On Wallowing

I know I’ve only made it through the first week of classes, but I am already exhausted. Every day by about three o’clock, I am ready to take a nap. For those of you well-acquainted with the all-important ritual of napping, you know that it is a very serious practice, and its success hinges on any number of variables like blanket choice, general atmosphere, and, of course, music.

There have to be a million songs written about sleep (after all, don’t we spend about a third of our life doing this? Can someone please give me an update on this statistic?). In the last week I’ve been rediscovering The Smiths’ song “Asleep.”

I can remember first stumbling on this song in middle school, those formative years of anxiety and woe, characterized by many of us through the mix tapes we listened to, the basements we smoked in, the beat literature we read. But unlike the rest of the nonsense that littered my middle school experience, The Smiths’ still retains its uncanny sadness.

Morrissey himself has a knack for melancholy — even in his most up-tempo, danceable tracks, there is a pervasive gloom about the condition of being alive. The effects of this can be disastrous.

My friend Jen is least immune to Morrissey’s angst and has been known, on more than several occasions, to break down in the middle of doing anything and weep to the croon of Moz’s voice.

Hell, sometimes she would just break down at the thought of him old and sweaty, playing the Celebrity Showcase in Reno, Nev., changing his soggy T-shirts every 30 minutes and riding long black limousines for 200-foot stretches, realizing that no one would ever put up with that kind of shit from her.

No one would put up with that shit from me, either, which might make listening to The Smiths after a laborious first week of class even worse. There seems to be a sort of unfairness at play, but if poor Moz wasn’t always famous, at least he was always sad.

So if you’re feeling a bit worn and torn after a rough first week, I suggest you take comfort, curl up, revisit your old sad songs, and hope that you too will find great success in your wallowing.

-M. Callen

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