When I was younger, I loved Van Halen like all you cat people love your cats. They meant an awful lot to me. And like a good father, I didn't discriminate between the two iterations of the band. I loved David Lee Roth and I loved Sammy Hagar equally (that equanimity didn't extend to Gary Cherone. He was fine for Extreme, but not okay in Van Halen, but that's a different story altogether). When Roth left the band, I enjoyed a lot of his solo work. But, like all those old hair bands, Roth went away, and so did Van Halen. I forgot about them for years, as new and different music demanded my attention. It wasn't until a few years ago that I started looking back at some of the music I loved as a young man (now that I'm a freakin' old man).
Long preamble over. Just the other day, I went through and downloaded a couple of David Lee Roth's solo albums. I heard this song that I hadn't heard in a long time:
I liked the song when I was a kid, but I remember it bumming me the hell out even then. But now, years later, it bums me out tenfold. I know the song is supposed to be hopeful. It talks about the good old days, and then it talks about the present as being good days, and the final chorus says that in the future there will be good days. But for some reason, the only thing I get out of this song is the wistful looking back at days gone by. I've complained in the past about how old I feel, and how much I feel like a failure for not only never achieving my dreams, but also never really giving them the college try. And hearing this song brings down a weight of depression that I'm usually able to ignore and keep at arm's length.
The good old days that come to mind when I hear this song, probably because it was during those years that I originally heard the song, are my high school days. I know some people look at their high school days as anything but the good old days, but in my case, I had a lot of good friends that meant a lot to me back then. Things weren't perfect. I wasn't the especially popular. But those were good days, and I had a lot of fun. I haven't kept in touch with those guys, and we've all grown up and changed, so, even though Facebook makes all your old high school friends available to you again, trying to re-start our friendships just isn't happening. So those days are gone, and gone for good.
But they were good days, and looking back on them is sort of nice, if meloncholy, knowing that they'll never return. It's kind of like mourning a dead friend, because, despite the fact that they live on, they're not coming back.
Similarly, I look back fondly on my job that I had in Sacramento. I remember feeling almost complete hate for the job while I was there, but as soon as I was gone, I started wishing I had never left. Which brings me to my final point. Why is it that we can never recognize good times while we're having them? Maybe I speak presumptuously and this is not a problem that other people have, but I don't think so. If that were the case, then the phrase, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone," would not be one that everyone recognizes.
Like our podcast, the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, that Rish and I have been doing for almost three years now. We have a lot of fun with it. We've met a lot of great people by way of it. And we've made some great art (yeah, I said it) in that time as well. We've already recorded our final episode, even though the show is still going, and will go on indefinitely. We still know that it will come to an end. And then, a few years later, I'm sure Rish and I will look back and say, "Those were good times. Damn good times."
If only we could recognize that they ARE damn good times, maybe the show would never end. But you don't know what you've got till it's gone.