I’m first to admit that I’m “culturally shell-shocked.” At times, I’m thankful for that; like when they release an “Expendables” movie and I’m able to enjoy it much as a bewildered bystander enjoys marveling at a kangaroo at the zoo, instead of feeling some artificial sense of patriotic unity or attachment to the horror before me. Other times, it alienates me from my would-be peers, and in those times there is little I can do but strive to understand those around me and try to help them understand me.

But then there are times–especially in the last year or so–where I find myself unnaturally at odds with a roomful of people. I have one view, everybody else has the opposite view, and I find myself having to stand up for a totally conventional belief.

The other day I went out to lunch with two coworkers. I was driving, and happened to have Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy on the CD player. I will grant that it’s not the most timely album in my rotation, but in a way, it’s kind of timeless. Widely respected as one of the best records released by one of the most influential bands of our time, it went platinum five times, remains on Rolling Stone’s 500 Albums of All Time list (updated this year, no less), spawned some of the band’s most experimental moments as well as some of their greatest hits, including Grammy-winning “Spin the Black Circle,” and  “Better Man,” which spent eight straight weeks in the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100. Heh, I did a little research.

Continue reading “All Right, I’m Pretty Sure it’s Not Just Me”