Monday, April 4, 2011

I meant to be inspiring, but you'll probably just be bummed...

I've been trying to write a blog post for a couple weeks now. The most pertinent and only thing I could think about writing was the experience that my band mates, friends and I had in Japan. I even titled it My Earthquake Day, pulled out of the Harvey Pekar library.

But I'm stalled. There is something about telling this story in a public forum that makes me feel cheap, which in turn makes me feel like I'm belittling the situation. I feel like my part to play was personal, and any sort of pity party is seemingly inappropriate. Yes I was in the quake, yes I thought I was potentially not going to make it out of that situation. But I left 3 days later, no one I knew was hurt or killed, and I returned to my furnished and cozy apartment. I'll leave the fear mongering and sensationalism with CNN and try and internalize it differently. But it's hard.

Because of who I am, I'm quick to see in this only further proof of the randomness and devastation that humans are subjected to. The concept of mortality mixed with the ever present truth that it can happen at any moment. It's enough to drive anyone to insanity, or religion, take your pick. But this is a part of myself I've been trying to fight forever, this inherent notion to focus on the negative, and convincing myself the worse case scenario is inevitable.

In an effort to be positive and push away the depression of the situation, sans my looming existential crisis, I'm holding onto two things. Watching the civility and respect of the Japanese during the situation was, and is, inspiring. I was close and privy to much of the situation during 9/11, and was surprised then by how much selflessness and humanity can come out of a populous during a tragedy. The way people conducted themselves and continue to is admirable, especially with all the finger pointing and politics involved at this point. They haven't let go of their core values, and obviously won't, even in the face of death.

Also, the first two mornings after the quake, while still in Tokyo, I woke up and had never been so excited to open my eyes. The simple act of rising was a huge relief. Every time REM is over, and the brain starts waking the body up again, is a gift. The typical pessimists perspective is that everyday is one step closer to death. When in reality, it's another gift in a series of gifts we're given through our life if we just...keep waking up. Every day can be the catalyst for change, and putting something off until tomorrow might never happen. Just saying.

I don't plan to wear this as some sort of badge of honor. I'd like to view it as a horrible catastrophe, one where by a simple twist of luck I remain to wake up and do dumb shit everyday, and those people can't. And that's my gift.


  1. Not bummed at all :) There's nothing that can prepare you for how to feel after an experience like that.

  2. First-loving that I get to follow your blog Benny!I loved what you wrote about the Japanese people.I felt the same way,watching their country come together with respect and love.America could learn from them.I concur my dear friend that We all rush too quickly through our days,every extra minute a gift..Mandela said a good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination,You have both, looking forward to reading some more insight.

  3. Thanks Benny very inspiring. I've been coming out of some though times and it definitely hit home! -David

  4. We all need to be reminded that every day we have is a gift. A wise man once said, "It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive."
    Thanks for the reminder. Puts things in perspective.

  5. the cheese but i love it..'today is a gift we call the present' xoxoxoxoxo

  6. Barnes, nice reference to Badlands, that's always been one of my favorite lines. And Benny, this was definitely inspiring. You're one of the most generally epic people I've ever met, and this message does you justice. Live hard, stay awesome.