Today is my birthday. I am turning 44.
I’m not sure how much longer I will be alive. Not only am I on the euthanasia list, but the American government is actively engaged in genocide with a level 3 biohazard known as covid. We are experiencing a 9/11 worth of covid deaths daily, yet the government says the pandemic is “over.” So many people are dying of covid here, they are being put in mass graves.
But to be optimistic on my birthday, I am hoping to live to age 60 to outlive the cats. I need to be able to take care of them and keep them together.
Before the pandemic, when I bought the house, I decided it was time to take care of some important planning as part of being a responsible adult. I wrote my own obituary and outlined my wishes for my funeral. At the time, I considered this “long term planning.”
Part of my planning was that I came up with a playlist of songs that represent my life. I chose 26.2 songs. A marathon is 26.2 miles. I am a marathon runner. There are 26 randoms songs. The .2 are two Christmas songs, kind of as a bonus. My plan was for the playlist to be played at my funeral for people to have something to remember me by and as a way to have insight into my life.
Given that so many people now are just being thrown into mass graves with all of the covid deaths, I highly doubt I will have a funeral or a death how I want it.
I have decided that on my birthday I want to post my playlist today. I want people to celebrate my life. Every day I am alive is a precious gift. I just want to outlive my cats.
I am quite sure that even if I live for another 15 or 20 years and then die, that my playlist will be the same. These are truly songs that tell the story of my life.
I am giving you the annotated version in random order. The songs are not in any particular order. I will post a link to the YouTube version of the song linked to the song title if you want to listen to my playlist. Each song has a brief description of why it has been chosen.
So today on my birthday, I want to celebrate life by sharing with you the 26.2 songs in the key of my life with you. Enjoy. Celebrate being alive. Life is precious and so fleeting.
Hey, Jude by The Beatles (album version)
This is the song that inspired my baby name. Jude did indeed live up to his name. He came into my life at a very challenging time and “took a sad song and made it better.”
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
This song has been in the background of my life for as long as I remember. It has echoed off the mountains of the Adirondacks. I named a room in my house after this song. I have just lived it and felt it as a part of me always. From childhood to death. I was not as strong as you think. I have always “wished you were here,” but I honestly never knew who I was wishing for because people always flowed through my life like water.
Another song that reflects my life. It’s also about hockey. Every time I hear it, I think of the movie “Miracle.” I love to read. “Half my life is on book’s written pages.”
Going Out in Style by Dropkick Murphys
This was my theme song when I finally completed my bachelor’s degree at Binghamton University in 2011 after having spent 15 year fighting for a 4-year degree while working 2-3 jobs. It also describes exactly what I want for my funeral: “You can take my urn to Fenway spread my ashes all about.”
Old Blue Chair by Kenny Chesney
Wow. This is my Cranberry song. It is my life song. I have literally lived every single lyric in this song. I have “seen the world through a bus windshield.” I spend every Cranberry sitting in an old blue chair. I have often been there to “let go of a lover who took a piece of my heart.” I have fallen asleep in that blue chair and “woke up to a million mesquito bites.” I have lived this song more than any other. It was so hard picking a Kenny song, as he is one of my top 3 favorite artists, but this is my song.
Somewhere on A Beach by Dierks Bentley
In my dreams. This is the song for when I want to give a middle finger to the world. Plus, it is the perfect beach day song for my many day road trips to the state parks.
For What It’s Worth by Stevie Nicks
This is another song I have lived. This is for my first New York girlfriend. Thank you for breaking the geography barrier for me and for teaching me that I am who I am no matter where I am and that is completely okay. “I got to sing, I got to dance, I got to be a part of a great romance, still forbidden, still outrageous …”
Drumming Song by Florence & the Machine
This was for when I reclaimed my childhood by taking drum lessons. This song healed my heart when Kip died. This song healed my heart when Kitty died. I have cried to this song. I have made love to this song. I fell down the stairs (due to my disability) when this song was playing. I danced around the living room (with wine) to this song. It was hard to pick which Flo song to put on this list, but it had to be this one. This song has seen me through good and bad. “Sweeter than Heaven and hotter than Hell”
The Ones That Like Me by Brantley Gilbert
Pretty much. You would not believe how many people have called me a bitch to my face. So whether you’re here to toast me in respect or spit on my grave, this is for you. “The ones that need me, got me. The ones that doubt me can’t stop me.”
Cheers (Drink to that) by Rihanna
This is the song that I play when driving north for my annual ADK camping trip. It reminds me of the little outside bar in the middle of the woods that you could only get to by hiking.
