The other day I was digging in my safe, which is really just a glorified book shelf, searching for a book I seem to have lost. I never found it, but I came across something else. Something of greater value. A message from an old friend. Ben used to write me notes when we worked together, and leave them in my drawer behind the counter, and sometimes I'd leave notes for him too. Silly little messages to make each other laugh, or words of encouragement, or just to let each other know when a hot guy or girl started working in the plaza ("Steelers Guy," for example). I loved that about Ben--he was always looking out for me. One of the funniest things he ever wrote was in response to me telling him about my first solo apartment. I told him that it didn't really have a bedroom, just a Murphy bed in a closet. He said, "Bedrooms are for wimps!" I laugh every time I think of it.
This particular note was an attempt to get me pumped up about life during a difficult time. In peak cheerleader form, the note contained comments like, "YOU ARE AMAZEBALLS! and "BIGGER, BADDER, LIFE CHANGING GOALS!" My favourite part was him trying to get me excited about taking vacations..."Two weeks? No! Too weak! Two months! Recharge and reconnect with you!" Strangely enough, that's kind of what I did to kick off this year. I mean, I was really sick and had to step away from things so it wasn't exactly a vacation, but I certainly did recharge and reconnect with myself. Ben would be happy about that. Another thing I think he'd be happy about is the fact that I'm still (kind of) keeping up with this blog.
That was the main point of that note he left me. He was encouraging me to start a blog. That was almost exactly eight years ago, and I'm still at it. So, happy anniversary to this thing! I don't know how long I'll keep it up, but it's been a great experience. Looking back at some of the things I've shared on here makes me cringe a little, but it's totally fine. I made an agreement with myself when I first started that I wouldn't delete anything, no matter how gross or embarrassing. William Faulkner once wrote, "Unless you're ashamed of yourself now and then, you're not honest." I guess that tracks.
Speaking of tracks, the one I'll be sharing with you with today has me all kinds of excited because, not only is it one of my favourites from one of the greatest of all-time, but it's a track I might get to hear live this Fall. On October 16th, I'm attending a juggernaut of a rap show: The N.Y. State of Mind Tour (Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and De La Soul). WHAT?! De La was just added to the bill, and while I feel a little sad about it since we lost Dave this year, I'm also looking forward to seeing an awesome tribute to an artist who had a hand in shaping my identity as a youngster. I always regretted not seeing De La, and now it's actually on the itinerary.
As for Wu-Tang, I mean...come on! This is a dream show for me. I have such fond memories of playing Donkey Kong Country all summer with my friend while listening to 36 Chambers on repeat (and some Too $hort, too). I'm not sure which Wu-Tang members are going to be there, but I'm inclined to believe that both Raekwon and Ghostface will be, which means that I'll likely be hearing some favourite songs from another favourite album, including one song in particular, featuring Nas, that I'll be sharing a little something about soon. This is going to be an epic night. Also, Guns N' Roses just happens to be playing in Vancouver, close by, on the same night. Fucking wild! Van City is going to be absolutely lit that night! I must admit that it was tempting to find a way to go to both, but it's not going to work out. Honestly, though, I'm happy with the one show. It's bonkers as it is, and if given the choice between the two, I'd choose the one I've already got tickets to. It's what Ben would call a "Maja-concert," something he wanted me to attend more often. In fact, in that note I found, he said I should attend "FOUR MAJA-CONCERTS A YEAR." Oh, Ben. Sometimes I wonder what you'd think of me now. How I've grown and changed. Everything is so different, and it's only been four years. Holy, it's been four years! And, to think, I'm actually older than you now! I hope you're having a chuckle about that. I hope everyone out there is finding something to laugh about, because one thing that I keep reminding myself of is not to take life too seriously.
And now I will leave you, as I often do, with a smile and a song. Nas' sophomore album, It Was Written, gets a lot of flack, because it follows arguably the greatest rap album of all-time, Illmatic, but I've always enjoyed it. It takes me back to simpler times of driving around with cool guys and gals and kickass stereos with killer base, causing a ruckus and having a laugh.
I hope you enjoy this incredible song, my friends, and I hope to be back with another chapter soon.
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!