The Random Griffith

Happy new year, a day or so late

Posted in butthurt singer songwriter, embarrassing confessionals, laundromat posts by Jackson Griffith on 03/01/2012

So what did you do to ring in the new year? I dragged myself out of my little hidey-hole, figuring that it would be much better to welcome the new year while being somewhat sociable than just chilling out in my apartment. Didn’t really have a plan; walked a few blocks to Tres Hermanas, a Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood, and right after I got seated, a threesome that I think might’ve been roasting a bowl on the sidewalk came in, carrying a really big bottle of cheap (Cook’s) champagne, acting like they owned the joint. That takes stones; the only thing cooler would have been if it was Andre cold duck. The guy was hispanic, with one of those goofus fauxhawks and a fake tan; he was wearing a black dress shirt with a really ugly crimson tie. One of the two women was a blonde, the other a brunette; both had painted-on dresses, and the blonde’s lingerie covered up her tats, but the brunette had a bunch of stuff in what looked like olde English script tatted all up and down her slightly plump legs.

There was a couple seated in between them and me, so I only could gander snippets of their conversation; something about “you look hawt,” directed toward the blonde, and a rather loud passage wherein Mr. Ladies Man was arguing over his cell phone with what sounded like a cab dispatcher about the price of getting from Tres Hermanas to the Mercantile Saloon, an easy five-and-a-half block jaunt by foot in athletic shoes, made slightly more difficult in counterfeit Louboutins. I kept trying to take pictures of them, because they were such a funny sight, but I am the world’s worst photographer. When I left, Fauxhawk and the blonde were decamped outside with their champagne and cigarrettes: “You look sooo hawtt,” he told her again, “but Gina just looks sooooo trashy tonight.”

Later, I made it over to the Fox & Goose in time for D.J. Larry Rodriguez’s big soiree, which must have been pretty fun. Except that Sir Nose D’Voidofunk hit me with some kind of anti-bop entropy gun, so I got rhythm about as well as Mitt Romney, which is to say, not at all. Everybody was dancing, and had not committed to Larry that I would pull the string at midnight that would release the balloons, I might have bailed. I mean, I could not dance, I could not feel it; what I was feeling instead was crummy, increasingly crummy.

Once I got home, I didn’t leave until this morning. On New Year’s Day, I felt like that Detroit Lions fan who ran in front of a bus, except that I lived through it. At least I think I did. Maybe not. I just proned out in bed, slept, woke up, read, and dreamed of buying a toaster. That’s what my life has been missing, I thought: The ability to make toast on demand. So today, finally, I scraped myself off the mattress and into the shower, and then made it across town to pay rent and go to Target to shop for, you guessed it, a toaster.

I hate stores. I hate shopping. I hate other people in stores who push massive shopping carts down aisles and expect me to stop concentrating on various makes of toasters so I can flatten myself against the shelves to make it easy for their obese juggernauts to pass me by. I hate getting in line behind some couple whose teenage daughter is still running around the store grabbing stuff to buy, only to sprint up to the checkout and dump it on the counter ahead of my solitary toaster, solitary because I didn’t feel good enough to buy more stuff. Meanwhile, everyone else who made smarter picks for lines to get into have bought their swag and moved out the doors. Especially I hate shopping when I don’t feel good. Still, I ain’t about to pepper spray anybody.

Right now, I feel like a catbox left to fester. I’m doing laundry. But I did make amends with the guy I’d maligned, described in my last post here, by apologizing, saying I was sorry, telling him I’m really working on not practicing any more of that dickish behavior, which is rooted in my own insecurities that the world has passed me by, and I asked him if there was anything I could do to make it right. There is one other person I offended a while back, a big shot in the local music scene, to whom I’ve sent three separate messages apologizing for my behavior, but he’s choosing to ignore me and my entreaties, or not acknowledge them. Which is something I have no control over. If he doesn’t want to accept my amends, that’s his choice.

I just have to stop shooting myself in the foot. And I gotta start feeling better, too. —Jackson Griffith

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Butthurt singer-songwriter for hire

Looks like I fiddlesticksed up again. Gosh darn it; sometimes I should look down at that third rail and say, “You know, that’s a third rail. If I touch that third rail, I’m likely to get all shocked and all, so I’ll just note that thought and move away from that third rail without being stupid enough to touch it.”

