Culture Shock

Of Mice and MenThis may come as a shock to you, but the truth is I’m not quite as hip as you think. At least, I never used to be. Oh sure, I write and play music and all of that fun stuff. But there are some things about me that you probably wouldn’t believe.

Here are just a few of them:

1. I’ve never EVER listened to (or owned for that matter) a single Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin album from start to finish. Nope, not one. I know, you’d think that a guy my age who plays guitar would have at least spent his early years immersing himself in every nuance of a Hendrix or Page solo. But in reality, I’ve not so much as spent a minute learning a single note. And although I’ve heard their songs played over and over on the radio, I’ve never actually purchased an album or listened beyond what filled the airwaves when there was nothing else on.

2. I’ve never watched a single episode of any of today’s hit television shows. People “ramble on” (did you like that Zeppelin reference?) about how funny shows like Two And A Half Men (both with Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher), How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are. But when prime time rolls around on television; well, let’s just say that I always have something better to do.

I was about to mention that the same goes for my choice of literature. From the very beginning, my reading material had only consisted of comic books, guitar magazines and Stephen King novels. About the only time any literature of “culture” came my way was when it was forced upon me in high school english classes.

Novels like George Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” found their way into my possession during those years, and I certainly do remember having to do book reports on them. But honestly, I couldn’t tell you a single thing about them. In fact, I don’t even remember “reading” them at all. My way of thinking was always: if it didn’t have a superhero, a guitar god or some kind of monster in it, it wasn’t on my reading list.

But in the past 24 hours, that officially changed.

Yesterday, I finished “Of Mice And Men” by John Steinbeck. A book written in 1937 by a guy who won the Nobel Prize for Literature. That last sentence alone would usually be enough to have me running for the hills, but considering that the story was only 105 pages and I’ve always wanted to see what all the hub bub was about, I decided to give it a go. And I was glad I did.

I won’t bore you with the details of the story (aside from encouraging you to read it, if you haven’t), but I will tell you that I’ve discovered a whole new realm of wonder. Things that I had previously thought were dull, boring and dated have suddenly become new, interesting and exciting. It’s opened up a whole new way of thinking for me and has gotten me out of the “box” I was in.

In a way, I think I’ve hit the lottery. I’ll be able to read “1984” and “Animal Farm” with new found perspective. I can also buy a Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin album and listen to them freshly for the first time. All of the classic things I should have allowed myself to be exposed to long ago will be new to me.

I must say that I’m a bit embarrassed that it’s taken me this long to come to my senses. But I can’t wait to explore everything that’s always been right under my nose.

2 thoughts on “Culture Shock”

  1. I don’t read nearly as much as I should, but I do try to throw in a classic in between all the fluff. Next on your list, if you can manage the boatload of pages, should be Grapes of Wrath also by Steinbeck. You know when Bruce wrote about Tom Joad, yeah from the Grapes. It is one of my favorite books ever. Describing such an incredibly difficult time in this country’s history, it is absolutely fascinating. That’s my 2 cents. Now go listen to some Hendrix.


    1. I’ve really been neglecting my reading. I was and BN looking at Stephen King novels (as usual) and for some reason, thought of the classic books. Glad I did. Grapes is definitely on the list.

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