MITCH ALBOM, TRACY CHAPMAN, AND THE CORN GOD
I’ve fallen behind on my cultural literacy, so I picked up
some books at the library the other day.
First up: The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
This immensely popular book seems to push everybody’s “inspiration”
My question of the day: When exactly is the appropriate time
to inform your children that the world they live in is a stinking hell-hole?
Yesterday I popped my old Tracy Chapman disc in the car
stereo and after skipping through a few songs I didn’t want my kids to hear, I
gave up and took it out.
My girls have a pretty sunny view of reality, and I have
protected them from a lot of popular modern media. The most violent movie they’ve seen is Pirates of the Caribbean, and there is
no “ho this” or “bitch that” rap crap in our house.
Then there’s the amazing Tracy Chapman, with her understated
style and her smoky voice, singing about black girls getting assaulted, poor
people rising up in revolt, domestic violence in the neighborhood, and all
manner of doom and gloom that is nothing like the happy world my kids know.
Even the marvelous Fast
Car begins hopefully:
You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
But ends with the seemingly inevitable disappointment:
You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I’d always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain’t going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving
I was just reading about Mayan gods, my interest sparked by
a new discovery in Guatemala. I was interested to find that in ancient
Mayan mythology, the Maize God is sacrificed each year at harvest time and then
resurrected in the spring, bringing new corn so the people may live.
Summing up: Everything happens for a purpose. Everyone’s life is connected, including the
poor beleaguered souls in Chapman’s songs and my family and yours. And the Corn God died for you, proving that
your life is connected to an ancient civilization that was entirely different
and yet startlingly similar to ours.
I’m wounded! A certain feline who resides in
my house and is not known for either grace or wit was so panic-stricken
by the roaring machine that approached him that he ran pell-mell from
the room, and in his ill-considered effort to go directly through my
legs, perforated my unshod foot.