Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

10May/090

Pac-Mania

I dug this lengthy blast of lower-cased brain food from Joshua Jesty, and felt compelled to share it here with all of you very fine vinyl citizens. Here's hoping that you enjoy it, as much as I did. Don't forget to read my previous Jesty-related dispatch regarding Girl, the new forthcoming Jesty musical mixdown that will be supported with full band shows that are sure to be brilliant. And if they're not, I promise to punch Jesty in the face, video the whole thing, and put it on Youtube.

pacman.jpg

Pac-Mania
by Joshua Jesty

it's a simple enough game. You are pac man, the pellet eating circle. There are ghosts. Maybe they're your inner demons attempting to get you to stop binge eating pellets, maybe they're ancestors of pellets, maybe this is how other planets actually function. The point is, we all know the game. You eat the pellets, you sometimes eat the ghosts, and most of the time the ghosts eat you.

I'm playing this game and it's getting harder and harder. First you have 4 ghosts after you and you have the advantage of jumping over them. Then you have 6 ghosts over you and the power pellets that make you invincible don't work as long as they used to. Then all of the sudden there's 7 ghosts after you and some of them jump just like you, so your jumping power becomes mostly worthless and by now the power pellets are completely worthless.

Video games get to me at this point because I start to make them represent something bigger. In the face of complete adversity and unspeakable odds I know I can beat this game, and if I can't stick to my guns for an extra hour or two to beat a simple pac man game, then how can I stick to my guns long enough to succeed or find my definition of success in this music industry that is more or less just ghosts flying around preventing anyone from enjoying little pellets of music and god forbid get eaten as a result of big pellets.

the last level comes up. There are now 8 ghosts, 2 of them jump high and another 1 of jumps even higher. The board is significantly bigger and the power pellets are meaningless at this point in time. Half of the regular pellets are camped out by the place where the ghosts originate from. The 8 ghosts all go faster then pac man. This is going to be very difficult.

several hours go by, one strategy after another is implemented. I get these huge bouts of confidence with each new approach and then quickly fall back into a world fill with curse words and shame with every loss.

I start to see a pattern that works better than others. I try it once, not to bad, I try it twice, horrible, but the third and the forth time seem to really show promise. then the fifth time (this is actually the 189th attempt overall by myself) the pellets are all consumed, victory is mine.

the screen flashes, I jump to my feet. They play a little movie after the level that says "good job, but the show must go on" and then, without anymore fan fare, the game starts over, I am back at level 1, instead of 4 slow moving ghosts there are 6 fast moving ghosts, and the power pellets are as useless as they were in the last level.

this happens in life way to much. We have what feel like incredible victories only to be hit with the sudden and often painful reality that things keep moving on and in many cases they only get harder. One of my first musical let downs in life was when I played my high schools talent show as a freshmen. The band I was in played "Spirit of Radio" by Rush and the whole place went nuts, not because our school was into Rush but because we were playing guitars that was awesome enough. After the show I was given the respect of my peers, and showered in praise for the night. I went to bed feeling like a rock god. There was no way you could wash that feeling out of me, and it would be one I have continued to pursue as the natural high of performing music is still something that takes me away to this day. However, the next morning was simply waking up and going to work as a dishwasher, making minimum wage and smelling like bacon grease. It was a complete let down in many ways.

I obviously didn't find the fulfillment in winning the pac man game that I hoped to find. While I've found fulfillment in the music I write and perform the fulfillment doesn't last, and thats what keeps me going in music, is that I have to constantly challenge myself and continue to grow and make music that still inspires and challenges and entertains myself and then hope against hope that someone or some others out there will find it just as appealing. It's a huge puzzle that I can't seem to figure out, but I'm so determined to give it my best.

Still something to take away from this Pac Man experience is this. It's worth it to challenge yourself and reach for those seemingly unattainable odds, but you won't get the high you're looking for, at least not the long term high you're looking for. The long term highs that you need to keep around you are your friends and family and those who love you. Since we're all going to be jobless and broke soon I hope we can all keep this in mind. We've got each other, and that's more then enough. So when you're out there reach for the stars, don't forget to blow a kiss to the person or people who are holding the ladder.