Snow on the Beach by Taylor Swift
Many of my best memories come from the beach in winter. Whether it was surfing the waves or just watching a storm come in, I loved being on the oceans and the lakes. I always joke that Taylor should come to the rainbow side and would be my future ex-wife. Her best albums are Lover and Midnights. So I had to include a T.Swift song. This one just brings back wonderful memories of the cottage on Cayuga Lake and the Kennedy Compound on Cape Cod.
Pocketful of Miracles by Frank Sinatra
This was my theme song for the brief moments in time when I received respite from my disability. It’s how I think about life and I was so happy to be alive and be able to do what I wanted to do.
Love & Affection by Def Leppard
Def Leppard is my most favorite band of all time. I fell in love with them at 8 years old. I saw them in concert twice. It was so hard to choose, when I love 99% of the songs they’ve ever done. But this one rings true for me and has since I was a child.
I love Dolly. It was hard choosing one of her songs. This is the song that inspired my baby name. Jolene was auburn and white. This is one of the most misunderstood songs in music history. To truly get why this song has spoke to my soul, you need to listen to a podcast called “Dolly Parton’s America” from WNYC Studios (2019) episode 6: “The Only One for Me, Jolene.”
Roll with the Changes by REO Speedwagon
The very first time I went to Boston was in high school back in the 90s for Harvard Model Congress. I had flown up from Virginia and was rooming with this chick who completely blew my mind from Chicago. We listened to REO on vinyl and shared strawberry shortcake at Hard Rock. Of all REO songs, this one exemplifies my life. “If you’re tired of the same old story, turn some pages.”
Everything About it is a Love Song by Paul Simon
For my son, Simon. Simon’s name came from many places. It came from Paul Simon, Simon as the character in The Saint, so we had the physics connection with the other kids, and also the Chipmunks. Although, sometimes with his mischief, I would joke he should have been named Alvin. Simon is one of the five most important loves of my life.
Love Me Like Music (I’ll Be Your Song) by Heart
This is another song I have lived. This is for my Kennedy Compound secret that we kept for over 20 years. You made me crawl through the window because I would not commit. Yet, my surfboard lived in the garage when I returned from Cali. In memory of days in P-town, nights in Truro and endless sand. All I can say is “thank you.” I left a part of my heart on Kalmus Beach and in at least one part of heaven, I’ll be riding the waves there once again. You were the harmony to my melody.
Burnin’ It Down by Jason Aldean
This reminds me of the person who held my heart in their hands since we were 8 years old. Thank you for giving me some of my best and most memorable birthdays in my 30s. You chose cocaine over me. I’m not judging, I’m not sad, I’m not mad. I was still here for you until I took my last breath. I hope you know that.
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones
This is for the person who not only provided me safe harbor in the storm, but also gave me the strength to stand on my own two feet on the shore without getting pummeled by waves. You taught me to surf. You taught me about wine. You gave me freedom, light and love. Then, you moved on, and it was okay. Thank you for changing my life and giving me the skills I needed to readjust my sails. I listened to this song every Cranberry morning after I met you. You showed me the beauty of lake and ocean in winter.
Drive In Drive Out by Dave Matthews Band
This song describes what I went through going back and forth between Massachusetts and New York for decades. Every time I crossed the border back into New York, it broke my heart. I was crying so hard, it’s a wonder I did not get ticketed more than what I did.
This was my running theme song for the first half of my running career. I had claimed it before it became popular with the rest of the running community. I grew up in poverty. I know exatly what this song was talking about. Running was my one chance in life to be great.
Remember The Name by Fort Minor
This was my running theme song for the second half of my running career. It outlines exactly what it takes to run a marathon. When your body gives out, you run with your heart.
This song reminds me of growing up, but especially, high school. I’ve always believed this to be true, even in the times when I felt I had nothing more to give. “It ain’t the life you choose, but the life you live.”
Settling Down by Miranda Lambert
This song describes the existential crisis I experienced my entire life from the moment I could think. I have always oscillated between happiness being found on the highway or parked in the driveway.
Forty Hour Week for a livin’ by Alabama
This song reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of my grandfather working his farm and teaching me that the most important thing in life is to work hard to provide for your family. You have to work hard so you can love. I spent 25 years working 60-80 hour weeks trying to make ends meet before my disability made me slow down to 40 hours a week. I would not have made it if not for the lessons my grandfather taught me.
This is what I am giving you. A three inch stack of vinyl with songs in the key of my life. I loved vinyl.
The point 2 (Christmas)
Little Drummer Boy by Jars of Clay
This is my favorite Christmas song by my favorite Christian rock band. I love the bass on it. The drums on this song is how the little drummer boy is supposed to sound.
Old City Bar by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
This song reminds me of Cheers. Beyond that, listen to the lyrics and take it with you.