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June 21st, 2003

Thursday night I rode the hotel shuttle from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County to the Doubletree Hotel that Priceline.com found for me cheap. When I got in the shuttle, I was suddenly enveloped with the sounds of the Carpenters, singing "I can take all the madness the world has to give, but I won't last a day without you". I thought to myself about how Karen Carpenter really couldn't quite take all the madness the world had to give.

I realized that even in my fervent teenage years, when I divided all music (thankfully, for a very brief period) according to whether it "rocked" or "didn't rock", I always gave the Carpenters what I call "a free pass". I'm not a fan of their form of treachly pop, but in their hands, I really admired what they did. Karen's voice was so silky, and the records had an unabashedly pop sensibility.

I got to thinking about this idea of the "free pass". Some people use the term "guilty pleasures", but I think that's really a different connotation. To me, the "free pass" is someone who works in a genre or style I just can't really get into at all, but the individual performer still catches my fancy. Sometimes one is short of soul mates, after all, and just needs to ward off nausea.

So I put together this simple, three question poll about free passes in your lifeCollapse )

A License

By this instrument, you, my LiveJournal friends, are hereby empowered and LICENSED to live your lives in the quirky, cool ways I read each day, without fear of being eccentric, inappropriate, or just plain odd. Your quirks and blind alleys are hereby designated critical path roadways in the great race you're running, cordoned off for your personal use. You may present this license to any uncomprehending passersby, to prove that you have been officially licensed to live in such curious and yet redeeming ways. This license carries with it privileges too numerous to list, but include the right to feel as though your lives have meaning, because they do, even when everyone tells you they are silly or pointless; the right to be kinder to yourself than you've ever managed to be in your previous, unlicensed state; the right to accept your angers and griefs as crucial cement in pouring the concrete of your soul, from which foundation glorious spires will arise; and the right to look in the mirror and like what you see, and often smile shyly about it. This license permits you to live your life gently, with as much kindness to yourself and to others as possible. This license will permit your inner great worth to appear to your off-line people, and further will, with a personal motivation seminar magic usually costing 300 dollars and a boring day in a Holiday Inn conference room to achieve, allow you to bring new people into your life who bring you joy, not pain (and who do not wish to convince you to invest your money in their "no money down" schemes). This license permits you to leave behind your vices (except for the delicious ones you wish to retain) and focus on your virtues.

This license is irrevocable, and may be presented to any inquisitor,
beloved but clueless family member, sneering critic, puzzled employer, deeply puzzled employee, or employee at any coffee shop. This license entitles you to a world of gurdonark concessions, including an appreciative read, regular comments ranging from "wow, cool post" to in-depth paragraphs sounding like a self-help book on tape being run through a shredder; lunch with gurdonark whenever you visit the DFW area and schedules permit; a free poem about you or your favorite obsession, requested by e-mail; and the assurance that someday, if you requested a Hagerman photo, and are on the second half of that list of luminaries, gurdonark will mail it to you (the trouble with hiring someone to clean house is that they tend to clean house).

This license is non-transferable, because it is issued to you in light of who you are. This license has no cash value, but there is more to life than cash value. This license is void where prohibited by law, but in my experience, quirkiness is tolerated throughout the democratic societies. This license allows you the option, but does not impose upon you the obligation, of forgiving yourself and life in general once in a while, and perhaps buying yourself flowers when you pass a street stand and have an extra couple of dollars. This license endures all things, hopes all things, forgives all things, other than possibly your lapses into self-hatred or despair. But this license gives you express permission to just be who you are, and may the chips fall, cattle-field like, where they may.

Although this license works intangibly, feel free to print it out, place it in a manilla folder, and forget about it, like any other important document in your life. This license is HEREBY ISSUED without cost or detriment to you, as a sort of personal medal for your role in keeping me interested in LJ each and every day.

Issued this 21st day of June, 2003,

gurdonark