Thursday, June 16, 2011
COCO LEE AND BENNY GOODMAN
A wren flew into the house today. I had the screen door open a foot or so to let Caterpillar go in and out at will. I heard the wren hit a window. It picked itself up from the window ledge and flew to another window. I opened the screen all the way, deciding to attempt to let the bird find its way out, instead of attempting to catch it. It flew around and hit windows for awhile. I stayed still and let it settle down. It found a little place high up to cling to. I let it get quiet and have a chance to look around at where it was. After the frenzy left the bird's mind I knew it could see the open door. I clapped my hands once and the bird made a bee-line straight out the opening. Years ago, a lot of years ago, it might have been in a book of Sufi stories I read a story about a bird that flew into the interior space of a mosque. Some people were chasing the bird around trying to catch it. Somebody said to leave the bird alone and let it settle. Once it settled and got its equilibrium back, whoever it was clapped his hands one time and the bird flew out an open window. It works.
Earler this evening I went to YouTube and looked up Coco Lee singing her Barbie song. I searched: coco lee barbie. It came right up. First time I saw it I was looking at Coco Lee videos. She's the one who sang the theme song in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I love that movie, love that song and love Coco Lee. She's a big Asian pop star, the Chinese Christina Aguilera, and I think she's originally from Seattle. I think Hong Kong is her base of operations now. It's amazing how big a star she is. When I see this Barbie video, every time it starts I think it's silly popism Asian kitsch. Then the music and the singing start taking ahold of me and I start swaying to the techno rhythms and watching Coco and 3 other dancers do their Barbie dance in Barbie outfits: Pretty Barbie girls, pretty pretty, pretty Barbie girls in a Barbie world we're pretty girls. Of course, it's made for children and I appreciate it as pop for kids. The rhythms are almost as infections as Prince's and the choreography the girls dance to is excellent pop dance. Coco Lee has charm as infectious as the music.
The vidoe brought Vada, the newest person I know in the world, a couple weeks, to mind. It struck me, in fact, as baby music. It's great baby music. I heard Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra at that age. Not very good baby music. Maybe for some. It was all there was til I was 13 and rock & roll started. I liked it. After high school, when the American adult machine to destroy rock & roll had been successful and Chuck Berry was in prison, Eddie Cochran dead, Elvis in the Army, Jerry Lee lost his audience when he married his 13 yr old cousin, good ole Southern boy, and Little Richard was preaching. In the lull between the end of rock & roll in America and the English invasion, I listened to a lot of jazz. Benny Goodman quartet I listened to a lot and liked a lot. I liked Benny Goodman like I liked Paul Gonzalves, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Charlie Rouse. Several years later, an overbearing individual I knew then was telling me how much better Benny Goodman was than rock. Whatever. I mentioned I like Benny Goodman too. That was it. Explosion. No You Don't! I wasn't old enough to qualify for a Benny Goodman listener. I thought about attempting to explain, but knew better. It never works. He never heard of those other people anyway. I let him believe I was lying. It's what he intended to believe.
Wow. That crazy lunatic came full force to mind. There are other things I could say about him, but that involves three fingers pointing back at me, so I'll let the impulse pass. I accept "crazy lunatic" for myself, too. I'll try to tell you something that is knowing a tree by its fruits rather than a judgment. He has spent his marriage beating his wife down, making her a whipped puppy dog personality. She grew old bent over, unable to stand upright as herself, from a life of being berated and scolded every moment she's awake. She didn't bury herself in church to anesthesize herself to it, like my mother did, and took being beaten down as the real world. My mother, on the other hand, buried herself in church to anesthetize her situation at home and it worked. That, and a good strong dose of denial. By now, in her late 80s, she is radiant. So if you're beaten down and don't want to get a divorce, bury yourself in church. Jesus will deafen your ears to it and you won't hear it any more. You'll just pray for the 'poor feller' and live in peace while he rages and storms about how terrific he is and how incompetent you are.
I stay away from people like that, because I already know we don't get along. At the same time, I like having one in my life for practice in getting along with difficult people. There are so many difficult people about, and we don't know who they are when we don't know them. When one pops up, I have good practice in getting along well with difficult people. Not all, by any means. Let's just say, within reason. Some kinds of difficult people are best left completely alone. Sometimes it can't be done. So, again, I'm glad to be practiced, just to be able to deal with their possessive minds that believe others are here to listen to their big mouths. They're like other people. Treat them right, they treat you right. Pray for them and watch them change or watch yourself become able to take it. I never learned to like taking it. My solution was to absent myself from it and stay absent. I never found forgiveness either, nor do I care. The kinds of prayers I prayed in that time Jesus doesn't answer for the best for all concerned.
I have especially enjoyed in my adult life people who are pleasant to get along with, people who are supportive of their friends, people who don't play one-upmanship games, or very little, people who don't believe they have to be better than anybody else. There are plenty of them about. There are more people easy and pleasant to get along with than there are the difficult ones. I think about my friends, who are all people I get along with easily and happily. I've found in my adult life that an awful lot of people are really good people. There are mean people in the world. But a very small percentage. The ones in the working class are in prison. The mean ones in the middle class and ruling class terrorize the people closest to them. This is not just American. It's Chinese, German, what have you. It's humanity. It's how we are. I heard a preacher announce from the pulpit, a particularly self-called preacher whose name I'll keep to myself, "Ninety-Eight Percent Of The World Is Wicked!!!" What I heard was a projection of his inner self onto the world around him. Sitting on the bench I thought, 'I didn't allow you was that wicked.'