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Cathy, I'm Lost

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Jun. 20th, 2010 | 08:36 am

I think Generation X is probably the most depressed generation. When some news guy writes a book about us it will be called "The Glumest Generation."

So I've been thinking about this--why? Sure, there are more anti-depressants available to take, and they have minimal side effects. Back in the olden times, you wouldn't even tell anyone you were depressed because you saw "The Snake Pit" and you knew about Frances Farmer. Anti-depressants had crazy side effects and contraindications. With one class, you couldn't even eat CHOCOLATE. What sort of punishment is that? Cruel and unusual is what it is.

So, yes, people are more likely to cop to depression, and also we have more time to think about how much we hate ourselves and how hard it is to fill that black hole in our hearts and stuff.

But I think I can point to two specific reasons Gen X is so depressed: Simon and Garfunkle, and Peanuts. Wait, is that three reasons?

My parents had a bunch of Simon and Garfunkle records and 8-tracks that were played quite often, especially on Sunday mornings and road trips. Mostly we think of S+G and being kind of happy, but listen to the lyrics. Not every song is "The 59th Street Bridge Song," ya know. Most are about loneliness. Some are about suicide. Even the rather sweet "America" contains the lyric, "Cathy, I'm lost, I said, although I knew she was sleeping." That just kills me every time. As a kid I thought he was lost on the road, like we often were. But somewhere inside I knew what it meant. And there's no subtlety in "Richard Cory." He shoots himself! Blammo! There's no metaphor to cover things up! And the singer works a miserable job in a factory. No one is happy in the S+G world.

Then there's Peanuts. Those little ragamuffins totally screwed us up. The football, the psychiatrist booth, the ugly tree... I can go on. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm an atheist because of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Poor sap Linus waited ALL NIGHT in his very sincere pumpkin patch for that stupid demigod to show up. He could have at least sent a gourd in his place.

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Comments {27}

The American Caliban

From: substitute
Date: Jun. 20th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
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"It always rains on our generation." -- Charlie BRown

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dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jun. 20th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
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chuck was a wise man.

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all_unnecessary

From: all_unnecessary
Date: Jun. 20th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
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+1

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all_unnecessary

From: all_unnecessary
Date: Jun. 20th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
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Also: M*A*S*H, and its theme song "Suicide Is Painless." A staple of my childhood.

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dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jun. 21st, 2010 09:54 am (UTC)
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yes! Who every heard of a comedy where people _died_?? What was that all about??

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"Peanuts"

Nation of Tire Sale

From: tdaschel
Date: Jun. 21st, 2010 05:59 am (UTC)
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well y'know, the dynamic of my last couple relationships was .. Charlie Brown and Lucy. and they weren't even an "item," right? she just pulls that football away, endlessly. but, jeez, the more i think about this, the more depressing/telling/what-have-you it becomes. Lucy's crush was Schroeder, a musician whose heart was elsewhere. i'm reminded of the Minister's Daughter who crushed on a Central Virginia Musician with a wife an' kid. fast-fwd to my fake and imaginary spouse who spoke often of her obsession with a local fiddle an' esraj champion, again with wife and kids.

.. but about the Gen X/Depression thing, i don't (want to?) believe you / i just don't have any evidence at this time to the contrary.

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Re: "Peanuts"

dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jun. 21st, 2010 09:52 am (UTC)
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well, I'm being a little contrite of of course. there are lots of reasons for depression, and I don't really know if we're more depressed that other generations, it just _seems_ that way, don't it?

It's also much more acceptable to be depressed and to talk about being depressed.

Of course, too, Lucy doesn't _get_ Schroder at all. Remember when she made him play "Jingle Bells"? Her love for him is shallow and based on appearances. Lucy is probably the strangest character in comic strip history. She's so realistic that it makes us uncomfortable.

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I'm empty and aching and I don't know why

A.

From: loosestrife
Date: Jun. 21st, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
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I read this last night before bed. Then I woke up thinking about it. Instead of paying attention at a work meeting I started looking up lists of hits over various periods to look for changes in the prevalence of melancholy. I couldn't reach a conclusion. I never watched TV anyway, growing up, and I don't know all those songs on those lists! I'm always suspicious of claims about differences among generations. But this does seem horribly plausible.

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Re: I'm empty and aching and I don't know why

dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jun. 21st, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, who knows for sure. There have been lost love songs for many many years, but I feel like in the 60s things took a slightly different tone in American popular music. We had a lot of songs about death in the 70s--"Honey" and "Seasons in the Sun" are the two that stick out in my mind. But S+G were in every household in the 60s and 70s, or so it seemed to me. Not like Nine Inch Nails or The Smiths, although I'm sure there are a good number of kids who grew up with parents listening to Hatfull of Hollow over and over again.

