I was enjoying a shower. A few rare minutes of warmth, of strategizing for the day ahead; of solitude and clarity. A hot shower: one of my two daily luxuries (prefacing a beautiful hot cuppa joe).
I was enjoying the first of these mini-luxuries when the betrayal took place. A betrayal on a level that will be evident shortly.
I invented a trick. This trick may seem, on its surface, to be simple. But it requires a delicate sense of timing and perfect execution in order to be successfully carried out. It's much too complicated to describe in a single sentence, but I will try. The basic idea is this:
When someone (for example: my wife) is taking a hot shower, I sneak up with a bucket of really, really cold water, and dump it on her.
That's it. It's kind of hard to explain. But I invented it. Brilliant.
Invention is about ownership over something you care about. You take pride in it as being yours. You care about it being done properly. I originated this move.
As I was standing in my shower, thinking up ways to spend my day in ways that would benefit my family; thinking about what color of new Hunter boots I should get my wife, I was suddenly interrupted from my reverie with an avalanche of FREEZING COLD GLACIER WATER. Niagara Falls on my head. From nowhere.
I shrieked. Ripped open the shower door. And there was my wife, with our children, pulling the double betrayal of:
a) stealing one of my greatest inventions and using it against me, and (possibly worse),
b) teaching our children this trick…THIS WAS NOT HER TRICK TO TEACH THEM! IT WAS MINE!
The sad truth is that she executed it perfectly. Probably even more perfectly than I have ever done, which is horrid to admit. Approach was stealthy, the dumping was spot-on, the water was frigid enough to leave me shivering…it surpassed my original invention, which reminded me immediately of what Mates of State did when they covered Belle & Sebastian's Sleep the Clock Around: they took an already fabulous song and made it into quite possibly the Greatest Song Ever.
And the moment will come when composure returns
Put a face on the world, turn your back to the wall
And you walk twenty yards with your head in the air
I have loved Belle & Sebastian's version for so many years, enduring the ridicule of Jack Black's record store employee character in Hi Fidelity, playing it to my children and loving it more than anyone in the world could ever love a song. And then husband-wife buddies Mates of State stuck it on as a cover on their Crushes album, and made it danceable and romantic and and threw some sirens in…and made it so, so good. I guess that's always the question: what gets more credit:
the original of something?
the re-interpretation of that original that finds a fresh, updated way that in many ways improves on the original?
In the spirit of Linus Torvalds, I have decided to open-source this trick and share it with the world: you may use it; and I encourage you to use try it out frequently. The payoff is tremendous.
Also, I want to see Christopher Nolan dive into the Indiana Jones franchise.
I guess I gotta be proud of being married to someone who can make my tricks even better.
I still got a few up my sleeve though. First, I need to buy a couple oxen...
Belle & Sebastian
Sleep the Clock Around
The Boy With the Arab Strap
Mates of State
Sleep the Clock Around
Crushes (The Covers Mixtape)