PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

This Year

I’m trying to decide if the most apt Mountain Goats song to describe the past 365 days locked up in our homes and masquerading as 1970s surgeons is “This Year.” It seems like a reasonable choice, given that it includes the line, “I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me.”

However, “Going to Lebanon 2” might be more suitable because the surrealness of the last 365 days is captured in the verse, “Take note of what will be gone in the blink of an eye, the blue blue water, the bone white sky.”

I cast my vote for Going to Lebanon 2 because a) it was released during the pandemic from hell, which suggests to me that John Darnielle wrote it to describe the feeling of being denied the simplest of pleasures when the disease struck; and b) because I have scads of Lebanese cousins, so what the hell.

As with many Mountain Goats songs, it’s really hard to understand why this one was named Going to Lebanon 2. It could have been named almost anything else and you’d be no farther from guessing what the song was about. There is no mention in the lyrics of going to Lebanon or anywhere. You’d think that something about the architecture of Beirut or Mediterranean beaches would be in order.

OK, I’m clearly diverting our attention from the bigger story: the last year has really stunk. Did you know that I had tickets to 3 rock shows that got canceled, including Nick Cave. (As if that’s a problem, with half a million Americans dead.)

But it is a problem, as is the fact that my kids haven’t been in school for a year, restaurants have closed, there is no live theater, film venues are shuttered, and I need a goddamned hug.

Maybe if we just listen to a Mountain Goats song, we’d all feel a little better and would have some hope that the future is a little brighter.

 

 

 

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Blown Away

On this blustery day of crazy winds in Boston, I find myself contemplating the B.S. that’s blowing a gale from the mouths of our Republican friends, who continue to bellow loudly of stolen elections. Do these friends believe we fell asleep amid all this wild and windy ruckus?

No chance. The howling winds have kept us awake and alert. We’re watching all the fast ones you’re trying to blow past us, and the umpires are watching as well, informing us that all those fastballs are way out of the strike zone.

In my dreams, the gusts that are about to knock down my house’s chimney (what the hell is going out there?!) blow into town and sweep away all the lies and nonsense that the opposition is attempting to build its comeback on, leaving us with nothing but facts.

And beer, of course. My homebrew is way too heavy to be carried away by even the mightiest of winds.

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Noisy

You’d think that in this era of fan-free sporting events, I’d finally be able to hear the game announcers consistently.

In pre-COVID days, when fans could cram into arenas and drink beer until they couldn’t participate in a standing ovation, there were times when the ambient noise from the rowdy hometown partisans was more than able sound technicians could eliminate, such that hearing the play-by-play and color commentary was confounding for people who had listened to too much loud music as young drummers (not me). But it didn’t happen often, and when it did it was with actual full houses.

These crazy days stadiums and arenas are sparsely populated with fans, if populated at all. So to give the impression of impassioned fans possibly unable to stand for an ovation due to beer drinking, tipsy crowd noise is piped in, and I can’t hear the announcers again.

I’d ask if it’s just me and my bad hearing or if everyone is experiencing this annoying trend, but to be honest I’m afraid of the answer.

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The Unperturbed Juror

If I were a Senator in a presidential impeachment trial, I would try to look like a person who’s completely uninterested in the proceedings. Feet up, reading a book. Maybe opening bills and junk mail and separating the wheat from the chaff.

Did the Red Sox trade Andrew Benintendi?!

I haven’t smoked a cigarette in a couple of decades, but I’m suddenly emboldened. Maybe a cigarette on the end of a long, black, wooden holder. And I’m wearing a top hat or something.

If I had a toaster with me, this would be a great time to be making toast. I like my toast to be ever so, made of freshly baked bread so that toasting it brings out the yeasty aroma and creates hot craters for butter to melt into, with only the very ends of the puffed wheat actually browning.

How can I be expected to listen to a case of inciting an insurrection by a sitting president if I’m trying to make the perfect slice of toast?

Another thing I like to do during impeachment trials is learn how to tie a new knot. As a knot aficionado, having another knot in my arsenal can’t hurt. There is certain to come a time when the knots I’m currently able to tie don’t serve my purposes, and… shoot, is that a roll call? Wait, when are we supposed to be voting?!

…Oh, phew, ok false alarm!

Vote is later today. (Isn’t it?)

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