Tuesday, December 27, 2016

25 Songs About Addiction and Recovery: WALKIN' ON THE SUN, Smashmouth

Walkin' On The Sun was the debut song from Smashmouth in the late 1990's, and it's popularity spanned the end of my active addiction and the beginning of my recovery. It quickly gained some notoriety for its acidic commentary about the commercialization of hippie culture, and that was a part of the song's message, to be sure. But just as prevalent was the idea that the relatively harmless drug activity of smoking pot ("toking' is mentioned more than once in the song) has also become commercialized--and dangerous.
This song, too, has its place in my recovery process. The closest I ever came to relapsing was in August 1999, with just over nine months clean. I am not going to tell the entire story, but I am still clean today for a couple of reasons. One is that all the meetings I had gone to up until that day kicked in, and even though I had already given money to someone to go cop for me, I still decided to give my sponsor a chance to talk me out of using before I actually picked up. I don't really recall anything specific he said in the twenty minutes I gave him, but as I left his house, I was now undecided about whether to keep the rendezvous with the person I had asked to go cop for me (she had used with me in the past, and there was no doubt that she was going to meet where she said to meet; she knew I dropped hundreds and even thousands of dollars during a run, and shared liberally. And she ended up coming in the rooms a couple of years later, and she told me she waited at Liliana's for a good hour waiting for me to come back before deciding to smoke it up). I turned on the radio, and this song was playing.
And I had heard this song fifty times if I had heard once before that afternoon, but I swear to God, I had never paid attention to the last two lines of the song. "Put away the crack before the crack puts you away/you need to be there when your baby is old enough to relate." I remember sitting at the stop sign, just staring at the radio, not believing what I had just heard, clear as day. I had just sent someone to buy me three bags of crack, nine months after I had been locked up for possession, and just over three months after being sentenced to three years' probation for it. But one of the many things that had gone wrong that day, one of my excuses for thinking I needed to get high that day, was that a visit with Sabrina, then still in foster care, had been cancelled that day. I had also been speaking to my caseworker--actually, Sabrina's caseworker-- the previous week, and she had indicated that although I was complying with the service plan, she still didn't think much of my chances to successfully raise Sabrina, and one reason she gave was that I took Sabrina, when I had her, to meetings with me. I remember raging against her ignorance and her prejudice-- and I would do the same today, because it is just as ignorant and prejudicial as it was then--and the worker sarcastically asking me, "Do you think she's going to relate to anything said there?" The comment stuck in my craw, and I have to tell you that she is two week short of her eighteenth birthday, she has gone to an awful lot of meetings over the years, and she must have related to something, because she doesn't use drugs of any kind, including alcohol, and is actually pretty intolerant of her peers that do.
Anyway, the point is that I never showed up at Liliana's, and thus my original clean date is still my only one. And this song has something to do with that.

It ain't no joke I'd like to buy the world a toke
And teach the world to sing in perfect harmony
And teach the world to snuff the fires and the liars
Hey I know it's just a song but it's spice for the recipe
This is a love attack I know it went out but it's back.
It's just like any fad it retracts before impact
And just like fashion it's a passion for the with it and hip
If you got the goods they'll come and buy it just to stay in the clique

[Chorus:]
So don't delay act now supplies are running out
Allow if you're still alive six to eight years to arrive
And if you follow there may be a tomorrow
But if the offer's shunned you might as well be walkin' on the sun

Twenty-five years ago they spoke out and they broke out
Of recession and oppression and together they toked
And they folked out with guitars around a bonfire
Just singin' and clappin' man what the hell happened
Then some were spellbound some were hellbound
Some they fell down and some got back up and
Fought back 'gainst the melt down
And their kids were hippie chicks all hypocrites
Because fashion is smashin' the true meaning of it

[Repeat Chorus]

It ain't no joke when a mama's handkerchief is soaked
With her tears because her baby's life has been revoked
The bond is broke up so choke up and focus on the close up
Mr. Wizard can't perform no godlike hocus-pocus
So don't sit back kick back and watch the world get bushwhacked
News at 10:00 your neighborhood is under attack
Put away the crack before the crack puts you away
You need to be there when your baby's old enough to relate

[Repeat Chorus]

You might as well be walkin' on the sun
You might as well be walkin' on the sun
You might as well be walkin' on the sun
You might as well be walkin' on the sun

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