Semantic Existence

If you can play one of these, you might be a carbon-based lifeform. Then again, you might not.I had just begun leafing through the latest issue of Rolling Stone when Keith Richards' impish grin brought my cheerfulness to a grinding halt. Shock and amazement were quickly replaced with the usual mix of anger and resentment. Sure, Johnny Depp is in the photo, no doubt to keep Mr. Richards from slipping out of the frame just as the camera shutter opens, but that sort of thing has been going on since the dawn of drugs, alcohol, and highly amplified music. There's nothing noteworthy about that. What's remarkable is Keith Richards' very existence. How, I sobbed, is it possible that this man continues to live?

The answer, of course, lies in the realm of semantics. Over the years, you and I have been conditioned to make certain assumptions about what's alive and what isn't, but carbon-based lifeforms aren't the only ones who can play the guitar. As anyone with a symbiotic implant will tell you, the ability to speak doesn't automatically go hand in hand with musical talent, otherwise it wouldn't have been so impossible to transcribe Mr. Richards' speech, as the caption below the photo clearly indicates.

I'm not suggesting that Keith Richards is a sock puppet, even though Mr. Depp is rather obviously attempting to create that impression in the magazine photo that triggered my fretfulness in the first place. That possibility was discussedand dismissedduring a series of late-night discussions with Rotten Robert, whose presence at so many early Stones concerts lends a certain credibility to his analysis. I'm only suggesting we stop and think about what's possible, really, versus what we want to believe for the sake of semantics.

Tonight, as you stand on your roof gazing up at all those stars in the sky, ask yourself how many are really still there, and how many are merely tardy light arriving long after their sources have gone on to other venues. Then give Keith Richards a call. I'll bet he won't answer.


No comments:

Post a Comment