Freaking out (very, very badly) with Steely Dan

This is the place where you can vent whatever's on your mind. Feel free to go off on extended rants or brief blurbs about whatever's rocking your world.

Moderators: D. Phillips, Jake

Post Reply
Jake
GLONO Team Member
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Michigan

Freaking out (very, very badly) with Steely Dan

Post by Jake » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:25 pm

This post from a year ago reminded me of another related story.

So we were flipping through album covers, and I came across Steely Dan's The Royal Scam.

Image

It's a pretty heavy album cover. And I started freaking out. I had graduated from college, was living at home, working a crappy, nowhere job, and I was getting married in a few months. The album cover reminded me of all of the terrible responsibilities of growing up, and how corporate America is set up to destroy your dreams and keep you subservient. It's SCARY. There's that dude, he's wearing a suit, but he's sleeping on a bench. He's not a bum, right? Because he's wearing a suit. He works downtown there in a corporate job. But he's beat down. And he has a hole worn in his shoe.

The hole in his shoe represented everything to me about the future. It's like even if you work hard, do the right thing, get a job, work hard, etc., you still just get beat down and worn out. The whole idea of working just wears you out.

He has a hole worn in his shoe! This fact was blowing my mind.

And then I flipped the album over and realized that the smart dudes in Steely Dan agreed with me. To emphasize this, the back of the album cover shows a detail of the front: a closeup of the shoe.

Image

I was freaking. Hard. I just couldn't believe that he had a hole worn in his shoe. That this was the future for all of us. This is how we all were going to end up. This is how America uses people up and spits them out. Out on the street, sleeping on a bench, with a hole in your shoe.

I tried telling Jeff how bad I was freaking out. How the world is a big, scary monster looking down on you, ready to attack. Ready to kill you and eat you. I showed him the back of the album cover to prove that Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were thinking the same thing I was.

He has a hole worn in his shoe!

Jeff took a look at the back of the album, took a deep drag off his cigarette, telepathically understood exactly what I was feeling, and then immediately diffused the increasingly tense situation. How? He took the album, and flipped it upside down.

Image

Look at it now. It's no longer a homeless office employee sleeping on the street. Now it's a dude with his feet propped up on his desk! It's going to be okay. Yeah, the future's going to be okay. Sure, I might have to work in an office someday, but I'll still be me. Just because I'll be working in an office doesn't mean I'll have to become an uptight fancypants asshole. In fact, I'll probably still have holes in my shoes! Who cares? My old shoes are fine... They're propped up on my desk! Everything's cool. I'm laid back. I'm still me. Just because I'm done with college and getting married and growing up doesn't mean I'm giving up my identity. I'm still me. It's going to be okay.

So yeah. I can't remember exactly what happened after that, but I know I felt a lot better. And although 15 years later I still occasionally struggle with issues of responsibility and identity, I can look back at my experience with The Royal Scam and know it's all going to work out fine.

D. Phillips
GLONO Team Member
Posts: 2893
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 7:00 pm

Post by D. Phillips » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:37 pm

My old shoes are fine... They're propped up on my desk! Everything's cool. I'm laid back.
So, you're kind of a chilled out entertainer...
Image

Barabajagal
GLONO Board Maniac
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2003 10:15 am
Location: Not quite close enough to say Chicago

Post by Barabajagal » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:29 pm

Great post!

I take it you didn't actually put the record on?

Jake
GLONO Team Member
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Michigan

Post by Jake » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:41 pm

No no no. There are other times for Steely Dan, and this was not one of those times...

DJMurphy
GLONO Board Maniac
Posts: 1990
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2002 12:21 am
Location: close enough to say Chicago

Post by DJMurphy » Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:27 pm

The album is one of their best (hell, they're all great in that first batch until 1980), and I guess I never saw as much in that cover as you did. Every picture tells a story, don't it?

I think this album cover is sublime, however.
Image

Jake
GLONO Team Member
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Michigan

Post by Jake » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:16 am

DJMurphy wrote:I guess I never saw as much in that cover as you did.
Lysergic acid diethylamide is a hell of a drug...

amighty
GLONO Board Kingpin
Posts: 552
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2003 6:08 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Post by amighty » Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:26 am

I'm gonna slice all your heads off with Al Jarreau LP's!!!!

creepy
GLONO Board Maniac
Posts: 1043
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2003 1:03 pm
Location: texas

Post by creepy » Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:43 pm

Hehe, I just re-watched Knocked Up too...

Donaldson
GLONO Board Playa
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:03 pm
Location: Andersonville, Chicago

Post by Donaldson » Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:43 am

Jake - Thank you for this post. Awesome. Thanks. Wow.

Post Reply