A Tribute to Mood Changes

Ithere were three since breakfast and it’s not even 11 o’clock yet

I reached the top (watching a cat peering into a puddle from my kitchen window), fell into the pit (impossibility of cosmic victory) and swayed in a momentary balance. And here you come again, my mood changes. Under the cobblestones, the beach. Banana peel under the glowing moment. Up, down, ding, dong, round and round and round… I think you might be wearing me out. But I will not reject you. No, I will not reject you. I live in America in the 2020s and composure – emotional stability – is neither attainable nor appropriate.

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Besides, it’s always been that way for you and me. ever since i saw Chariots of Fire. “You, Aubrey, are my most complete man,” Harold Abrahams, tenacious, agile Olympic sprinter, tells his friend Aubrey Montague. Harold is at the massage table, weighed down by a melancholy self-knowledge, massaging before his big race. “You are brave,” he said to Aubrey in a sad, horizontal voice. “Compassionate. Type. A satisfied man. This is your secret. Satisfaction! I’m 24 years old and I never knew that.”

Great scene. That’s how duality was ingrained in my young mind in 1981. In this world, you can be a Harold, grasping, yearning, tingling, and ever-changing moods – and you can be an Aubrey who has a chance at a gold medal. And I knew which one I was.

But always being a Harold all over your surface area? For what, mood shifters? Why did nature do this to us? I will tell you why. Because he has moods too. The light glides on that puddle-philosophical cat’s face, the puddle changes color, and if I fail today, I can be a giant tomorrow or in 10 minutes. We the rockers are faithful to the humor of reality. That beam of brightness, that burst of pleasure will reliably fade. And at the bottom of the great gloomy cloud, Joy’s little booster rockets are already firing.

So shake it, mood, shake it. Make us ring wildly between the high note and the low note. Because if we are exaggerated in our reactions, we are frugal in our stimuli. It really doesn’t take much to get us going. A wet leaf, a guitar solo, a happy look… We are lightweight; we are cheap dates.

Is it difficult to live together? Yes, probably. I mean, of course. But if you don’t like me right now, may I ask for your patience? I’m like a London bus. There will be another me in a minute.

This article January/February 2023 Printed edition entitled “Ode to Mood Swings”.

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