Song of the Day

Set the Ray to Jerry by Smashing Pumpkins (1995)

“Born to please / Every simple need / I stand alone”

I spend most of my day, consciously and unconsciously, looking for symmetry, perfect angles, and order with the things that surround me.  It’s satisfying to see items on flat surfaces are at right angles or straight lines to one another.  I like the split second when I’m driving on the highway and all of the road sign poles are perfectly aligned in my vision as one.  I love the anticipation of watching a clock, either analog or digital, as it reaches 12 PM exactly and then quickly looking away so I have that image of symmetry and perfection linger in my mind for just a moment or two.  What’s the nickname for 12 PM?  Noon.  The word “noon” is a palindrome, i.e. it’s spelled the same both forwards and backwards.  Perfection.  There’s an instant where all is well with the universe.  There’s order and structure and total perfection.  No one ever misses a shot, no one ever gets below 100% on a test, no one ever has their heart broken.  Let’s give this world a name.  Let’s call it Nüün.  It’s still a palindrome, but it looks way fucking cooler.

Let’s be clear, I don’t live in Nüün.  Au contraire mon frère.  I like to visit every now and then because it makes me feel good, but I still enjoy living in Chaos.  Chaos is so much cooler.  Anything can happen in Chaos.  There’s no order, no structure, no rules.  Whatever happens, happens.  I love Chaos.  I don’t care how fucked up things get in Chaos, as long as it’s not hurting me, my family, or my friends.  Chaos is never boring.  Chaos builds character, forms callouses, hardens the soul, and is what has made me what I am today.

Nüün calls to me, though, and it’s call gets louder and louder every year.  Nüün manifests itself in those increasing times of mindfulness I try to practice.  It distills much of what makes Chaos so crazy into a feeling of comfort, order, perfection.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it maturity, but rather wisdom.  It can only come with age and experience.  25-year-old Me didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.  I may have already been married and had two kids, but I didn’t know shit about shit.  Chaos was the only thing I knew.

This song came out about that time as a B-side to “1979” from the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness double album.  I first heard it when I bought that crazy box set for more money than I had any right to spend in those days.  Who knows what world Billy was in at the time he wrote this, but it sounds like he also began hearing the call of Nüün.  Slow down, don’t complicate things, relax.  There’s real beauty here.

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