#30, "Take the Skinheads Bowling," Camper van Beethoven (1985)

When I started posting about my 100 favorite songs of all time, I devised a process for tackling such a monumental endeavor. I made a mishmash list of as many as 200 songs, then I assigned them each a tier. Tier 1 contained my 12-15 all time favorite songs. Tier 2, I felt needed to be ranked between 12 and 30, and so on. Within each group, I put them in order. Ordering the tiers happened all in one setting, so it was subject to whims and moods. One such whim placed “Take the Skinheads Bowling” at #30. 


I was high on this particular song because it was this song that inspired this project. For whatever reason on one of Pete’s and my music-video Friday nights, I put this song on and somewhat inebriated, I declared this to be one of my very favorite songs of all time, even as I’m not particularly a fan of Camper van Beethoven OR Cracker, I just really like “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” And then in the light of day, it occurred to me that it would be a very rewarding experience to create a list of all of my all-time favorite songs. Then I posted about it on Facebook to my very supportive friends, one of whom said that she loves the way I write and would love to read about my favorite songs. It hadn’t occurred to me that each post would be accompanied by a blurb about the song, but that seemed like a great idea, too. 


About two months later, here we are at #30 and a song that I have almost nothing to say about (except that it’s great) and more than ⅔ of the way through a marathon that seems to be running out of steam. I’m short on time these days. I’ve taken on a bunch of projects during the pandemic, all of which seem to be suffering in opposition to each other. I can’t do the best job I possibly can on the EG music video if I’m feeling guilty about not practicing singing. Doing my best at my job and professional networking is impossible if I’m writing about my favorite songs while attending MS Teams meetings. 


But like, I have to finish all of these things. HAVE TO. Before the pandemic, I constantly felt like I never had enough time to do the things I need to do to remain creatively and personally fulfilled. I was not exercising enough, certainly not sleeping enough, and had zero time to do anything besides work, socialize, and exist, save for a few hours on weekends. When the pandemic began, I was borderline inspired by the fact that the pandemic was giving us the gift of time. Then I began to think of time-intensive projects I could begin. It started out with one or two and now I’m simultaneously four or five and not only do I feel over-extended *by my own hand*, but am also beating myself up not doing as good a job as I’d like to be doing on all of them. 


I guess the logical thing to do wout be to put one or more things on hold, but I don’t want to neglect any of them for fear that I’ll not feel like completing them once I have more time. The fear of never-finishing is even darker than it sounds because in a lot of ways I feel like being productive during the pandemic is a fight against my own mortality. I’ve posted before about feeling nervous and worried about getting sick and dying. The irony is that a lot of this is completely unrelated to the pandemic and related more to the loss of my dear friend Josie at such a young age and my mom’s passing, now having happened FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, the latent shock of this never wore off. 


When my brother was solidly in school, my mom was still only working half time, pretty much having her afternoons to herself. She began taking up a series of projects that seemed maybe a little out of character, but now I get it. She became interested in crafts, in writing, in jewelry-making. She didn’t always have a specific goal in mind, she just became very busy being creative all of a sudden. This didn’t stop until she got sick. In retrospect, it seems like she was racing against time. Despite the fact that I’m generally in really great health and have very few remaining vices, I find myself doing the same thing as I’m entering middle age, almost as if I’m racing against time, too. 


I almost never use Facebook for anything but to post these essays and the occasional funny thought that comes to me. I certainly don’t want to use it for any conversation that goes beyond very surface-level discussions about funny or stupid stuff. All other discussion is far too depressing. I don’t think I’m alone. I see people posting about deactivating Facebook. I occasionally think “what ever happened to so-and-so?” and it turns out that they haven’t posted since June. I personally have instituted a personal rule that I don’t look at my phone at all after 10:00. I’ve been sleeping much better since making that policy. 


It’s ironic that we’re all drifting away from a *social networking* site just as we’re all kind of isolated to people in our household or masked small-group gathering with friends who have the a similar risk threshold. That’s why I’m still here. Pete and I entertain ourselves extremely well for a two-person unit, but we’re social creatures and miss our friends and miss shows and going out. But goddamn, I can’t keep reading day after day after day about how the Biden campaign isn’t doing X or Y well. There’s nothing I can do about that. It’s only upsetting me. Same with what happens if Trump loses doesn’t leave office. How are any of you dealing with living this day in and day out without feeling like your insides are rotting? Walking away also has the effect of shrinking our worlds in a time where we need each other. So I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe we just live small lives until 2022. Start again then. If we’re lucky. 


The hundred favorite songs aren’t like that, though. It’s kind of magic. I never get mad at any comments. I love the interaction. I love that we’re talking about stuff that enriches our lives instead of making us sad or stressed. I love that there are regulars who often, but don’t always have something to say about it. I love so much that Pete reads every word and makes a point to comment specifically on something I’ve said. I love that my dear friend Kelly is doing this with me and is feeling the same strain of commitment and time-dump when we have other, more serious fish to fry. We always Heart each other’s posts. I love it to the extent that even though it feels like a monster, I am terrified of how I will feel when it’s done. 


These posts take between one and four hours to research and write. I hate it when I stumble across songs on this list that don’t inspire me because then it becomes a chore in addition to a mission. So I just didn’t this time and poured my guts out. It’s a delightfully infectious, nonsensical song by a band I’m not particularly a fan of that launched a three-month time suck that endures as both very fun, sometimes rewarding, and sometimes burdensome. May Jah increase the number of clocks by exactly one.