It often strikes me funny when I'm building a new destop machine that video driver installation programs always include an impressive splash screen designed to show off the wonderful qualities of the installed video adapter.
Since the program is only run when the video driver has yet to be installed, this presumably breathtaking graphic is only ever experienced by the end user as an unidentifiable purplish blob. Yet some person is drawing a salary creating these screens.
This is the sort of job that you'd feel like a bandit for scoring, until after five or six years of doing it you suddenly jumped off a bridge.
Speaking of which, I was listening to Elliot Smith's From a Basement on a Hill this weekend for probably the fifth time through, and in that way that albums do, it started to seep into my mind in such a way that I was able to start really listening to what he is saying on that record.
And what he is saying, unambiguously, over and over, is that he really wants to kill himself. He's tired of the whole mess and being in pain all the time and just wants it to be over.
And as I was listening to this record it was washing over me in waves these twin interpretations of this experience I was having, first "How beautiful and sad that he produced this wondrous record while in the throes of this inescapable, crippling depression" and then alternately "I'm such a shit for taking pleasure in this person basically chronicling his own descent into suicide."
Which is a false dichotomy, of course. It probably does say something negative about my character that this is the sort of music that really moves me, feeling this psychic connection with people in terrible pain. But at the same time, not listening to the record is not going to bring the guy back, or get him into heaven, or whatever.
And anyway, I can deal with some psychic pain, if it will slow down my higher brain...
[For those who are unfamiliar, Elliott Smith stabbed himself in the heart in his bathroom while recording From a Basement on a Hill. He was 34.]