Lather

The album Crown of Creation by Jefferson Airplane was released in September 1968, a month before my 20th birthday. It wasn’t near as good as Surrealistic Pillow but it had some good songs on it, Lather being one of them (and for the record, I rather liked After Bathing at Baxter’s, something of the red headed stepchild of Airplane albums, a bit better than CofC).

I liked Lather well enough, back then I couldn’t get enough of Gracie Slick, though it didn’t have the significance it gained later on. At 20, 30 is a million miles away and miles are meaningless to a 20 year old.

When 30 finally rolled around, I was expecting the Earth to come unglued. 30 was that magic, feared by some, age when you were suppose to become a “grown-up”. The adage back when I was 20 was you couldn’t trust anyone over 30. Well, the Earth didn’t come unglued, 30 passed without incident or trauma, maybe because I had a fuck this grown-up shit attitude. I did however play Lather a couple a hundred times that day and have played it on every 0 birthday since.

I will say that of all the 0 birthdays I’ve had, 50 was my 30. I couldn’t even say out loud that I was 50 until well after I turned 51.

As reckless as my life has been lived, I’m rather amazed I’ve made it to 70. In that vein, I’ve paraphrased my own version of Lather. Silly, perhaps, but I had fun writing it. It made me laugh and at 70, one really needs to laugh … a lot.

EJ was seventy years old today,
Can’t recall where he put all his toys.
Someone sent newspaper clippings to him,
About his old friends who no longer make noise.
There was one around here, can’t remember his name,
Dropped dead on the dining room floor.
And a driver named Fish, maybe sixty years old,
Used to see him a lot but no more.
But EJ now finds it a nice thing to do,
To run about nude in the ‘hood.
Cursing at people dressed up like cops,
The shrinks say he’s misunderstood.

But wait, oh EJ’s productive you know,
He produces the finest of sound,
Strolling down the street in his baggy old jeans,
Tooting the best licks in town,
And flowers wilted …

EJ was seventy years old today,
Wide awake on a block not his own.
He looked at a cat eyes wide and plainly said
Is it true that I can’t find my home?
And the children run in terror,
And the young men do the same,
As he babbles his name in error,
Hardly knowing which way to turn,
Which street to find …
And the cat should have told him, “man you’re really fucking old.”
Should have let him go on … blathering … baby talk.

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