Saturday, September 15, 2012

Preface To Innocence: The Loss Of Innocence

If you were an English major in college like I was you heard the phrase "loss of innocence" more times than any other, or perhaps just less than "man's inhumanity to man" (although at the time, I was more obsessed with "woman's inhumanity to man").  It's common in most novels for a main character to undergo a disappointment or a betrayal & "lose their innocence," meaning their naivety.  Sometimes, in racier books, stories, or poems, the loss of innocence was an actual rape, in which a female character's virginity is "taken."  Using an online searchable Bible I found zero mentions of the word "innocence" in the King James Version, although I found nine mentions in the New International Version.  All those mentions refer to the opposite of "guilt," though the site linked to a small passage from which was titled, "Innocence In The Bible: A Christian Perspective."  It said, simply, "[The Christian] god cherishes, protects, & rewards those who keep blameless in his eyes - those who obey & trust in him."  It does suggest to me that if lose your innocence - like, for example, if you are raped - there's a case to be made using the logic of this statement that you have not kept blameless in that god's eyes, because you weren't obeying & trusting him.  That would have made a spirited conversation in an English class!  I myself was trying to think if there were a time when I felt my innocence was lost, & I thought of two moments in my life, one general, one specific.  The general one involved what I think was the onset of puberty, around sixth & seventh grade (at the time, it seemed to happen overnight, but in retrospect, it was a process that took several months).  In addition to becoming sexually attracted to girls (a terrifying enough prospect) (you'd think one of my older brothers might have warned me about unwanted erections), I recall that I started to make more sense of the world at that time.  I noticed things around me, paid more attention to the news, thought about things in the "bigger picture."  There were so many things I had just never thought about that were in my mind all of a sudden.  That was a certain loss of innocence - as if innocence were a certain ignorance, which contributed to the bliss of childhood.  The second time involved my mother, who, as I've doubtless said, is vain & narcissistic.  We were poor & despite what some kids might have been saying to me behind my back (or to my face) at school, I wasn't entirely aware of how close to the poverty line we were living.  One day, in that way she had of asking her children questions about herself, my mother asked me, "You're not ashamed of how poor we are, are you?"  I always think I should have responded, "Well, I am NOW," but I saw how she needed reassuring, so I went ahead & responded in the negative.  It occurs to me, telling the story now, that the specific incident could very well have happened in the middle of my biological loss of innocence.  In both cases - & in the literary study of "innocence" - once that innocence is lost, it's not coming back.  For good or ill.

Friday, September 14, 2012


It's less than a week away.  Look what is happening:
Go to the Boomslang website for all the information you need.  Come to Lexington to see it if you must!  It will be breathtaking!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Awkward Story

As time goes by, I seem to get less angry but more frustrated.  I am always surprised when I see myself in a mirror; if I have just had a conversation with someone, & then, say, go to the rest room, I am astonished that the person in the mirror washing his hands is who they saw when they were talking to me.  (As an aside, they often say that you shouldn't look at yourself when you're on acid, but I avoided it because I didn't want to see that I looked the same while I was feeling like a different person.)  Another thing, which might be noticeable in this blog: I am becoming something of a blowhard.  Stories take longer because I feel a need to contextualize.  Although I am entirely aware that there's a 90% chance that no one's listening.  Is it my vanity that makes me think, Just in case.  The wife told me I don't get into as many arguments as I used to, but I guess I don't talk to as many people as I used to, or perhaps I don't talk to as many argumentative people as I used to.  I remember I poo-pooed my friend Joe's Facebook status update many months ago when he wrote something like I still don't know what I want to do with my life.  After I apologized to him for being dismissive of a perfectly valid thought, I think I'd rewrite it to suit my needs to say I still don't know what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I think sometimes that I had some idea, some purpose, at some time - or that I thought I had some idea, some purpose, at one time.  If you asked me now, I don't think I could tell you what it was - but I can't speak for me back then.  Someone recently was describing a memory that we shared, of a time we were together, & although I remembered the same thing, I didn't remember that it was me with the person in the memory.  I was certain it was a story the person had told me that had happened to her & some other guy, not an event in which I took part.  It must be my memory trying to save me from my life.  & speaking of rewrites: I take back what I said at the beginning of this dumb paragraph.  I'm not more frustrated, I'm more resigned.  & that's pretty frustrating.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lower Expectations

