April 16, 2007

The Sweetest Taboo

Sade bad. Both the band & miss Abu. I won't pretend to have some obscure track you've never heard of as my favorite tune of theirs. I've been playing Sade songs in bands since about 1987 & this one is for me the most enjoyable creation of theirs. It just has the nicest groove & even though the guitar lines are fairly simple it locks things into place in a way that's just too fun. It's equally cool for bass & keys & drums. Vocally - it's not that difficult to sing but to equal miss Abu's texture & delivery is a lot to ask. I've only know a handful of vocalists who could have pulled it off (& one of them was a guy). Miss Abu has an unusual philosophy about writing (hence very few studio albums) & waits until she has a reason & a purpose to lay down tracks in the studio. The album this tune came from, Promise, was inspired by a line in a letter from her father where he assured her he'd beat cancer. & the subject of the song of which I type - a lady is falling in love with a man (& happy about it no less). The sum of the song is definitely greater than its parts. I do believe this is the original video for the tune. Here's a live vid from 1994. Just so you'll see she hasn't lost her beauty (in song or appearance) here's a live vid from 2001 when miss Adu was 42.

But speaking of taboos (cause we kinda were ya know):

"Cancer no longer taboo on campaign trail"

The article relates how not too long ago any debilitating &/or potentially terminal disease would ruin a candidates chances at office, whereas now folks are more willing to vote for someone so afflicted. But what really pissed me off was this:

"In the case of Democratic candidate John Edwards, the former senator and his wife, Elizabeth, called a news conference to announce that her breast cancer had returned in incurable form and spread to other parts of the body, but that it would not slow his presidential campaign." (link in original)

I read another story a few weeks back about this & meant to comment on it but never got around to it before the link expired.

Look, if you have cancer or some other possibly fatal illness & wish to run, or continue working that's fine. It'll factor into my vote but possibly not in a very big way & I still may vote for you. But Edwards...

The boy got money. He doesn't need the work. It's not like he's hoping for a pay boost by being elected that'll help him cover the bills.

Ah, found another link about the situation:

"Edwards: Wife's cancer returns, campaign goes on"

From that article:

"John Edwards said tests this week had shown his wife, Elizabeth, had cancer in a rib on her right side. He said the cancer is treatable but not curable."

& another article about his wife's cancer:

"Elizabeth and John Edwards on Thursday described her cancer recurrence as a chronic condition that she'll have the rest of her life.

How long that will be, her doctor said, is unknowable.

'We're incredibly optimistic,' Elizabeth Edwards said at a news conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 'I don't expect my life to be significantly different.' (Full story)

The breast cancer, which has spread, is 'no longer curable but completely treatable,' said Sen. John Edwards, a North Carolina Demeocrat. He added that doctors had likened the situation to living with diabetes, which can be managed but is a lifelong condition." (link in original)

I feel a great deal of sympathy for Mrs. Edwards. In just my immediate family I've lost 3 people to cancer. The fear she's going through as well as all the other things associated with a recurrence are not to be discounted lightly.

But John Edwards? I have no respect for the boy. I don't give a hot damn if his wife begged & pleaded with him to keep the campaign going, he should drop the hell out of the race & take care of his business.

None of my family quit their jobs when one of us was ill, but that's partially because we couldn't afford to. We all missed a lot of time from work though (me being the least with the rest of my kin bearing the brunt of things) & would have missed more if it was required of us. I recall my father running himself to near to death to tend to his mom when she was dying & my ex-stepfather doing the same for my mother. They both worked because they had to but every second they weren't trying to pay the medical bills they were trying to take care of their loved ones. All the pleading in the world for them to not try to tend to their loved ones would have been futile, even from the loved ones themselves.

& Edwards is gonna keep running the race? I won't claim he'd have gotten my vote in the first place - that whole gun control thing put him in the "unvotable" category so I didn't even get as far as his desire to pimp socialized medicine & other nonsense - but I at least might have had a little respect for the boy despite our political differences. But this?

He doesn't need the money. He could retire right now & live comfortably for the rest of his life. But he chooses to keep campaigning when his wife is having a recurrence of a potentially terminal illness?

I'm reminded of 2 scenes from the movie (not to be confused with the 1952 novel by Taylor Caldwell which I would highly recommend) The Devil's Advocate:

John Milton: "It's your wife, man. She's sick, she needs you... she's got to come first. Ah, wait a minute, wait a minute. You mean the possibility of leaving this case has never even entered your mind?"
Kevin Lomax: "You know what scares me? I quit the case, she gets better... and I hate her for it. I don't want to resent her, John, I've got a winner here. I've got to nail this fucker down, do it fast, and put it behind me. Just get it done. Then - then. - put all my energy into her."

The second scene was where Milton repeats Lomax's words to him (after Lomax's wife had killed herself) to show how Lomax had no thought for anyone other than himself.

Coincidentally Kevin Lomax was a lawyer, as was Satan.

But his wife? Not his cousin or his aunt or some girl he went out with a few times but isn't sure what her cat's name really is - the boy is going to keep campaigning while his wife goes through this again?

I have a cousin who's in a wheelchair. She's been in that wheelchair since she was in her late 20's. She's 50 now. Not only can she not walk she cannot sit up, dress herself, feed herself or speak. She communicates by pointing out letters one at a time on a board. She hit a telephone pole one night on her way home from work & suffered severe spinal cord & brain damage. 6 months later her [multiple expletives deleted] husband got a divorce & gave her a hundred grand (I'm being generous - I believe it was a few ten thousands less than that) to tide her through the next 40 years or so.

