Sunday, April 27, 2014

No. 39 – The Song Is Over

Performer: The Who
Songwriter: Pete Townshend
Original Release: Who’s Next
Year: 1971
Definitive Version: None.

Based on the title, this really should be my No. 1 song, shouldn’t it? It’s too bad there are 38 songs I happen to like better than The Song Is Over. Oh well.

I knew this song for a long time, of course, but I never got into it until I made my Lifehouse album, courtesy of Scott, in 2001. Then, it just clicked. The Song Is Over sounds like it should be the ending of something big—the perfect coda following the revolutionary climax of Won’t Get Fooled Again.

It’s no surprise that, as far as I know, The Who never tackled this one live—certainly not in their heyday. The Song Is Over is all subtlety, and The Who doesn’t do subtle on stage.

The song was over for me and Debbie on April 3, 2001. Until Laurie, I was with Debbie longer than anyone else. But whereas I can tell you in great detail—and did, as a matter of fact—about the actual breakup with Beth or Melanie, I don’t remember much about the day of the actual breakup with Debbie.

To a certain extent, I suppose, that has to do with the fact that it wasn’t a complete surprise. I certainly was given clear enough warning the previous November, when Debbie tried to break up with me the first time (good ol’ No. 783).

In fact, here’s something I’ve never told anyone before. For our Christmas tree in 2000, we had a scroll ornament where you’re supposed to write what you expect for the next year and then open the scroll the next Christmas to see what you predicted. I didn’t say, but I certainly thought, that we would be broken up by Christmas 2001. That, of course, was correct, but after the New Year, things had been better between us, or so I thought.

I remember some of that April day pretty well, probably because it took place on Opening Day. I took the day off work to watch baseball. I even wrote an entry on BBT’s forum that set the scene at home.

I took over the family room. I was on the floor with my new computer, still setting it up to a certain extent. I had the TV on ESPN, and I had a box of Upper Deck MVP cards ready to open. I remember being a little miffed that I didn’t get a card of the hot rookie, Ichiro Suzuki, figuring that that would cost me a pretty penny to pick up as a single if Topps somehow didn’t get him in its set.

Debbie had come home from France the day before. She was a bit miffed that I bought myself a new computer—particularly when I said I did it because I felt a bit sorry for myself being alone. That just re-emphasized that she really wanted me to go.

I might have mentioned this, but the France trip was a huge source of friction and possibly the final straw. I didn’t go, because Debbie set up the trip with a friend. If I went, one of us was going to be the third wheel. I thought I was doing the right thing by letting Debbie go on the trip with her friend. I was wrong.

When Debbie got home, however, I didn’t get the sense right away that anything was wrong. Debbie worked Opening Day while I stayed home to watch baseball. After she got home, the day was a blur.

I don’t remember when the breakup talk began, whether it was over dinner or at bed. I think the latter. I don’t remember what was said. I’m sure I probably was upset, but unlike with Beth and Melanie—and everyone else, really—I also had no place to go, which made it anticlimactic. This was my house, too. I didn’t even sleep in the guest room.

What I remember, however, was the aftermath. I had to get out of there and clear my head. I called Scott and told him what happened. He was stunned, even if I really wasn’t save for the timing. I said I needed to come down for the weekend. He readily offered the futon in his guest room / computer room.

I drove down Saturday, and he, Shani and I went to a wings place—not BW-3—whereupon I told them everything that happened, what was said, things I’ve since forgotten.

Ultimately, I think the reason I wasn’t as upset as maybe I should have been was that Debbie couched the breakup as … not final. If November had been the warning shot across my bow, this was the glancing blow, not meant to sink the entire enterprise. Oh … you were serious about that?

I didn’t sleep much that night. Although it was true that Debbie and I had grown apart somewhat over the previous 2 years—and I had a lot to do with that—I decided that I didn’t want it to end. OK, if she wanted me to change, I’ll do it. I didn’t fight hard enough to win back Beth or Melanie when that happened. I was going to do it right this time.

The next morning, Scott and Shani were surprised to see me up and about before they were. But I was energized. I thanked them for being my sounding board, but I was going to head home, I said. I was going to try to win Debbie back.

My plan was basically to beg for another chance and grovel as much as necessary to accomplish my goal. I stopped at a grocery store to buy flowers. All I had to do was wait for Debbie to get home from wherever she went that day (another detail forgotten), and I’d convince her to take me back.

(To be continued)

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