Updated: Oct 9
This is an excerpt taken from something I wrote in FrontPageNewsMusic.com exactly a year ago today. It's interesting how these things hold true over time.
I despair about humanity sometimes because on most days you people convince me that there are no more adventurers or inventors. You know who I mean. Anyone in history who we admire because they could not settle for, "We're fine with how things are--nothing needs to change." The formative people in history, basically. People who couldn't bear to leave that hill undiscovered or that horizon unpassed-over. People who couldn't bear not mixing those several chemicals or tinkering together that bunch of gears in a disorderly pile in the corner.
Inventors and adventurers. They got us where we are today, and they were all of them nuts. They had to be. The status was quo, and quo kept people happy.
Well, maybe not happy, but it kept people alive.
Well, maybe not all of them, but it certainly wasn't uncomfortable.
Well, maybe it was uncomfortable, but it didn't have the worrying discomfort of uncertainty, by thunder. And, as everyone knows, uncertainty is the most evil thing in the world! Aside from weak coffee and sour wine. Aside from that, uncertainty! Uncertainty is the devil.
The Trouble With the World Is Comfort
Everyone's comfortable. Comfortable people don't look over past the next hill. Comfortable people don't discover new and strange solutions to old and for-granted-taken problems. Comfortable people do not invent, and they do not go on adventures.
I despair about the human race because of perpetual Netflix-ing and Tempurpedic beds. Who's going to invent a better way to get to Mars if they have a Tempurpedic bed and orthopedic shoes? Everything's something-pedic now. We might want to escape, but how can we find them time? There's just no time. There's no time between the mall and the coffee shop and the ergonomic everything. There's no time to be uncomfortable long enough to develop the requisite fury to invent something.
I despair, because it looks like the human race has tamed any inventing or adventuring desires right out of itself. We are a captive species, made captor by ourselves.
Despair. Pretty easy to despair.
Then I Meet Weird Dudes Like Dylan Cloud
The thing you have to know about Dylan is he lives in a world inclined to reward clever things. When we can find them, we reward anything that breaks up the monotony of the epidemic of comfort. In this world, he does everything wrong.
That's one of the six highest compliments I can pay anyone. It's right up there with, "I like your garlic skills." It's right up there with, "You remind me of a young Don Rickles or an old Lenny Bruce." Dylan is one of these cats you could describe as "unfairly talented--we should totally assassinate him." That's a quote I'm paraphrasing. It's from his family, so you know it's true.
He's a Musician With Good Hair. People Like Those.
There's a low bar of entry when you're talking about listening to a musician. If you're a musician and you want to make friends at parties and keep being a musician you're pretty much set. It's not like some other hobbies, like being an aficionado of Anglo-Saxon poetry or a tarantula tamer. Those don't go over at parties as well. In terms of fitting in and making friends, musician is right near the top. He does play harmonica, but I don't think that's fair to hold against him.
And a musician is what Dylan says he'd like to be when he grows up. It sounds like he's been on this course for a lot of his life. He named his dog Zeppelin, and he's been listening to Led Zeppelin since he was five. Too early, I think, but my dad thought that Acid Eaters was a good album to play for me when I was five. I can't talk.
Dylan's one of these dudes who decides to pick up and start learning a new instrument every now and then. He knows guitar, and he knows harmonica, and he's learning mandolin and I don't know what all else.
Read the rest of this article, written after a trans-continental call with Dylan before the world changed forever with covid and lockdowns...and tweaked slightly exactly a year ago.