Before I left the Carolinas I did a gig at a place owned by aforementioned [multiple expletives deleted]. I was with a show band & it was a black tie affair. The [many multiple expletives deleted] came up to me because he recognized me. I was polite & smiled & cut the chat as quickly as I could thinking the whole time how contemptible he was. I couldn't summon an ounce of respect for him as a man & momentarily felt my anger rising as I looked in his eyes & remembered hearing about how my cousin had cried when they told her she had been divorced.

"In sickness & in health" didn't mean a damn thing to him, & how can a man (or woman for that matter) be respected when he breaks a vow to the person he's supposed to care for most? Would it have been difficult for him? Hell yes. But life is difficult & my cousin had it a helluva lot worse than he ever would have. It'd have been difficult for him to stay married but it'd have been the right thing to do. When she couldn't do anything for him (cook, sex, have kids, look pretty on his arm, etc...) he bailed. He had no more use for her. The sumbitch, & he's contemptible not in small part because he probably tied her up when she could have found someone who would have stuck with her no matter her health or appearance - someone who actually gave a damn about her, not what they could get from her or she could do for them.

Edwards ain't leaving his wife in the legal sense but I'm calling it at least a form of abandonment to keep campaigning while his wife is going through this again. I feel he is acting just as contemptibly (though not quite in the same degree & he does have the possibility of amending his error while she's still alive) as the [many & numerous expletives deleted] who left my cousin after she was permanently injured.

He definitely hails from a very different part of NC than I do. Where I come from you tend to focus on people rather than positions or jobs or even careers. & if someone very close to you, such as your mate, happens to come down with an affliction like cancer, you don't keep pressing for the promotion - you cut back as much as you can afford to & spend all the time you can tending to them. Or just hanging out with them.

Is it just me? Am I the lone ranger on this? I'll grant that I've probably gone a little overboard in my thinking along those lines in recent decades.

In October of 2004 my blogging was light. I was running myself to death trying to work as much as I could but missing some time there. The reason? My ex-g/f's cat was dying. Now I didn't quit my job, but I cut back to the bare minimum number of hours I needed to work to make the rent (actually I went a little below that). That was for the cat of a lady I was no longer dating (truthfully it was also to help out my ex as it tore her up). I like cats & all but if it had been her or the lady I was seeing after my ex & I split up that had become ill I can't imagine that I would have just tried to keep living as I had before. & even now when the two ladies who've meant the most to me in the last half decade or so aren't even speaking to me (what can I say? - they both have very good taste) I can't imagine not dropping damned near everything if they needed something. & those are for two women who I'm not on speaking terms with & doubt that they give a damn about me.

One of them I tried to call at the start of (to my knowledge) the pet food poisonings to make sure she knew about it as she has a cat I always got along with well & I was pretty certain she didn't read my blog anymore. That required overcoming a great deal of my pride just to dial the number & leave a message (even though I'm still not sure if she got it as it was a digitized greeting instead of her voice on the machine) but it was what I felt was necessary to do because of the soft spot I've always had for her. It doesn't seem like much without knowing the circumstances (which I won't go into as they're probably not even any of my business) but it's no small thing for me to concede in such a matter where I think my pride is involved.

Now I could be mistaken but I doubt that those two ladies in question would do a tenth for me of what I'd do for them, but a few decades from now they could ask me for anything & if at all possible I'd provide for them. That's because I was raised that if you care for someone you try to take care of them if they need you to despite your circumstances (not coincidentally there was something thrown in with that about being very careful who you care for - not doing it lightly because of the obligations involved more or less). & keep in mind these are former lovers I'm speaking of that I haven't spoken with in months & likely are a relationship or two past whatever I had with them. But I care about them (respectively) despite our circumstances (or labels), therefore if they needed something I could provide they'd take a priority over my career even though we're in a state of absentia at the moment & likely (& regrettably) will never reconcile in any appreciable way.

But that's part of the obligation I have to myself because of my decision to care about them. It's tied in with my sense of self respect & esteem & has something to do with trying to live up to my idea of what a man should be & how he should act. I simply couldn't sleep at night (or in the daytime whichever the case may be) if I let one of them down when I could have helped them out in some way & can't imagine any other man feeling differently.

So theoretically if I found a lady who I thought actually cared for me & she & I were together a few decades & had a few kids it wouldn't even be a question whether or not I'd keep on the campaign trail as she went through Round 2 with cancer.

So really - am I out on my own on this one? Did I fall into some sort of odd clique where the pals I have that I respect mistakenly believe that their partner is the most important thing in their existence? Was my upbringing abnormal to teach me that careers come second to family & loved ones? Am I out of step when I presume that when you care for a person (I mean genuinely care) then you do whatever you have to to help them? Is it some sort of childish naivety that I should have outgrown to think a person should care for his/her mate in a time of illness? Am I being too much of an idealist?

Or would it be that some other folks just have their priorities all screwed up?

Maybe I'm just foolish, but I can't imagine Sade wrote the tune I typed about at the beginning of this post with someone like Edwards in mind. If she did I am truly sorry for her experience & hope no one I know goes through that. Sure, it's easy to be suckered into thinking someone cares & not too difficult to reject those who do genuinely give a damn about you, but that doesn't mean it's pleasant - especially when you need someone & they aren't there.

Posted by Publicola at April 16, 2007 06:54 AM | TrackBack