Going Back In 4/4 Time

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Going Back In 4/4 Time

It’s been said that smell can trigger memories better than anything else. I’m sure that can be linked to the animal portion of our brains – some survival mechanism whose main purpose is forgotten, long ago replaced by logic and reason. While that may be true, I find it takes a far back seat to music for really dredging up the past.

There’s a CD case that stands against the wall in the other room, one of those glue, sawdust and wood-grain sticker deals, pretty much untouched since it was moved there years ago.  It’s an artifact of a bygone age, and I can’t tell you the last time I slid a disc out for a listen. The truth is I’m a bit afraid to. The thing is a mausoleum, each dusty compartment holding a little bit of my past encapsulated with its musical accompaniment.  Stacked one atop the other, with just a fraction of an inch worth of space between them, lay the polycarbonate corpses of my lost decade. There are a few happy times in the stack along the left side. Lots of loss on the top right, just above the melancholy. Then there is ‘her’ section. We’ll leave her out of this. The point is, the music was always playing back then, and to listen to it now doesn’t come without a price. It’s amazing what the brain can throw back at you with the proper stimulus, and how an old memory can still make you feel a bit of unease years after its interment.

Well, certainly memory is a curious machine and strangely capricious. It has no order, it has no system, it has no notion of values, it is always throwing away gold and hoarding rubbish. -Mark Twain

Anyway, I’m cautious touching the thing for all it might rattle loose. Remember what happened when they cracked the lid on the Ark?  Not that all the memories entombed there are bad, but truth be told, the bad tend to be more sticky. At least during that era. I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten rid of the damn thing.

That’s the odd thing about nostalgia, and revisiting the past whether by choice or errant thought. It’s the part people may forget. By its very meaning, there’s some pain involved.  In fact, for a time it was considered a disease; one serious enough to lead to death (allegedly), usually afflicting soldiers unable to go home.  But I ask you friend, are we all not soldiers at war with our pasts at one time or another?

Back to the front.


October 14th, 2011|Categories: Life & Times|Tags: |6 Comments


  1. Skinner October 14, 2011 at 10:26 AM - Reply

    Well said, sir.

    I hope your mp3 collection contains happier memories, and that, at some point, you find an understanding garbage man who’ll take the stack as it stands.

  2. Jim October 14, 2011 at 6:35 PM - Reply

    My mp3 collection is actually quite small. And free of any nonsense.

    The CD’s will be boxed up soon, and then probably forgotten about. Part of what prompted this post was that I’d noticed it the other day and couldn’t figure out why it was still around.

  3. bmj2k October 14, 2011 at 8:42 PM - Reply

    Very nicely done. Whoever said that “blogging is the lowest form of communication” is an ass after reading this.

    • Jim October 14, 2011 at 9:17 PM - Reply

      Thanks, Barry.

      I’ve seen some posts on twitter that might give blogs a run for their money for that title!

  4. O-Pop February 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM - Reply

    I can [totes] understand how music can dredge up emotion. There are songs on my mp3 player that, no matter how I feel when the song starts, can still reduce me to sobbing like a mincy little schoolgirl even after all these years. :/

    • Jim February 3, 2012 at 8:00 PM - Reply

      It’s a testament to the power of music I suppose. (If you let it work its magic.)

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