But no. Instead of doing one of a hundred other things, like sit in meditative silence, or call that platonic galpal back who wanted to meet for a meal tonight, I had to do a stupid. I got an Facebook invite to a show at a local coffee room, and I clicked on the page for that show and typed a message about wanting to come, but I’m boycotting any shows by the person at the top of the ticket until he lets me play on one of his shows. The top of the ticket guy immediately wrote back: “That’ll never happen.” Fine, I wrote back. At least you’re finally communicating with me, instead of giving me a passive-aggressive cold shoulder every time I stupidly abase myself to you for asking to play on one of your shows. Then he said something like “Butthurt singer-songwriters aren’t my style.”

Now, I’m not sure that butthurt is the correct word; I think that in my case the word “frustrated” is closer to the mark. Hey, maybe I come across as butthurt, or unnecessarily entitled, to people, and I’m just a poor self-observer. But not being named Cayce, or Criswell, or Kreskin, or Mesmer, I have no idea unless you tell me, preferably before I make an annoying idiot out of myself. Psychic I am not, contrary to what those astrologers tell me about my Pisces Moon-Mercury combo in the sixth house trining my Neptune in the second or something like that.

Yes, I have a lot of songs that I want to play for people. I thought that this certain DIY straightedge punk legend and onetime local cafe owner might be open to my little ambition, perhaps. I figured wrong, of course, but I kept persisting even though I wasn’t getting any kind of straight answer. Perhaps I was, but it was telegraphed in that unspoken way that non-Asperger types communicate, and I was too cluelessly autistic to pick up the signals. Story of my life, there, really.

I could go off at this point and rip the guy a new sphincter with my precision-sharpened critic’s scalpel, but I won’t. I respect the guy’s work and like a lot of his songs, really, and in the past, we’ve enjoyed reasonably warm conversation to the point where I thought I could consider him a friend. I admire his tenacity to keep going even when the world is throwing him the middle finger, and I think he’s got a great work ethic. In fact, I’d spoken to his wife at one point about asking him to help me sequence a set’s worth of my songs, which is a service I would pay money to have done, and she seemed to voice that it might be a decent idea. Perhaps I misperceived. Anyway, I ran it past him, and got that cold shoulder, and didn’t press forward with that idea anymore. Asking for help in a way that I actually receive it doesn’t seem to be one of my strong suits, which is one reason I don’t seem to have many musician pals helping me to flesh out my songs.

My only caveat is that this person and his cohorts seem overly chummy and exclusionary, at least toward me. Perhaps they think that I, my music, or maybe both, “suck,” or aren’t up to their lofty standards, but they never got around to telling me to my face until now. Which is okay; I’ve spent large parts of my life casting what few pearls I have before swine, and I’m just getting around to stopping that behavior, or at least reining it in. The funny thing is, this person has rattled off many column inches in one of his blogs bitching about the local music scene, and to me, he and his little treehouse of friends are as much of the problem as anyone he rails about, and the idea of him calling anyone else “butthurt” is more than slightly risible.

But I’d rather not focus anymore on something I can’t control, which is what he or anyone else thinks about me. I’m more interested in getting at the root of the problem, which is why people react to me the way they do. It’s kinda like my dad used to tell me: “If you’re walking around town and all you keep running into is assholes, come home and look in the mirror.” And I really want to figure out why people perceive me as too “butthurt” to want to work with me, so I can address those negative qualities or try to get help working through them. I’m sincere about this; I don’t want to die and then have somebody say, wow, he wrote some pretty good tunes; too bad he’s not around to play them now.

So at some point, I’d really rather move past that which is holding me back. I’d like for people to want to play music with me, rather than talk behind my back about what a jerk they think I am, or laugh at me for trying. I’m not getting any younger, but mostly I’m getting incrementally wiser. I want to use the time I have left to communicate with others, and I really would like the privilege and opportunity to play my songs to people. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. But I’ll have to approach people who feel warmly toward me, rather than people who secretly harbor animosity toward me.

So maybe next time, I’ll do the smart thing and shut up before I make any more enemies. —Jackson Griffith