“If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what nice is.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“Ba ba da da
Ba ba da da
Ba ba da da
Ba ba da da
Ba ba da da”

“Take a look at my girlfriend
She’s the only one I got (ba ba da da)
Not much of a girlfriend
I never seem to get a lot (ba ba da da, ba ba da da)”

The above lyrics are from the band Gym Class Heroes song “Cupid’s chokehold” which samples heavily from Supertramp’s hit song “Take a look at my girlfriend.”

The song updates and, in my opinion, improves upon the original to describe one person’s quest for love and the signals he interprets to determine whether he may have found it. Signals such as…

“I mean she even cooks me pancakes
And Alka Seltzer when my tummy aches
If that ain’t love then I don’t know what love is”

O.k. it isn’t/ain’t Shakespeare, but it is a fun song that reminds you of the roller coaster ride of being young, bewildered, and uncommitted.

What made the experience of hearing these lyrics even more fun was the fact that our two teen-age boys and a group of their friends were spontaneously singing them and playing guitar to entertain each other and a couple of girls who were with them.

The setting was a get together/barbeque at a friend’s house after the boys’ band, Social Misfits, had participated in an outdoor concert in a nearby park with three other acts from our neighborhood. The boys were relaxing and having a good time together, alternatively yelling out songs to sing/play next and playing them.

It was one of those somewhat rare times that you look at your kids and think; they are going to be just fine. As opposed to the more frequent occurrences when you look at them and wonder if what you are doing is helping at all or alternatively have no idea what the right thing to do even is.

But this was a time to just sit back and enjoy. One of my favorite literary scenes is from Wendell Berry’s book Jayber Crow, where a group of musicians get in the habit of hanging out and playing with/for each other in the local barber shop at the end of the work day. This was a lot like I imagined that to be, only better because I didn’t have to imagine anything, I just got to soak it all in.

I know there will be many ups and downs in my kids lives, as there have been and will continue to be in mine, yours and everyone else’s; but at the same time the advice that Kurt Vonnegut passed on from his Uncle Alex in his book Man Without a Country comes to mind…”I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'”

Well… If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

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