Monday, September 13, 2021

"The worst of us are a long drawn-out confession"

Nov 19, 2020 – the day Leo’s teacher called him “an intellect.” But before she does, and before her remark can cause me to burst into tears, my soundtrack pivots on a handful of songs that soothe and at the same time perpetuate a sudden, mysterious sense of malaise: "Cedars of Lebanon," and the song just before it, on the U2 album "No Line on the Horizon."

My pal Bono says:

"The worst of us are a long drawn-out confession
The best of us are geniuses of compression."

Bono doesn't need me to lionize him in any way but those are powerful lyrics that reveal an acumen in human psychology. I can imagine the people under the heading 'long drawn-out confession' as much as I can imagine those who keep it tight (maybe too tight).

He's writing about someone in the latter category who's lost a spouse to endless warfare and aggression. The character, if you will, has to keep living even though one of his main reasons for living has been snuffed out by a conflict with no resolution in sight. But in our day-to-day lives, how do we sum up tragedies like this? The details in the song about their domestic life are heartbreaking -- 'tidying the children's clothes and toys' -- and in the aftermath of her demise, he hasn't 'been with a woman, feels like for years.'

Then Bono ends the song here, with a world weariness so deep and menacing it sounds like a sneer:

"Choose your enemies carefully, 'cause they will define you
Make them interesting 'cause in some ways they will mind you
They're not there in the beginning but when your story ends
Gonna last with you longer than your friends."

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