Quality or Quantity

Quality or QuantityIn recent weeks in my house, music has become a regular topic of conversation.  I’m going to go on a music tangent for a few posts.  So what better place to start than my “favorite” song.  I use the quotations because much like a teenage girl having five different “best” friends, I am unable to etch the title in stone with complete certainty in all situations.  Despite my uncertainty, I will take this opportunity to speak on its behalf.

“Quality or Quantity” by Bad Religion is a one minute and thirty four second barrage of aggressive guitars and drums only to be paralleled by the thought provoking lyrics that are sung over them.  As a young man, I was drawn to the group and their songs because their rebellious nature matched my own.  Songs like “Do what you want” were irreverent enough to align with the feelings of a teenage boy searching for his place.  The surprising thing is not that Q or Q became my favorite song but that it has stayed in that position for so long.

The reason for its longevity is the fact that it sparks a new thought in my present situation each time that I hear it.  As it has been said by many others, “you can never step in the same river twice because each time, the water is different and you are different.”  In the 1990’s Q or Q was an angry rally against the materialism of the world.  It made me think long and hard about the perception of the US to the rest of the world.  At the time I also thought there was an answer.  Obviously quality was the more desirable of the two in all situations.  Leave it to a young man to think he knows everything.

Now as an older and hopefully wiser man, the song hits me in very different ways.  The answer is not so simple and I’m not as angry.  There truly is a choice to be made between quality and quantity in each day.  Circumstances are rarely such that we can choose highest quality in every single moment.  The choices that we make on a moment to moment basis add up to a sum total of our life experience.  The choices are almost infinite and that particular quantity puts a huge responsibility on each individual.  We must be filters of our own experience.  Being deliberate in the way that we spend our time and emotion is essential to finding balance.

I’m not sure how it fits but I am now less concerned about finding the answers.  Now I revel more in finding myself in the search.

Enjoy the search today.




Tattoo Yourself

Burning boyI don’t have any tattoos anywhere on my body.  However I know exactly what I would get if I were to ever change my mind.  Since I was a teenager “the burning boy” is an image that I had set as my tattoo of choice.  It is from the album cover of one of my favorite bands, Bad Religion.  I would remove the “crossbuster” logo from the back of his shirt.

The reason that the burning boy resonates with me is that it represents a feeling that I always want to have.  It’s not the searing pain but rather the idea of being “on fire” with passion.  The things that I have been on fire about have changed throughout the years.  In high school it was soccer and girls.  In college it was soccer and travel.  In my adult life it has been soccer, my family and helping people.

So if I’ve known for years what tattoo I would get, why have I not gone through with it?  There are many people walking around with tattoos that did not put 20 years of thought into the “ink”.  There are two reasons that I have never gone to get this tattoo done.

The first is that I don’t want my wife to have to look at it.  I’m sure that I’ll get some comments about being whipped or something like that.  However I respect my wife very much and the ways that my decisions have an effect on her life.  I don’t have to look at myself very often.  She does, so I know it is something that would not improve me for her.

The second is even more important.  I’m already wearing it.  The reason I don’t need the ink on my skin is because it goes even deeper.  It penetrates into my bones and goes down into my heart.  Inside there is a burning boy that people see every day.  Perhaps people see a slightly different representation when they see me but the basic idea should be the same.  I want people to see the tattoo that I have put on myself.  Rather than paying an artist to put a skin deep impression on me to have people know who I am.  I need to show people through my actions and attitudes who I am.  I’ve tattooed myself as we all do.  Although the Chinese character that you’ve put on your arm may say “peace” or “serenity”, it’s not worth the price of the ink if that’s not the message you put into the world through your actions.

So tattoo yourself.  Put the ink of your daily actions out into the world for everyone to see.

Keep being you people!