I wish I’d known that as a kid. It seemed like I was always bored, then. It wasn’t until I more or less stopped watching television late in my teenage years that I stopped being boring. (OK, I did spend some delirious late, late night hours watching old horror movies over at my pal Shawnee’s house. Her parents were amazingly tolerant of her hippy friends, even after the rest of the household became seized by Born Again Fever.)
But, by the time I had crossed paths with that truism, I was already decidedly unboring. If I do say so myself.
I had a pal who was out on the road in those days with Chakka Khan’s band. It seemed so extraordinarily glamorous. But it was driving him nuts. He had a beautiful wife and a young baby and he really wanted to be home with them instead of holing up in a seemingly endless series of motel rooms.
I remember listening to him and offering up one suggestion after another… but he had them beat. And more or less legitimately. I offered up sight seeing and he said, Mostly, I’ve seen it. I suggested museums. You’d be surprised how lame the museums in Peoria and Hackensack are. How about learning a new instrument or something? I offered. He just looked at me funny. How about drinking, I finally said, and cracked the seal on the Tequila in front of us.
Some years later I would pick up a Rolling Stone magazine and glance at the lead article on a certain poor little rich boy rock star. Fabulously wealthy, he languished in his own shadow. His lack of passion became a burden and, for a time, he stopped writing. The Rolling Stone writer tried his damnedest to capture the star’s dilemna — and maybe if I’d had a little more compassion in those days, I’d have been able to dial in that wavelength.
But it just slipped past me.
All I could think about was all that money and all those possibilities and all he could come up with was… boredom.
I have considerable more empathy, now. Once I stopped drinking a dozen years ago, I started finding some compassion for those who could not, as I’d often advised, reach right down and pick themselves up by their bootstraps. Because, once I’d taken away my own medicine, I found my own bootstraps just a little hard to reach… they were so far and every effort, in those days, seemed crushing.
I eventually climbed out of it — but for way too long, I was depressed. Some days I couldn’t bring myself to go out or even do the simplest chores. Once an aggressive, restless bon vivant, out many more nights than not, I found myself unable to stay at parties more than a few minutes. After a while, it just seemed easier not to go.
So I holed up in my house, with my cats and my guitars…
He was so bored in the room. The others had gone out to an afterhours but he was sick of clubs and music. He tried to write a letter to his ex-wife but he couldn’t think of what to say after he asked about the kids. The movies on cable were always the same.
He went down to the bar and ordered Scotch. He buried himself in shadow in a corner booth but soon he looked up to see a woman of thirty wearing teenager’s clothes and too much makeup.
“Aren’t you…” she began.
His first impulse was to be rude, to just send this poor creature away. There she was, her waste cinched in with a department store “fashion” belt, her breasts on display thanks to some engineering miracle of a brasiere, her hair somehow inflated… she looked like a flower ready to blossom… or simply explode. But he could never be cruel.
Sadly, he thought to himself, he could never be strong either.
“Maybe,” he said in answer to her partial question. “I might be. After, all, according to the entertainment section, I am in town.”
She looked confused but hopeful.
“Why don’t you sit down, love? You seem quite young to be one of my fans…”
A STAR IS BORED
A star is bored
prowling empty hotel hallways
He’s never alone
so how come he’s always lonely
Nothing gets him down
it’s all just the same
saying “If you think you’re bored,
then you should see me!”
Down in the bar
leaning into a smokey corner
trying not to catch her eye:
“Say, cowboy, why you dressed like that?”
And it always seems to
go down about the same
It kills a couple of hours
but it don’t kill the pain
Tell him a story
make it long, make it lonely
Lots of starstruck summer nights
and the moon’s reflection on the river that runs through
Nothing makes much sense
but he guesses that’s just life
Ya play a few songs
and then they turn out the lights
Yeah, nothing makes much sense
and he guesses that’s just life
You have a couple of laughs
and then you call it a night