Not Enough Davids.

It's a small dream, but a dream nonetheless.

Seuss was right, there are too many Daves. Dave Coulier, for example. But I must stress that his insightful observation does NOT extend to Davids. I’m not saying it just because my name is David, and while I certainly don’t mean any disrespect to Davids out there who have opted for the diminutive version of our given name, I must say that Daves tend to host Superbowl parties. Davids do not.

I think a lot of Daves end up being called Dave not because they want to be, but because outsiders (anyone not named David) use it for its more familiar and chummy nature. David just seems so formal and overly austere next to Dave. I also blame David Letterman, who is the only David that I can think of who can swing both ways and get away with it.

There are plenty of Daves that I like as well. (You know who you are, Dave.) And Dave Grohl is definitely not a David, but he wears his Dave in a way that seems to circumvent the norm. Dave Chappelle is a comedian, so he kind of has to go by Dave. And Dave Davies has to go by Dave just so you can get through his ridiculous repetitive name more quickly—responsibility for that falls directly on his parents’ shoulders. (My dad has a running joke that if I had been born as triplet boys, we would have been named Lloyd, Boyd, and Floyd. If a fourth one had shown up, his name would have been Magillicutty.)

But enough talk! Let’s get down to brass tacks here. Why am I bringing this up? I need more Davids, and specifically, more of the specific version of David that is me. I simply have too many things to do for one person. I need the Clone Wars to kick in already. I will volunteer my genes! . . . as long as I can keep a segment of the army for myself in order to finish all of the projects I start. (Of course, I would also require extensive signed contracts covering me in the event that my clones, much like me, are pacifists and only fight when cornered.)

Somehow, I think that such an experiment would end up more like “The Prestige” than “Star Wars.” I’m a bit of a control freak, so I can only assume that I would be a control freak, too.

Not Enough Davids

Did I ever tell you that dear Mrs. Cloyd
Had only one son, the name David deployed?

Well, she did. And that wasn’t a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants him, and calls out “Yoo-Hoo!
Come down to dinner, David!” he just doesn’t hear.
She must call him some twenty-three times to appear!

This makes things quite difficult here at the Cloyds’
As you can imagine, with so many voids.
And often she wishes that, when he was born,
A clone had been made just to play the French horn.
And one for the guitar. And one for the drums.
And one for piano. And one of them hums!
Another plays cello. Another one clavichord.
Another plays tablas and tambourine washboard.
And one of them plays notes so fast you’ll get dizzy. . .

But that didn’t happen. And now David’s busy.

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New Is The New New.

Roy Lichtenstein, THE MELODY HAUNTS MY REVERIE, 1965

Yeah, I’m haunted by familiarity, too. Sometimes my head gets so full of familiar things—most of which I have to remember—it seems like there isn’t any room for new things.

I’m already a creature of habit. I thrive on routines and schedules. I can honestly tell you that I wasn’t always like that, and did it work for me before like it does now. But in an interesting twist of development somewhere along the line, I found that routines and normalcy breed more creativity, and more effectively.

All that said, I’ve been stuck. As of late, new has come to visit and found the curtains drawn. Again, if I were less familiar with myself, I would think that I’ve hit some kind of creative block. But I know there really isn’t such a thing. I know the machines are just churning out algorithms, trying to find elegant solutions to the problems I’ve given them. So I’m very patient. But yeah, I hate waiting.

It’s fair to say that while I am, by occupation, obsessed with “new” songs, I also have a very high fence built around my house for “new” visitors. If you want in, you have to really get my attention. I have a houseful of guests up here already, and while I like them all very very much, they’ve eaten up most of the snacks in the kitchen. So it’s been absolutely fascinating to watch a new person come to grips with this powerful concept of “new.”

My daughter is so obsessed with this word, I would dare say that maybe only two other words get said more right now:

  • “You”—meaning herself. Try teaching pronouns to a 2-year-old, it is impossible. After all, we call her “you” all the time, why wouldn’t she think that refers to her always? You just have to wait it out.
  • “Self”—also meaning herself, but specific to situations where she wants to do something herself without any help. For example, when I try to get into her car seat and buckle her in, she yells, “SELF!” Then about 10 minutes later I have to pick her up and do it myself. She has the right spirit, it’s just that her head is way ahead of her body. Isn’t THAT true for all of us?

