Sunday, May 24, 2015

Song #25: Strychnine (2015 52-Song Project)

This is one of the many songs I wrote in the wake of my longest relationship.

In 2008, I recorded an entire album of those songs, called Love Bites. And then I wrote an entire second album worth of songs. That album has not yet been recorded, but in my mind it is entitled "(un)Mutual Street".

This is one of the songs that will go on that album, if I ever record it.

The idea for this song comes from two true stories: the story of Lorena Gallo Bobbitt and a amazing true story that one of my dear friends told me about one of his university friends who was actually poisoned by his girlfriend. She put strychnine in his coffee after she found out from someone else that she was not his only lover. He almost died, but did not. He did not stop having multiple simultaneous lovers, but he did switch from a don't-ask-don't-tell policy to a full-disclosure policy. She sought professional help.

Combined with these ideas, this song explores the difference between using our angry feelings to create art and using them to inflict pain on another person. What this song is trying to say is that there is a big difference between wanting to kill or harm someone and actually doing it. And that creating art can provide the type of catharsis that enables us to resist the urge to harm another person.

Another theme explored in this song is the merit in deciding to leave a difficult situation.

This reminds me of one of my favourite stories. Years ago, I used to play squash at the St. Lawrence Community Recreation Centre. There was an after-school program there and one day, as I walked up to the counter to pay for my court time, I overheard the recreation worker at the desk and a pre-teen after-school participant talking:

Preteen: But she said–

Rec Worker: I don't care what she said. When–

Preteen: No, but she started it. She was–

Rec Worker: I don't care who started it. I know you know what you're supposed to do when something like that happens. I know you know that you are supposed to Remove Yourself From the Situation.

Preteen: But, she was–

Rec Worker: No. I know you know enough to Remove Yourself From the Situation, and you didn't.

Preteen: You don't understand.

Rec Worker: Yes, I do. It doesn't matter what she said or did. You hit her and that's why you are up here with me.

Remove Yourself From the Situation has been one of my mottoes ever since. When something is really getting my goat and making me angry, I know that I have to remember what that preteen was struggling to learn:

If you can't do or say something nice, get outta there.

P.S. I can't believe that in 25 songs, this is only the second one that I have felt I have to age-restrict because of inappropriate language. Who knew I had so many "PG13" songs?

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