I'm sure Kurt Cobain's parents must have listened to Simon and Garfunkel. But maybe not Dave Grohl's :)

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Songs in the Key of Death ..

Nation of Tire Sale

From: tdaschel
Date: Jun. 22nd, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
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"Alone Again (Naturally)" is a song by Irish singer–songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan. It was released in 1972, and in total spent six weeks, non-consecutively, at #1 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It is an introspective ballad, starting with the singer telling of his plans to commit suicide after being left at the altar, and then telling about the death of his parents.

oh yeah: don't forget "Wildfire" / it's about a pony (lost, burning, or freezing to death / perhaps all three), which - in my economy - qualifies as more-sad than all of Mr Gilberto's mortal coil shuffling put together !

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Re: Songs in the Key of Death ..

dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jun. 22nd, 2010 08:40 am (UTC)
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ah yes! wildfire! And Gilbert O'Sullivan! These days, MTV censors Sean Kingston singing "Beautiful girls/you make me suicidal" when obviously the ref is hyperbole. But we had the real thing.

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Jon Konrath

From: jkonrath
Date: Jun. 22nd, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
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I think Snoopy/The Red Baron also suffered from PTSD.

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dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jun. 22nd, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
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TOTES.

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Katylin >^..^<

From: katylin
Date: Jun. 25th, 2010 06:21 am (UTC)
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You know you are not alone, even if you want to be.
I am so there with you.
There are somethings in life that are not fair, right, simple.
I am missing so much of what makes the sun shine.
"Lump lingered last in line for brains and the one she got was sorta rotten and insane"
"I'm only happy when it rains- I'm only happy when it's complicated
You know I love it when the news is bad- And why it feels so good to feel so sad - I'm only happy when it rains You wanna hear about my new obsession
I'm riding high upon a deep depression- I'm only happy when it rains"
There are something that are just true.
My only suggestion is to embrace your funk, and then burn it like oil in the fire of creativity.
You are a smart, sexy, talented "little hen"...
Love K
p.s. I have been making a box of cookies called ~Bi-Polar Serotonin Re-uptake~
Would you like a box of cookies? Half are lemon lavender with sprinkles and the others are chocolate, cardamom with cola.

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dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jun. 30th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
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I do want a box of cookies. I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT THE LEMON LAVENDER! I suppose it would be wrong to enter them in the office bake-off as my own :)

love, m

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Katylin >^..^<

From: katylin
Date: Jul. 1st, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
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nope. not wrong at all. when is your bake off and I will see if I can't get you some extras on time?

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dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jul. 1st, 2010 08:51 am (UTC)
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it's July 22, but seriously, I"m keeping those cookies for myself. they sound amazing.

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Plato Kasserman

From: platokasserman
Date: Jun. 28th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Sorry I wasn't online to wish you a happy birthday. What a Faux Paws!



PS - Have you heard of Oscar the Bionic Cat? He's in the news. Here's a video of him in action:

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dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jun. 28th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
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faux paws!!!! that's good.

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kitlovesbooks

From: kitlovesbooks
Date: Jul. 11th, 2010 07:18 am (UTC)
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Okay, explain why Gen Xers should be more depressed by Simon & G and Peanuts than the Boomers, who heard it all first? We spent HOURS listening to Simon & G. You didn't mention The Sun Is Burning, one of the most despairing. But I don't think you can blame Richard Cory on S&G, it's based on a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson. We studied it in Freshman English and I knew it by heart before I ever heard the S&G song. How's that for old...

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dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: Jul. 11th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
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I will have to respectfully disagree, on account of the boomers, even the late boomers, had a few years of light-hearted entertainment like Bugs's bunny pre-Chuck Jones. When the late boomers were listening to S&G I think they were more emotionally prepared for the psychic onslaught that is the S&G lyric. We just didn't know, and thus internalized the songs' messages without fully understanding. We didn't even realize these were sad songs!

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kitlovesbooks

From: kitlovesbooks
Date: Jul. 11th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
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You make a good point. Although Bugs Bunny (and everything else) was in black and white for me till about age 18, and that has to have had some kind of depressing effect. :)

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Can't wait to get involved

From: pussy
Date: Apr. 14th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
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Hey - I am definitely delighted to find this. cool job!

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From: sapopoem
Date: Apr. 15th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
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pimples are really annoying, you can kill them using benzoyl peroxide but it will also make your skin red.

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elisavet

From: lachupacabra
Date: Apr. 26th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
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how are you?
havent heard anything in ages, wondering how yr feeling, how things are going.
miss you.
:)

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dorothy_parka

From: dorothy_parka
Date: May. 1st, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
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aww, thanks. I was thinking about you the other day. Things are meh with me. I hope things are much better with you.

All the cats say hi :)

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From: bortzcih
Date: Nov. 3rd, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
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Great writing! I want you to follow up to this topic!?!

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