Music Throwback Saturday: The Trouble with Normal

Person in the street shrugs — “Security comes first”
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

quote-the-trouble-with-normal-is-it-only-gets-worse-bruce-cockburn-73-7-0789In celebration of the 71st birthday of Bruce Cockburn (pronounced CO-burn) on May 25, I played the one compilation CD of his that I own. To call it a “greatest hits” would be stretching it, since he was not a commercial engine, though a well-regarded singer/songwriter, often covered, who’s been recording at least since 1970.

I DO have three of his LPs, his 9th through 11th, on vinyl, as it turns out, probably a function of hearing the songs on WQBK-FM, Q104 in Albany in the period. Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws (1978) features his one bona fide US hit, Wondering Where the Lions Are, which got up to #21 on the Billboard charts. I did not know this Continue reading “Music Throwback Saturday: The Trouble with Normal”

N is for Normal

My biology/homeroom teacher told me straight out that my father was “CRAZY” for leaving his job at IBM.

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, it was NORMAL for the mom to be home with the kids. My family wasn’t normal. My mother worked outside the home for as long as I can remember until she retired a decade and a half ago.

First, she was in the bookkeeping department at McLean’s department store in downtown Binghamton. Then she moved less than a block to Columbia Gas, where she was reportedly the first black person to work as a customer service rep. When she moved to Charlotte, NC, she was a bank teller for First Union bank.

No one has ever suggested that my father was anything like “normal.” In fact, my biology/homeroom teacher told me straight out that my father was “CRAZY” for leaving his job at IBM of six years (that he hated), especially for a position with Opportunities for Broome, an OEO government job (where he thought he was making a difference). Government jobs come and go, but once you’re in the IBM family, you were set for life. (IBM decided it actually DID start having to lay off people in the 1990s.)

So, normalcy isn’t always that appealing. It’s been used as a cudgel to block all sorts of individual and collective rights.

Conversely, I AM sympathetic, as I watch the trauma over the worldwide economic crisis when I hear people ask, “When will things get back to NORMAL?” Likewise, the “crazy” weather generates a similar response. People are desperately looking for a sense of stability/sanity.

I have to wonder if “normal” is coming, or, as I suspect, we’ve come to a “new normal” of stormy weather, fiscally and meteorologically.

As Bruce Cockburn sang: The trouble with normal is it always gets worseLISTEN.

Maybe Normal is just a town in Illinois.

ABC Wednesday – Round 9

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