But “NEW!” tops the list for me. She is so obsessed with new things, that she’ll take one bite of a cracker, put it down, and say, “NEW!” She’ll be eating dinner, and two bites into a bowl of mac & cheese, she sees the leftovers in tupperware across the table, and all of a sudden, what’s in front of her is no longer appealing. Most of the time, this is hilarious. As with most parental-related hilarious things, though, it also makes you want to run in circles screaming and pulling your hair out. But only on the inside.

This last week, I’ve had a great injection of “new”—I have a bunch of new songs from my new artist to produce, I got a new acoustic guitar (thanks, Blake!), I have some new tuning keys coming for a new electric guitar (thanks again, Blake!), and I finally cracked one of my new songs this morning and I know which direction I’m going in again.

NEW! NNNNNNEEEEEEWWWWWWWW! Self.

Time Is My God, Action Is My Offering.

Bill Cosby is HILARIOUS.

I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming with this particular blog title. But as the Cos himself says, those of you with children will understand. Yes, and without, you’ll get it, too. But not really. I’ve listened to Bill Cosby since I was a kid. If I wasn’t listening to music, I was listening to him. I have most of his routines memorized: drop the needle and I can still go along with them word for word. He was the Beatles of spoken-word records for me.

Anyone who has been reading regularly will note that I have become rather obsessed with time. Clearly obsessed. I’ve been trying to solve some really serious problems lately, all having to do with the math of time, and each time I just meet a giant brick wall of impossibility, stretching as far as the eye can see, the top covered with broken glass in the mortar.

Something about the Bill Cosby stand-up experience has helped me break through and realize the singular reason behind my obsession. Obviously, being a dad makes it hard to find time to do, um, just about anything. But when I listen to his stories about parenthood, after almost two years of living through it myself, I now know that the ridiculous frustrations and scenarios are very true, and they all point to one thing.

My time isn’t mine anymore. And it never was.

It was a truly devastating realization. I feel rejuvenated by this epiphany, and it’s already turning me around, the same way that marriage and parenthood have changed my life, and the same way that my love of music has vastly diminished my enjoyment of nearly every other form of art, leisure, or entertainment.

Before I had a child, I could make decisions about what to do with my time. On a Friday night, I could go to the movies, have dinner with friends, go catch a show, or even nothing at all. When my daughter was born, at first I thought that the luxury had been temporarily misplaced, but that I would see it again one day. Now I know through and through that this shift will never go back to the way it was before. Sure, it gets easier as she gets older, and my wife and I get a little more freedom, but that carefree ship has sailed for good and will never return to port.

I could then decide that life is a prison whose walls and cells are made of many things—my body and mind, my abilities and limitations, my decisions and hesitations, my commitments and my refusals. In this prison, Time is my warden, and I do what he tells me to do, when he tells me to do it. I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately, and it’s really exhausting and unproductive.

But Time is not a warden, and life is not a prison. Time is a god, perhaps the only one that truly oversees and has control over your life. The only thing you can offer to this god is your action, what you choose to do with the time given to you.

My offerings to the god of Time come in three primary forms—have to, need to, and want to. “Have to” actions are the simplest to define; if you don’t do them, you die. For example, I have to sleep at night, so I offer my act of sleeping to the hours of midnight to 5:30 or 6. I have to eat and digest, and let’s be honest, both ends of that take up time every single day, at least if you’re lucky.

“Need to” and “want to” are a little more nebulous, but I can loosely define them as follows. If “have to” actions help you survive, then “need to” actions help you thrive. So exercise fits here for all of us, whether we like it or not, along with a whole lot of health-related hygiene activities like flossing. “Want to” actions are brought about by desire, the kind that only exists as a result of both survival AND thriving. If you are homeless and haven’t eaten in a week, I can’t imagine that your preoccupied mind has the ability to “want to” go to a baseball game, unless it’s part of a hunger-induced hallucination.

Now depending on whether you are a working stiff or a transient hobo, making money in order to buy food, clothing, and shelter could be any of these three, or not even make the cut. Which brings to light an interesting notion—almost all of our actions are at least a little nebulous in these regards. It’s an ongoing organic analysis of what time you seem to have before you, and what you have to, need to, and want to get done. Sometimes laundry is at the top of the list, and sometimes you have to let the dishes sit dirty in the sink. For someone who LOVES to categorize things—that’s me, by the way—this fact takes me completely out of the equation, and forces me to evaluate each action one at a time.

I am no longer a noun, I am only a verb. I am a perpetual list of actions, and Time is my god.

I think that I have officially over-appeased the god of Time with too much blog action. I think I “need to” go drink some wine and relax. I feel like a reformed monotheistic pagan. Is there such a thing?