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Neil Young and Jockey Shorts


The hundreds of CDs in the basement need to go. Somewhere. But not without being burned for eternity onto an external hard drive. I try not to discriminate, for one day I might actually be senile enough to admit that that’s my Color Me Badd CD, not the Wife’s, and want to listen to a little “I Wanna Sex You Up.” OK, well, the reason there are two Color Me Badd CDs is because one IS my Wife’s. But I swear on my cat’s life those are all her New Kids on the Block CDs.

Among the piles of plastic jewel cases, I actually did come across some real talented musician I haven’t listened to in almost a decade, one of whom is Neil Young, and in particular the CD Harvest Moon.

Harvest MoonNow, I am not a music critic. This is not an album critique of a work that was released over 15 years ago. All I want to say, briefly, is that Harvest Moon is one of my all-time favorite albums.


The summer before my senior year in high school, I went with a group of friends to an out-of-the-way lake cottage for a weekend. The house belonged to a fishing buddy of one my friend’s dad, and I’m don’t quite remember if this was an authorized occupancy of the place or not. Either way, there were six of us. And we had beer.
I was just thrilled to get away from home and parental supervision. At the time, I didn’t drink as often as the other guys, but that didn’t stop me, of course, and may be the reason I only remember a couple things about that weekend.

As most lake settings tend to be, it was relaxing and mellow there. The lake wasn’t big, but it was connected to larger lakes by a channel, and there was a pontoon docked at the pier in front of the house, with accessible keys. Perfect for drunk teenagers.

There were two CDs I remember hearing that weekend-I’m sure they weren’t the only two being played, but you know how memories are- certain things root themselves deeply while others are trashed and burned. Those two albums were Four by Blues Traveler and, yes, Harvest Moon. Blues Traveler wasn’t new to me, but I had never heard  Neil Young before, and playing quietly in the background, Harvest Moon provided an ideal, laid-back atmosphere for the weekend.

I had the worst night of non-sleep that night. Not only was I on the hard floor because all couches and beds were taken, I was scratching incessantly at mosquito bites.

The next morning, we piled onto the pontoon and went through the channel at the end of the lake to a bigger lake, and in the middle, threw out an anchor. Four of the guys stripped down to their boxer shorts and went swimming. I stayed on the boat because, well, I was wearing briefs, not boxers, and even though I was 17, I was still self-conscious as hell and wanted to fit in if nothing else. It wasn’t long after that I started wearing boxer shorts instead of briefs.

So, then, what I remember most about that Neil Young album is the weekend that influenced me to change my underwear.

Yeah, not even I saw that coming when I started writing this post.

I suppose sometimes our thinking doesn’t go in the straight line we intend it to, and you just have to let it flow.

Not letting things flow, to restrict ideas or events, words or creativity, from heading in the direction they are most naturally drawn to go – it can be suffocating at times. One can miss out on too much by not being open. I was always the one sitting in the corner, watching the action, watching the others having fun partly due to my own ridiculous inhibitions. I was a loner trying to fit into a crowd.

As I get older, though, the less I give a fuck about the crowd. And I’m back to wearing briefs more often than not, because I prefer to hold tight to the jewels, especially when I’m running.

See? No more inhibitions – I’m publicly discussing my balls.

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