We Use Jukeboxes now, Mr. Cassady vs. Radio I-Ching
Neal Cassady was a major player in the Beatnik Generation and driver of the psychedelic counter-culture. In the pages of The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, author Tom Wolfe talked about Cassady and his Radio I-Ching. If I am remembering correctly, Cassady would carry a nonstop monologue whilst driving. As he drove and while he talked, he would occasionally reach over and turn the radio dial. Tom Wolfe said Cassady would magically stop the dial on a song that played off his commentary. Every time. Radio I-Ching.
Neal Cassady died in 1968.
In 1968, John wasn't even thought of yet. '80's kid - I bet John isn't as old as my last husband; maybe older than my daughter. John feeds money into the jukebox at his bar, and it seems like he knows the words to every song in the machine.
I'm sitting at the bar with iced tea and water, working on a series of illustrations which represent mood disorders. John knows about my illustration assignment; his counter is my part-time office. I'm trying to design ODD - Oppositional Defiant Disorder - and texting my sister who knows something about it. I know something about it, too; it seems to run in the family.
So I've got the figure in the foreground, looking like an insolent teenage girl (something I know something about) and my sister is telling me to make it represent rebelliousness. How?
The jukebox I-Ching spits out Beastie Boys.
The Beasties are right, by golly. I draw a big, cracked NO behind my teenage girl. It's got chunks broken out of it, and the chunks lay on the ground because she's smashed it. John swings by and fills my tea. I tell him about NO, and he digs the correlation.
I pull out my list of assignments; next up is Aging, not to be confused with Dementia.
The Jukebox I-Ching loads Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle.
When you coming home, son? I don't know when, but we'll get together then, Dad...I draw an aging, listless, person's face, with some confused-looking family members behind.
What's next? Brain Fog, different from aging and dementia...
The Jukebox I-Ching cranks out that song you know from The Breakfast Club, though I remember it from MTV:
Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds. You know that guy married Chrissy Hynde, yeah? The Pretenders chick?
I'm laughing at the coincidences that only I can see (or hear), and I'm about to ask John to pick something that represents Chronic Stress. Just as I open my mouth,
The Jukebox I-Ching says She Drives Me Crazy. Yep - Fine Young Cannibals. We've all been there, haven't we?
"I was gonna ask...I needed a song for Chronic Stress!"
"Oh, yeah! Perfect, right?" John laughs and high-fives me, squeezing my fingers a bit because he's like that.
Find the music, and hold on.
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