches, the shock, and the vitriol. Records, books, conversation, cooking, romance, meditation, sunlight, that’s what I need. I am going inward. I am refortifying. I reject this stupefying shock and awe campaign designed to keep me off balance and distracted. I’m not simply running away and locking myself in the house with my records. Actually, that’s exactly what I’m doing, but with good reason.
     We’ve got a very tough fight on our hands. It’s Joseph Campbell time. It’s Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker stuff. It’s Brody versus Jaws. I’m hitting the metaphysical gym. I’m training. I’m sparring. I’m meditating, and I’ve got my representatives on speed dial. In order to effectively fight this battle, I’ve got to marshal my power. My bloviating, blustering, bullying opponent be damned. I’m comingback swinging.
     The way I see it from my Inglewood living room window is, thusly, we have two choices, love or fear. Let’s choose love. Mr. Orange runs on fear and creates hate.
     I was playing a gig with a friend recently. We were discussing the divided states of America at the bar afterward. He said, “It’s time to let our freak flags fly, we’ve got to be our best selves.” He was right. That’s my strategy. I choose love. I reject hate. I reject walls. I choose inclusiveness.
     We live in a town full of musicians, songwriters, and artists of very race, creed, and color, freaks of every stripe. In our community, by being who we are, we can lead by example. By pouring our passion into the things we make, be they art, music, a great meal, or a fabulous cocktail and sharing them both locally and around the world, we demonstrate the best qualities of the human spirit, the best parts of Nashville, the best parts of ourselves. That demonstration alone conquers hate. By coming together and celebrating the diversity of our community, we triumph over the darkness. Inspiration, hard work, equality, respect, empathy, and joy are the remedy for this fearful malady. We are the people. We are America. Vote. Protest Create. Lead.
     Oh, one more thing: I know I’ve been on a bit of a political jag lately, but fret not, my friends; my inner comedic curmudgeon is back from a vacation at Don Rickles’ ranch and will be visiting with you shortly.