My Happiness Receives A Daily Jolt of Somber

It seems as though I can no longer feel a full 24-hours of happiness. I have never been prone to a bleak attitude and am adept at showing “the tears of a clown” when in public for the want of making others happy by keeping any sadness I feel from them. But not as of a few years ago when my beloved workplace took a hairpin turn to the right throwing off everything and everyone into several tumultuous years that show little sign of self-correcting the negative flow of constant overwork.

Yesterday, I played the song “Yes, We Can Can” by Allen Toussaint demonstrating the 1973 version recorded by The Pointer Sisters in two of my audio classes, pointing out various sonic details in the song and how an audio engineer achieves these sort of things in the mix session. It kept me in a perky state all day as one class at 9a and another at 5:30p heard the great song, and I even sung it during the ride home after a 13-hour work day. “I know we can make it. I know that we can. I know darn well that we can work it out…” I had no idea until I awoke this morning that Allen Toussaint died last night after a performance in Madrid, Spain at the age of 77.  Somehow, I channeled him, bringing my students and me the happiness of his funk groove, great lyrics, and the sonic pleasure of The Pointer Sisters recording of it by Arranger, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, and Producer David Rubinson as Allen took his last breath on earth. R.I.P. Allen Toussaint.

This brings me back to another moment of somber which does not diminish the happiness I felt yesterday provided by the now dead composer, but certainly stepped on my groove for today, the 11th of November. This day usually causes a revolt in my heart as America celebrates Veterans Day because when I read the first line in the link provided:  “The mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) is to fulfill our Nation’s promise to Veterans for their service and sacrifice to our Nation,”  I think of my numerous students who are Veterans trying to obtain a promised education who have to come to me in embarrassment every semester with the reality that they can’t purchase certain requirements of the course because their check from the government has been delayed again. There is no delay when the government sends these soldiers off to war, but when it comes to truly caring for our Veterans upon their return, the U.S. government needs to take a good look at the O.V.A., clean house, and do the job it purports to in its mission statement.  Never mind that I’m a pacifist and wish that no nation need an army. I find the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. more akin to my spirit on this day: “”Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” Still, I thank those who have served and who serve now for what must surely feel like time in hell when we are at war whether it be a declared act of Congress or the multitude of covert wars our country engages in around the globe.

Peace out.

“…just like Pagliacci did/I’ll try to keep my sadness hid

Sad Clown

About danaj33

writer * department chair of Broadcast Electronic Media Arts and audio faculty at City College of San Francisco * music composer and producer * always in discovery mode, learning, living, loving, and laughing.
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