AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE One Hundred Seventeen: Break Down, Then Liftoff…

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.

EPISODE ONE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN: Break Down, Then Liftoff…

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If there was a regret that I have, it would be that I never learned to play an instrument. I can noodle a bit on the piano or play two or three pieces of a song or two on the guitar but as for really playing it: nada.

I always wanted to. I have daydreams that I would be playing the guitar in front of a sold-out show and having the crowd in the palm of my hand. When I was a kid (and just the other day), I would play the most awesomeness air guitar to Pink Floyd. I was David Gilmour playing the hits at Wembley Stadium. I was there as the laser lights sprayed all around as the spotlight hit me as I put my fingers to work on the solo of Comfortably Numb.

But at the end of the day, it’s not real. I may think I’m playing the hell out of his Fender but if you were to put the real thing in my hand, I could only play the James Bond theme, after a few minutes of practice.

When I was a kid, the only instrument we had in the house was my mom’s banjo. And, no, she couldn’t play it. We were a house of none instrument playing humans. There came a moment in my life where I wanted to try and learn how to play it. So, my mom found me a teacher at the local music store and it was off to the races.

Until I found out how tough it was. The metal strings felt like they were going to cut my little, tender fingers in half. I went to about three lessons and told my mom no more. My heart wasn’t in it. It honestly never was. Plus I wasn’t ready to take on such an undertaking. Back into the closet, it went. I never touched it again.

Not that I have anything against the banjo. I love to hear somebody who knows what they are doing wail on it (can you wail on a banjo?). It just wasn’t for me. And I didn’t have anything else I could learn on.
So, air instruments it was.

But I love music. And I listen to all kinds. I like what takes me away, that lifts me up and soars me above all the worry and problems in my life. And for a little while, it does.

And there is a part in most songs that I love just a bit more than the rest of the song. In a lot of songs, there is a breakdown. Maybe a few of the instruments get quiet or disappears entirely and what’s left is the beat and maybe a guitar. The song rides that way for a four-beat or whatever like it’s driving into battle and then, WHAM! You’re hit with the main chorus. The music has reached the battle and swords are swinging and connecting with your emotions.

And a good example is Van Halen’s Panama. The part where David Lee Roth talks in the song.
Yeah, we’re runnin’ a little bit hot tonight.
And he keeps talking. Alex is keeping the beat and Eddie is letting his guitar strumming.
David starts getting louder along with the Van Halen brothers.
Then you hear, Pistons popping, ain’t no stopping now!
A slight pause…then…
PANAMA!!!!!!!!!!!
The music, like a freight train, blasts into your ears like it’s coming out of a tunnel (or into one). The music has entered the battle and is taking no names or prisoners.

There are a lot of songs where that happens but that’s the one that comes to mind the most. The break down that gets you prepared for what’s to come and then it hits you with all of its might.

If only we could prepare ourselves for what’s to come like that. Usually, the break down we have isn’t as cool and the battle ahead usually isn’t as cool as how the music affects us. It usually lays waste to our hearts and our minds.

The break down of the human mind might never lead to a rise or a liftoff. We just hope for a slow, gradual incline back to normalcy. It’s like finding ourselves in a swamp and our feet are stuck in the mud under the water. We have to fight our way back to dry land so we can rest and dry off and scrap the mud and the swamp slime off of us. The odds of a helicopter to come flying in and dropping a rope ladder for us to grab onto and pulling us out of our muck and lift us high over until we get to where our friends and family are and we set foot back on terra firma like a badass hardly ever happens.
And, man, what an entrance that would be…

No. We usually get that slow crawl back to a level plane after a breakdown. It’s a lot of sighs and deep thoughts and worries. It’s a lot of pushing people away for a while and saying to people ‘I’m fine’ or ‘It’s fine’. And it’s a lot of lying… to yourself.

But…even though I have been to a few breakdowns in my life, I have found myself back up that incline. I have crawled back on hands and knees, just looking down so I don’t have to see how far I have to go. I still have got to the top, in my own time.

And you have had a breakdown and had to crawl yourself back up…and if you’re reading this, then, maybe you got to the top, too. You made it. Probably more than once.

I do hope one day when a breakdown is really bad, a helicopter comes flying in and plucks me out of the muck.
Maybe playing Panama on some speakers really loud.
I bet it would be badass.

-Loyd Elmore
June 13th, 2018

I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.

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