Today I woke up late, skipped my breakfast and run to barely make it to the gym with EV in tow, read to her and practiced our French, and managed to serve us both a fresh lunch while planning out meals for the week.
I don’t want to be writing a blog post. I want to be laying in the middle of the floor and falling asleep while watching Drag Race.
Yet, here I am. That’s because, while my frequent mantra of achievement may be “WWMD?“, when it comes to the words that motivate me to make it through my day it’s not Madonna I turn to – it’s Sheryl Crow.
Those words are from “It Don’t Hurt,” a rather marginal, Dylanesque single from Crow’s third LP, The Globe Sessions. It’s a song about fooling yourself into feeling something.
The electric man looks good today
Maybe not, well I’m trying hard
Trying hard to feel that way
The electric man’s a good place to start
Stick with me for a minute here. This is about more than fucking the electric man, but it’s absolutely about arousal.
Sometimes nothing feels good. You don’t have to suffer from clinical depression to feel that way. Maybe you’re exhausted. Maybe you’re bored. Maybe you’re heartbroken. Maybe it’s just one of those days when your brain feels completely drained of all intent and motivation. A lying the middle of the floor sort of day. A playing idle games to pass the time sort of day.
No one can be Madonna – or, to use a more modern example, Beyoncé – every minute of every day. Especially because we don’t have massive empires to take care of things like our meals, our laundry, and our taxes.
On those days when I can’t get up the interest in anything, I think about Sheryl Crow and those lyrics.
The electric man was not looking particularly good that day. He might not have ever looked good. Not to her, anyway. Maybe even if he did look good he didn’t look good to her because he’s the exact opposite of her type – too thin and wiry if she likes a muscular guy, or to short and stout if she likes her men tall and long-limbed.
It doesn’t matter. She is going to convince herself the electrician looks good. She is going to to subvert the flow of the chemicals in her body, little hits of dopamine, and instruct her brain to get interested in the electric man as he squats low to repair a broken outlet.
She’ll do it because you have to start somewhere, sometime. You have to put your stake in the ground at some point, and no patch of sand is better than the next. If the electric man is in front of you, you go with the electric man. Maybe if you can feel aroused looking at him you can feel aroused about something you really care about.
I use the electric man litmus test on myself when I am feeling hopelessly listless. Can I get excited about something utterly mundane? Can I throw myself into organizing our DVDs or building an awesome race track with EV? Can I find a little passion in my body for something inane, since I can’t summon it for something important.
The answer isn’t always yes. That’s fine. We’re in command of our bodies, but we’re not always in total control of those chemicals in our brains. If we can’t get excited about the electric man, maybe we’re missing something – a bite to eat, some more sleep, or even intervention from a professional.
But if you can get aroused over that electric man then, damnit, you know you can find your way back to your passion.
Was the thing I was most looking forward to today writing a blog post about a Sheryl Crow song I don’t even really like all that much? No. But I’ve been meaning to write a post about that verse – for at least three years now. My listless brain is awake and alive and I’ve managed achieve something.
And that’s why the electric man is a good place to start.