The Philosophy of Willie

Most of the time I listen to jazz these days but I also still listen to a lot of country. Not so much the new stuff but the good old boys and outlaws like Waylon, Willie, Jerry Jeff and others.  Those guys played what they wanted , lived as they chose and did not give two shits what anyone thought of either. They were cowboy poets with a bottle of whiskey, a bag of pot, a guitar , a carton of Marlboro reds and hundreds of miles of open road ahead. Even today when I listen to these songs I hear a line and think “man that’s some deep fucking shit right there.” It has always seemed to me that Willie Nelson got off more of those deep shit lines that anyone else. The guy is just an incredible song writer and how do you not like a guy who thumbs his nose at the IRS and pays them back by touring around the country in a big ass bus with a few pounds of weed aboard? Today I decided to take a deeper look at the Philosophy of Willie.

When I’d go I’ve been here long enough, So you’ll sing and tell more jokes and dance and stuff, Just keep the music playin’. That’ll be a good goodbye, Roll me up and smoke me when I die.

And there is much of the philosophy of our church in a song lyric. We are here as long as we are here and we should enjoy the ride more than we do. Most religions celebrate denying pleasures while you are here in favor of hoping for something better after. I hope there is something better after just like everyone else that ever drew a breath and had to face the fact that someday they wouldn’t but I don’ t think that means I should deny myself the pleasure and beauty that is here, in front of us, right now.

Don’t cry at my funeral (40 or 50 years from now). Laugh, and tell stories. Talk about the night Marcus and I stole his car back from the illegals his ex sold it to out of spite. Tell the ditch story. Remember all the parties, excursions and good times. Talk about nights in Irish dives on the Upper East Side and along Rush Street. Remember the misadventures of the racetrack trips to Lexington and skin head bars in Louisville. Talk about baseball and books. Don’t cry for me. I was here and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

But there’s more old drunks than there are old doctors, So I guess we better have another round

It seems to me at times the most important function of medical researchers is to proove that everything even vaguely enjoyable is deadly. We all know it. Smoking kills. Drinking kills. Steak kills. Sex kills. Should we forget it every time we leave the house, turn on the TV or read the paper there are stark bold reminders. We have a choice. Live in fear eating kale and tofu burgers or we can enjoy the things we like and have a life. There are barrooms full of old guys (and gals) sitting around drinking bourbon, eating steak and looking to get a little. It’s not over until it’s over and odds are its over when genetics and whatever gods exist say it is. I know old drunks, old smokers and old guys gumming the shit of out of a good steak. Make your choices, live your life.

And I could cry for the time I’ve wasted, But that’s a waste of time and tears, And I know just what I’d change, If I went back in time somehow, But there’s nothing I can do about it now.

Look hindsight is 20 fucking 20. We have all made mistakes and now years later we know exactly what we would do differently. Except you can’t so get over it. You missed the chance, you made the wrong choice, you went the wrong way and you just plain old fucked up. There is zero point ruminating, wishing or hoping it had all been different. It is not. It can’y be changed, can’t be helped. But you do have here, now and today right in front of you to do with as you wish. You might fuck up this time as well, but you might not.

Right now in the moment, there are places to go, songs to sing, books to read, wine to drink, girls to kiss and dreams to chase.  You can sit and sing the sad songs of loves lost, chance untaken, dashed reams and monster fuck ups or you can get up, dust of your jeans and move forward. The past is past. Leave it there.

I’m not cold, I’m not wet, and I’m not hungry. Classify these as good times.

People spend a lot of time bitching about things. Little things. Unimportant things. My shoes hurt. Didn’t get the raise. Kids talk back too much. Hate the color of my car. The republicans are assholes. The democrats are communists. My steak was not cooked exactly right. This drinks too strong. This drink is too weak. Traffic sucks. The subway is crowded. The pool is too cold. I don’t like this waitress. That clerk was rude to me. Taxes are too high. Taxes are too low. My pizza is cold. My boss doesn’t like me. My neighbors aren’t nice to me. It’s a bad hair today. I’m going bald.

Stop that shit. Did you eat today? Do you have a book to read (if not get your ass to library, they are free you know)? Do you have a place to live? Do you have people who love you? Do you have a car? Do you have subway fare? Are you not in jail? Going to spend the evening watching a little TV with a glass of wine or two?  Are you trying to decide whether to cook or get take out tonight? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions there are millions of people who have lives that are far more fucked up than yours.

No one wants to hear you bitch about all your little problems. If you have something about your life you don’t like then fix it. If you can’t fix it, live with it. Concentrate on all the good shit you do have and shut the fuck up.

I don’t think any person has any special knowledge about what God has planned for me and you any more than me and you do.

This from an old esquire interview with Willie makes me suspect he is a member of the Church of No Fucking Clue. I am not against any religion. I am very much against any religion that insists they, and they alone know who god is and what she wants us all to do. That being the case I guess I am against pretty much all religions!

There is no way in something as vast as the concept of God that any of us could grasp who they are and what they want. We can follow the clues however. Whoever god is he provided good food, wine, books, music, baseball, sex, sunsets, warm breezes, sunshine, rainy afternoons, slow kisses, laughing children, good friends, dogs, and other wondrous gifts and possibilities. I think any half way decent Sherlock Holmes imitator would have to agree that all this good shit is here for us to enjoy.

When it comes to religion you can believe as you wish but please be honest enough to admit that you do not know if you are right or not. God does not talk to you and you have no clue how god wants me to live my life. You don’t know what god thinks about gays, atheists, drunken fornicators (be a great name for a rock band), infidels or heathens. You do not know what god wants all to do or be and you do not have a map to heaven. You have guesses and hopes but you don’t know shit.

In fact at the end of the day you have NO FUCKING CLUE.

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