The thing about the word expectations is, every time I say it, I think "expectorant."  You know, a medicine that makes you hock up whatever phlegmy stuff is making you miserable when you have a cold or whatever.  A thing that makes you expectorate.  But the two words are unrelated - the "expect" in "expectorate" come from the Latin "pectus," which means "breast" - like in "pectoral."  The expect in "expectations" (&, you know, in "expect") is from a Latin word that means "look out for."

Anyway, I didn't find any songs about expectorating, so it's fine.  The songs I did find about expectations are below, & they're played during this week's show, which is now on the Self Help Radio website.  It's divided into two parts, helpfully labelled part number one & part number two.

The text for today's show comes from the Edwyn Collins song I play in the second hour.  It goes like this:

"You've been down this road before
Which is not to say you're bored
Or that you shouldn't want for more
It's just your expectations should be lower"

You have been admonished.

(part one)

"Expectations" Lewis Black _Stark Raving Black_
"Expectations" Belle & Sebastian _Tigermilk_
"She's Expecting You" Department S _Is Vic There?_

"I've Been Expecting You" Luxuria _Beast Box_
"High Expectation" Stereolab _Switched On_
"Never Expect Any More" Cody _Stillpoint Primer_
"Expecting To Fly" Buffalo Springfield _Neil Young: Decade_

"How Do You Expect Me To Get It" The Pelicans _Money Honey: The Rise Of The Black Vocal Group (1952-1953)_
"Expect Delays" Solvent & Skanfrom _Misery Loves Company_
"No Expectations" I Am The World Trade Center _The Cover Up_
"Spanish Inquisition (Part 1)" Monty Python _Another Monty Python Record_
"Expecting" Minnie Ripperton _Come To My Garden_

"I Don't Expect Her For You (Look At That Girl)" The Sneetches _Lights Out With The Sneetches_

(part two)

"Expectations" Young Dreams _Dream Alone, Wake Together EP_
"The Expectation Of Love" Gentle Tuesday _A Gentleman's Laundry_
"Low Expectations" Edwyn Collins _Gorgeous George_

"Words Of Expectation" The Fall _The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004_
"Am I Expecting Too Much" Debra Lewis _Teenage Girls: Volume 3_
"Expect The Unexpected" Ronnie Willhoite _The Doorkeepers: A Church Leadership Development Program For Ushers_

"No Expectations" The Dirtbombs _If You Don't Already Have A Look_
"Expect A Miracle" Something Pretty Beautiful _Something Pretty Beautiful_
"Great Expectations" Eric Carmen _Eric Carmen_
"Spanish Inquisition (Part 2)" Monty Python _Another Monty Python Record_

"Great Expectations" The Men They Couldn't Hang _The Domino Club_
"What Did You Expect" Railroad Jerk _One Track Mind_

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Whither Expectations?

An article on the website written by someone with the amusing name Dr. Lickerman - MD, natch - lays out the four ways we experience expectations & their outcomes:

1) Low expectations, poor experience.
2) Low expectations, good experience.
3) High expectations, poor experience.
4) High expectations, good experience.

Not to mention the worst thing you can hear about, high expectations with an amazing experience too.  Those people are insufferable.  How I envy them!

Which one will Self Help Radio be tomorrow?  (Hint: start with low expectations.  It will save you a lot of grief.)  (That's assuming listen at all.)

Tomorrow, 7 to 9 am, on 88.1 WRFL in Lexington, we examine all sorts of expectations.  I might expect you'd rather listen on the computer, in which case you can find it at wrfl dot fm.  But I have no expectations of you listening to it later on, where it'll be at the Self Help Radio website.

I am not used to being expected; I am much more used to being excepted.