Nothing Else Matters


You are not too old, too unhip, too fat, or too phobic to go to a Tool concert.

You are, however, too old to deal kindly with the pot-smoking drunks below you.

You didn’t say anything, actually, to them, but you didn’t try too hard to stifle a giggle as one began blowing chunks onto the guy below him.

You did feel sorry for the other guy, however. You are, after all, a decent person.

“These damn kids these days,” you complain to your concert mate. “Most of these people weren’t even in elementary school, if that, when Tool first came out.” You gasp as you realize you’re experiencing the sublime metaphysical act of channeling. You’re channeling an ancient, ornery Irishman who calls you such endearments as Swampy and Gypsy and Daughter of the Cock Lady.

Once your mother made chicken. You made the mistake of passing this information along.

He has never let you forget it.

That would be why you call him Turd and Asshole.

The channeling session takes you by surprise. You’re emulating a baby boomer whose sole mission in life seems, at least at times, to let you know that you don’t know your place.

You aren’t old enough to appreciate the doors, Van Morrison, good music. Because you stubbornly refuse to release your position that you do, in fact, appreciate such good music, it means you don’t know your place.

Apparently your place would be barefoot and pregnant with Britney Spears playing twenty four hours a day on the radio.

The thought of All-Britney-All-The-Time gives you heartburn, especially at a Tool concert.

From the first chords of “Jambi,” you are there, present in the moment. You are expectant; you are quite possibly glowing. The level of your possible glow might indicate that you are indeed pregnant, or at least very recently experienced such post-coital bliss as to leave your skin with that pheremone-laden whitewash, except for the fact that everyone is glowing as well.

Except for the Pot Boys. They’re too busy throwing up to glow.

It’s tough being young and cool these days.

You would take a closer look to see if perhaps they are covered in a different sort of sheen, an eau d’pizza grease or some other lovely concoction, but you are far too focused on the reverberation of the drums and the guitar and the sound of Maynard’s sweet sounding voice.

You see three spotlights. There are four members of the band. You wonder when Maynard will come out of the shadows, stop looking like a kid humping the couch when his parents are gone.

At “46 & 2,” when he’s singing about shadows, you realize he’s not going to. You’re only momentarily disappointed; you’re too caught up in the song — this song, your song — to be anything but blissfully unaware of anything but the song itself.

In this moment, in this song, nothing else matters. Certainly not the panic you felt when it was 20 minutes until 8 and you were still debating which way was “up” and which “down” on Canal Street. “You can’t miss it,” they said to you about the Superdome. You still wonder how you could miss something so big. Nothing matters, not the soreness in your feet from the endless walking in the French Quarter. Nothing matters, not your broken heart when you realized there is another drum out there that you can’t have yet. Not even when you touch it, and your pulse zings, not even when you have to be forcibly removed from the vendor while your face is slack with absolute longing and remorse.

Nothing matters except the way your pulse zings now, races toward something unknown and intangible, while Maynard is singing about the past four years of your life. Nothing else matters when you’re slack jawed and your eyes are rolling towards the back of your head.

Don’t mind me, you’d say, if you could think. I’m merely searching for my third eye.

Nothing else matters while Maynard promises that “this is my time,” which, of course, you take to mean your time.

Because it is your time and your song, and nothing else matters.


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