Sweet Disposition

Let’s all just take a moment to appreciate Pandora.  The radio station, first of all for the original inspiration of this late-night post.  Next, let us recognize the Pandora from Greek mythology.  Before you read on, listen to “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap, because it also plays a role in this post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-ENipUB8NI

Pandora was supposedly the first woman to grace earth, and was created by the ancient Greek gods (Zeus, Athena, etc.), and was given a gift from each to make her alluring to the man the gods were looking to get revenge against.  She was given a box* from said mortal man, which she was instructed to never open.  Of course, she was mortal and curious, so she opened it, unleashing all the evils into the world, leaving only hope in the box.  For a more in depth description of “Pandora’s Box,” here is the wikipedia link.  Yes, wikipedia.

*Technically, it wasn’t really a box…  It’s a mistranslation.  Pandora’s box was really more of a jar or vase.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora

If you did open the wiki link, you may have read in one of the middle paragraphs this:  “She opened the jar out of simple curiosity and not as a malicious act.”

Out of curiosity, and not as a malicious act.  Even though Pandora was warned to never open this box/jar, her curiosity got the best of her.  Did she stop and think of what the consequences were going to be?  Possibly.  Considering the outcome of the story, she obviously thought the prize she expected inside the box would outweigh the risk.  Here’s where that lovely song come in.

As I was listening to my AWOLNATION radio station, I came across “Sweet Disposition.”  It caught my attention because I had heard it before on a different radio station, and had haphazardly written the title and artist on a scrap of paper that was floating around on my desk.  I have paper scraps and notebook pages full of songs that struck me as particularly beautiful or funny or otherwise interesting.  But for whatever reason, I remembered this song.

I’m one of those people who listens to a song over and over again until I get sick of it.  And I decided to print out the lyrics and chords so I could play it on my guitar.  Tonight, as I was reading over the lyrics, I took them literally and was thinking they were written about a girl.  So I decided to look up what the artists had in mind when they were composing the song.  The explanation I found was short and sweet, but it brought the song into new light for me, and I had one of those moments where I was like, “How did I not see this?  What else could it have been?”

{Q: “So what’s the song really about?”

A:  “When we’re young, we act first and think later.  But as adults, we rationalize everything.  Basically, the song is about capturing the innocence of youth.”}  (http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=16806)

Wow.

Just wow.

How true is that?  Probably some of you are not convinced that the explanation was all that I said it would be.  “So what?  I got that from the start,”  says you.   Well good for you.  Really.  You’re much better at taking apart lyrics than I am.  I envy you.  But to me that was really really strong.

Pandora acted first and thought later, not stopping to rationalize, only recognizing the hopefully optimistic outcome, which really turned out to be quite the disaster.

As children, we do as we please, and we expect someone will clean up our messes.  Our innocence as little kids is as blinding as our blatant and unearned trust in the world, which we lose with our childhood innocence.

In our next stage of life as young people, we really just look to please ourselves, and do what we think will turn out well for ourselves.  Partying and drinking and doing drugs, having sex, all for image and reputation.  Because as teenagers and young adults, isn’t that all we have?  Our reputation is the one thing we have made for ourselves so far in our relatively short lives.  I don’t own the house I live in.  I didn’t buy the bed I sleep in.  Credit goes to my parents for those.  Most of the clothes I have were bought by my mom, to be perfectly honest.  So what do I have that is really truly and wholly MINE?  I have my image.  My personality.  I want to show other people ME, not what my parents have.  And in doing that, I’ve made mistakes and choices that I regret.  I’ve lost friends and totally screwed up relationships.

Sometimes we think that if we just go to that one party or if we become friends with that one popular girl or date that really hot guy, then we’ll have everything we need as teenagers.  We’re all set for high school and college, fuck the money that mom and dad paid for my education.  Who cares about being smart when you can look good?  Who cares about the future when you’re that one person that everyone wants to be right NOW?

But in our independency and rebellion, we realize that we have to clean up our own messes now that we’re ‘grown up.’

We sometimes throw ourselves into life with total reckless abandon, for just one moment of love, one laugh, or that one kiss, disregarding the consequences.

So when do we grow up?  When do we become adults and “rationalize everything?”  Maybe we’re stuck in Neverland forever with the Lost Boys, overlooking the effects of our choices; how they affect not only us, but those around us.

“Basically the song is about capturing the innocence of youth.”  In reality, what innocence is left in youth?  When we’ve lost our innocence, is that when we become rational adults?  “Won’t stop till it’s over.”  Until what, exactly, is over?  Childhood?  Innoncence?  Selfishness?  When do we know that ‘it’ is over and we’re grown up?  Who’s to say we ever really grow up?

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