Okay, entries have been a little thin this semester. Part of it's busyness, of course, but part of it is that I've been so much more enamored of others' words than my own. Lately, I've been encountering songs, poems, people, etc., that remind me of something either deep or superficial. This has always happened; it just seems more concentrated lately. On the superficial level, for example, a guy who looks just like my friend Andrew asked me for directions in front of MIT today. In the thick of my indexing project, I read the poem "Above the Oxbow" for probably the first time since I was thirteen and had no idea about the Summit House and the Connecticut River Valley, where the poem takes place - now those places are dear to me and already in the past.
I also keep coming across these phrases and songs that resonate with me on a very specific level. Sometimes it's in Sylvia Plath's journals; just before a birthday, for instance, she vows to herself to enter her second quarter-century in Boston and to live "to the hilt." (Here in Boston, I turn twenty-five soon.) Then there are the songs that have appeared on the radio and All Songs Considered, that I never heard before and made it onto my latest playlist: "Bottle Up and Explode!" by Elliott Smith, "Gray or Blue" by Jaymay, "To Be Alive and Alone" by Troubled Hubble.
The title of this post, however, comes from a line (which I think is correct; I consulted the resident expert) from a song to which I cannot stop listening: "Failsafe" by the New Pornographers. I realized I didn't really know what the word means, so (being me) I went to the OED, which describes it as a situation in which something "revert[s], in the event of failure or breakdown, to a condition involving no danger." Failure, basically, that is still failure, but causes a minimum of harm to all involved. It's an appropriate goal for me.
I don't know how to embed a sound file, and I couldn't find a video of the New Pornographers singing this song, but below is a version by the Choir Practice, which is the first version of the song I heard anyway.
I just have to say one more thing, because Clare said I should put it on the blog, and she's right. I just want to say that I am not making fun of the girl in the story; I just thought what she said was funny. Last week I was at the reference desk, and a student came in asking how to get to articles online. I asked her what databases she'd been using, and she said, "Someone told me a really good one was JSTOR." But she pronounced it "j'stor," like "je t'aime." It was, you know, the wrong emphasis on the wrong syllable. Which people like me find hilarious.
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