This article belongs to Necessary Roughness column.
Rod Stewart once claimed that, "the first cut is the deepest." Well, I completely disagree with Rod. However, I couldn't remove those lyrics from my head during the dreary days of mid-March.
I have a feeling that Julius Caesar, looking down on us during that same time period, probably disagreed as well. And who knows, maybe he faced the same trapped-lyrics predicament that I did throughout March's "Ides." If the ghost of Jules did, in fact, disagree, it probably had something to do with that fact that it was not the "first" cut, but one of the last and "most unkindest" wounds that led to his death. Caesar was stabbed no less than 23 times, but it was not until the later end of these 23 lacerations that the "deepest" was delivered. So J-Caez probably considers that catchy, hit song to be partially, if not completely, full of shit.
Now, I have no idea if Rod Stewart, Cat Stevens, or Sheryl Crow either read Shakespeare or watch HBO. However, if any of the previously mentioned artists that recorded this "first cut" track actually believe that the first cut is, in fact, the deepest, then they have not experienced multiple "wounds." Let me explain. Sooner or later, our asses get dumped by someone who we think we adore. It sucks. However, we move on, and eventually, in a Swingers sort of way, forget about the individuals who told us that, "it's not you, it's me." Time goes by. Maybe we learn guitar. Or perhaps we frequent the local YMCA. Regardless, we get off of our sorry asses and forget about that "first cut."
But the minute that we, the dumpees, forget about the heartless dumpers is the very minute that those who let us go begin to realize that they might possibly regret it. Then, we get "the call." They have been thinking about us. Now, regardless of whether these purely hypothetical singles get back together or not is irrelevant. What is relevant, however, is that getting hurt once is not a big deal. It happens. It is a healthy and necessary part of human existence. It is the fourth, fifth, and sixth time that a significant other hurts us that makes one question the sanity of the opposite sex.
Food, liquor, and a CD featuring the song "Love Hurts" cannot convince you that you feel any better. And it is that sixth time you hear, "We need to talk," that makes you feel like you swallowed a gallon of Pennzoil. Well, while all of this dramatic bullshit is taking place, a soundtrack is being created. This happens because we watch a shit-load of films and believe that every time couples have that "talk," a bearded, raspy-voiced twenty-something picks up an acoustic guitar and sings whiney lyrics to add significance to a slightly insignificant moment. So, as a result of music's role in film and television, even the most random memories of life are recalled through a personal soundtrack.
There is, however, a catch. Films influence our song selections. So the soundtracks of our lives are sort of personal, but not really. Example: this one random evening I had drinks with a friend of the daughter of a friend of my mother's. As Peter Gabriel's "Salisbury Hill" was playing, I glanced up to watch this rather attractive girl I met up with pour a shot behind the bar. She was quite charming. Unaware that I was looking at her, she laughed as she chatted with a few of the waitresses. It was at that point that I saved that image into my long-term memory: a great song to accompany a rather decent evening out. Now, it's not as though this evening was in any way significant (the chick was too tall) or even all that great. However, because Tom Cruise's character in Vanilla Sky listened to that fucking Peter Gabriel song on the evening he met the love of his life, Sophia, that same song immediately provides some sort of sentimental attachment to any moment that I hear it in a social setting. How bizarre, how bizarre.
Here's another example: In an '86 sort of way, U2's "With or Without You" has always been a great track. I say this despite an incident where a friend of mine once told me how that particular Bono song perfectly represented the way she felt about her significant other. It was my junior year of high school (possibly a Thursday) and we were sitting in chemistry class. This individual stopped what she was doing, mentioned U2, and looked at me. After shaking her head, she sighed and said, "It's like Kevin: I can't live with or without him." I wanted to say, "But you're still here?" I didn't though. I just ignored her and asked if she had the answer to number eight.
But here's the thing: if that conversation would have taken place during my senior year, my frustrated friend would have had to pick a different song to represent her predicament. You see, "Melissa" was avid watcher of Friends episodes. And in 1997, "With or Without You" was played on a Friends episode that featured one of many awkward Ross/Rachael scenes where one of the previously mentioned characters sees the other of the previously mentioned in the arms of "someone else." After that episode, "With or Without You" could no longer be listened to by Friends watchers in the same way. The song could not represent pain and misery. It would represent an overdramatic, "crucial" relationship moment.
Relax, all of you romantics, because this story has a happy ending. I eventually found the answer to number eight (it was Mercury!), and "Melissa" may or may not have figured out how to live with or without the individual who gave her that first cut. But I'm fairly certain that Caesar would be willing to bet all of the poker chips in his Palace that "Melissa's" first cut will not be the deepest. Remember: Stewart also sang, "if ya want I'll try to love again." Stick with those lyrics.
After all, the Ides of March have come and gone, and Caesar was sort of a dick.