#865: “So I would let it slide…slide like mercury”

GETTING MORE TALE #865: “So I would let it slide…slide like mercury”

In mid-’94, my girlfriend of three months dumped me for the other guy. She was my first breakup. The good news is that eventually they got married and are still together today. I tended to do that to people. When they broke up with me, the next guy is the keeper.

I was young, stupid and immature. We all were. I didn’t know how to deal with this rejection. It hurt like nothing ever hurt before. I had a magazine featuring an interview with Henry Rollins. One of his best quotes in there was about getting dumped and the pain it caused. I couldn’t believe that this big tough guy could be hurt the same as me. What Henry didn’t say in this interview was just how to overcome the pain.

I grabbed a beer out of the fridge and decided that this was the moment I was going to try drinking. I sat there and stared at the bottle, beads of condensation rolling down the label. I looked at it a long time, and put it back in the fridge. I couldn’t stand the taste of beer.

The first song that hit me in the days after the dumping was “Love Song” by Tesla. It was a brand new experience for me: my first breakup song. It was like hearing it for the first time. The impact was all new. I hit repeat and sang that song again and again. The next song that I remember having an impact came later.  It was a brand new one:  “Descending” by the Black Crowes, taken from their latest amorica.

Released November 1 1994, amorica was the third Crowes disc, and the first during my long tenure at the store. It didn’t take off like other new releases had that season. I gave it a lot of store play. I liked it better than Southern Harmony, though that is a minority opinion. When it clearly wasn’t selling as well as expected, the Boss commented, “Because it’s the same. It’s just the same.” He levelled that judgement at a few new releases that year. They were too similar to the preceding albums. Similar or not, amorica was starting to grow on me.

It came two months after the Great Dumping of ’94, but the wounds were still raw. And evolving. A few friends said, “You have to win her back,” and so I tried mightily. Her brother had become a close friend, which really pissed her off. She was even more enraged when she found out that I was trying to get her back all this time, and the fuel on that fire was the fact that a few of our friends were trying to help me without her knowledge. Yep, an ever changing landscape of scars being ripped open. That was my 1994. “Descending” slipped into my life in the middle of that storm.

The song is calming. Whatever Chris Robinson was actually singing about, I applied the lyrics to my own life.

Have mercy baby,
I’m descending again.
Open your eyes,
This time it’s sink or it’s swim.

I tried not to go out of my way to hurt her, but she and her new boyfriend didn’t have the same rules where I was concerned. To me he seemed to really relish pushing their relationship in my face. I offered an olive branch once — I offered to drive him home when he was stranded out of town at her place. But temporary truces were strictly temporary. So I would put on “Descending” again, or one of the other albums that really impacted me during that period. Balls to Picasso by Bruce Dickinson, Promised Land by Queensryche, and Handful of Rain by Savatage.

None of the songs I was seeking solace in really had lyrics relating to my situation, but I interpreted them as such. One lyric from “Descending” that struck me was the line “But I would let it slide, slide like mercury.” I felt like any time they tried to hurt me, I would just let it slide. Slide like mercury. “All silver, and quick baby, poisonous and deadly.”

I loved the way the pedal steel guitar slides crazily on the fretboard at that exact moment in the song, sounding exactly how mercury skitters about.

We didn’t have the internet but we were all on local “BBS’s” — Bulletin Board Systems. You could put a tagline under your name. I usually had a lyric. “I would let it slide, slide like mercury,” was one of my favourites. It was me saying, “You can’t hurt me.” It wasn’t true, but I wanted them to think that. At one point, he changed his tagline to something like “Stop it with the stupid mercury!” They really hated when I went around quoting lyrics. I know because they said so. Of course that meant I had to keep doing it.

A peace was eventually brokered, and everything was put in the past. Everything that is not forgotten is certainly forgiven. The memories don’t bring pain with them, more a startling realisation. I look back and see a stupid kid who really didn’t know any better. I thought life was like a song. If the girl dumps you, you win her back. That’s what the bands always told us. Not the Crowes though. These messages were foggier. It’s in that misty misunderstanding that you can make the songs your own. “Descending” is just another one of “my” songs.

 

Have mercy baby,
I’m descending again,
Open your eyes,
This time it’s sink or it’s swim.

No sermons on ascending,
No verdict on deceit,
No selfish memorandum,
No confusion for me.

Curses, curses and clues,
A feast for fools.

Have mercy baby,
And hand me downs,
It was just a few years ago,
You’d hand me ups and a map,
Right out of town.

But I would let it slide,
Like mercury,
Silver and quick,
Poisonous and deadly,
So deadly.

49 comments

  1. Yes, being young and naive and thinking that relationships are like a movie or a song because you know no better. Melodrama, winning folks back through trying. Been there, but life kicks your ass in the right direction really fast, and by golly, does it hurt.

    “I couldn’t stand the taste of beer.”

    Now that on the other hand, I cannot relate to at all, as Harrison can probably attest. Haha. I may put one back in the fridge if I’ve had 9 or 10 before the one in question and don’t want to regret it the next morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beer is so trendy these days, craft beers, smalls batches…it all tastes like shit. I don’t get it. Yeah OK give me a beer with a hint of charcoal, that’ll make it taste even better?

      Like

  2. A similar experience means I can never listen to the Quireboys ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ … possibly why I still don’t own the (excellent) LP.

    I just took that line from the Crowes ‘I know you’ve got another man, but I can love you better than him’, as my mantra; which I’m willing to bet was totally inaccurate anyway!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As someone who has felt a tremendous amount of depressed pain, loneliness, confusion, and feelings of worthlessness over the years, I can vouch that there’s no pain as deep or aching as heartbreak/rejection. Othet stuff may be more immediate, but nothing puts you so far down into the abyss like the scorn of a woman. It does make you tougher I suppose, more hard and less open about your feelings and love. Puts things into perspective when the gatekeepers of reproduction tell you they don’t think your genes should survive another generation.

      Oddly enough though the lowest points in my life were never because of a heartbreak. It’s never made me want to give up on life like other things have. Not knowing what to do with my life in college made me want to jump off a skyscraper more than any woman ever did. That feeling of total directionless was (almost) killer, especially since I had no one to talk to at all.

      Have a nice day!

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      1. Strange, I can relate to that feeling of lack of direction. I’m there now. Feel like letting go at times and at times feeling giddy when realizing I’m not part taking in the merry go round. What helped u?

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        1. I’m definitely not the person to consult for life tips. I still don’t feel like I have any real purpose. If I had to say something I’d say seize life instead of watching it happen. What’s the worst that can happen? You get to a point where you’re so desperate and depressed that you can do anything because you just don’t care anymore. That’s liberating in a way.

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        2. No such thing here. Technically you can get a medical card for it, but then you can’t buy a firearm or get a job.

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    1. Yeah and you know what else is weird? How sometimes you get nostalgic for the sad songs. Because I guess those sad times are so familiar, so enveloping, that they eventually become a part of your overall gestalt.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. here’s part one

      sounds amazing!!!
      the rest are coming up:
      November 6th – Europe exclusive session 3 – 7:00 pm UK / 8:00 pm Central Europe
      November 13th – Europe exclusive session 4 – 7:00 pm UK / 8:00 pm Central Europe
      November 20th – Europe exclusive session 5 – 7:00 pm UK / 8:00 pm Central Europe
      November 27th – The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary show 2016, captured at London’s

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a similar process but it happens to me the not the girl, far as I know. Here’s the cycle…break up with long time gf>get involved with the wrong person and have a heart wrenching split>immediately find the next relationship. Luckily I think this last one has stuck. ;)

    Like

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