I took a nice long run this past weekend. All of my runs, no matter the length, come loaded with thoughts, old and new, that the run itself is supposed to clear my head of. I consider myself blessed to have a brain that delivers hundreds upon hundreds of thoughts every hour in each day, but I don’t always want to be formulating, creating, supposing, wondering, and deconstructing potential outcomes of scenarios–and I certainly don’t want to pound the pavement dwelling on possible deadly conclusions of the very runs I am using as an escape from that type of thinking in the first place.
One semi-successful method to defer my madness until later is to crank up the iPod shuffle, and let Steve Jobs’ magical postage-stamp-sized wizardry fill the space in between these ears with the not-so-docile tones of Queens of The Stone Age, Marilyn Manson, Ten Kens, J.A.C.K, and even my own band, The Future. I like my rock ‘n’ roll loud, I always have–but given my belief that someone might be coming up on me to strike me down at any moment, I will admit I keep the volume just a touch under the level that would prevent me from hearing the footsteps of my would-be assailant in just the nick of time to spin around and pretend I know some urban form of martial arts.
Since the majority of my iTunes library is still holed up in a storage facility on Ben White Blvd. somewhere in East Austin, I’ve little to load my Shuffle with–and so one weekend last fall, I plundered my wife’s machine for tracks that I thought might be up to the task of distracting my sickness for the roughly thirty minutes I spend trying to not think four mornings a week. During my run this past weekend, just as I was entering the home stretch, Madonna’s Justify My Love showed up. I knew it was on there, but I rarely use the shuffle mode, and so it hadn’t made an appearance in quite some time. Do I hate the track? No. It’s a touch dated to be sure, but in general I find it agreeable.
As it played, I pushed my pace up a notch, which is typical of me over the final quarter mile of my every-other-daily reprieve. I’m in decent enough shape, but it doesn’t change the fact that anytime I push my speed, I think about having a heart attack, or even tripping just the right way to fall on my face and experience some nearly impossible spinal-snap. And so this time, I wondered internally, “Is Justify My Love really the song I’d want playing in my earbuds when and if a good samaritan came along to unsuccessfully try and bring back from the other world? Would that be the last thing spoken about me for however many years people chose to remember me? Peter Rosch? Oh yeah, I remember that guy–good guy, really loved Madonna–was keen on songs that weren’t really good, not even songs really, which was odd since he was a musician. I heard they looked a little deeper into his iPod and also found Ex-Girlfriend by No Doubt. Who knew?”
I might spend the necessary buck to download Van Halen’s Running With The Devil later today, and just loop that track while I run from here on out. Then, at the very least, should I reach my final destination on some future run, people will speculatively remember me as some dude whose musical tastes hadn’t matured past puberty. I can die with that.