2004-08-17 - 12:08 p.m.
However poetic I might manage to be on occasion, the fine art of song smithery completely eludes me. This is not for lack of trying, as I’ve managed to garble together a few little ditties, most of them x-rated parodies of old fifties numbers. Still, never will you hear the strains of “Pubic Wart Sue” clot the airwaves, despite the fact that that name would make a decent punk rock name.
Thankfully, most of these songs I’ve kept to myself. Happily humming them to myself while taking out the trash or excommunicating beer transcendent. (Peeing.) Despite its intended warmth and fuzziness, I do not know if my sixth grade girlfriend would have liked being the subject of a Beach Boys rewrite. Then again, “Help Me, Shondra…” It fit so well.
Instead, I fit all my romantical thoughts in small scraps of paper I snuck into her desk during lunch. The definition of daring in sixth grade was getting past the lunch monitor back to the locked classroom and slipping in through the always-open window. My best friend stood look out while I planted the sensitive documents. We were devious dark men in those days. When I tell people I have a dark past, this is what I’m referring to.
She always wrote back, simply handing the notes to me during class. Sure, this may have been even bolder, and much simpler, but it didn’t entail all the fun running around and what not, and where’s the fun in danger if you’re not at least running around a little? You need at least a few poses for the imagined trailer for the movie of your life, and simply extending your arm three feet out to the side, it’s just not that exhilarating.
Our entire lovey-dovey discourse transpired in ink and paper. We hung out, taunting each other and playing around, but my boldness to challenge the lunch monitor did not extend to boldness of the lippy format. Little passages with heart dotted ‘i”s (her), and phrases learned from the meet-cute moments in the Wrinkle-in-Time series (me) were all that kept us from simply being what we were. Friends. At that age, though, a girl and a guy being friends, without at least the question of possible boob touching? Blasphemy!
My addiction to using the written word as a medium for powerful feeling hasn’t much dwindled. In high school, I wrote, “Will you go” on my left arm, and “out with me?” on my right, so I could make a big reveal by rolling up my sleeves. The logistics of actually getting my shirt all the way up to my shoulder and then standing in such a way so it was readable kind of ruined the moment, however.
I reached for a larger canvas, and returned to my papyrus, writing long-winded descriptions of my feelings, and their loveliness before finally at the end of page three revealing my intentions. If read aloud, these harangues would have out-cheesed any end-of-movie-romantic-revelation-speech.
I put all my faith in whatever little bits of language I can Pollock onto the page, and prey that they have their desired effect. But when you hear some couple relating their “how we got together” story, it so rarely includes, “Well he wrote me this great letter.” It’s usually a look, or something she said, or his odd choice of “Wonderwall” when he reenacted that scene from “Say Anything…”
Sometimes you pick up those letters and get a bit misty, as the fog of memories descends, but that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s the memories that get us all het up, not the words themselves. They’re just a carrier.
Sometimes I just worry that I should have been hefting a boom box instead of a pen. I’d hate to think that I left more words than memories in my wake.
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