Show of hands, right now: How many of you have no idea what my post title means?
Gaah! Put 'em down, put 'em down!
All right, if you're going to get anything out of what follows, I guess I'll have to give you a history lesson. Back in the olden days, iPods were called "record players". And record players - stay with me, now - played records.
Records were flat, black plasticky circles that looked like what you'd get if you subjected a CD to a couple of hours under a rolling pin. And the way you made the magic sounds come out of them was, you secured the record on the turntable, and put a "needle" in the "arm" of the record player, which sounds vaguely drug-abuse-esque but really wasn't. And then you carefully placed the needle in the grooves of the record, turned on the machine, et voila! The Bay City Rollers were telling you all about their plans for the weekend, specifically "S-A-TUR-DAY...NIGHT!"
Sometimes the records would get scratched, like if you disturbed too many air molecules or said the word 'scratch' while the record was playing.
And if the record got scratched, then the needle would get stuck in one of the grooves, causing the Bay City Rollers to screech "S-S-S-Saturday Ni-YIGHT" over and over again, although in this case that was just how the song was written. But with other records, in order to get things moving again, you had to give a little 'tap' to the arm of the player, thereby 'bumping the needle' to a spot that wasn't currently scratched. This of course always resulted in further scratching of the record, something which surprised and enraged the needle-bumper every single time despite the fundamental principles of cause and effect that were so obviously at work.
It wouldn't be until the 1990's, a decade that was every bit as stupid as the 1980's no matter what you young sprats have to say on the subject, that disc jockeys would begin using the needles to deliberately scratch their records in strategically artistic ways. But that's a horror story for another night.
I'm not one for moralizing; I've always found that a bit tedious in others and besides, I assume you're intelligent enough to figure out what I'm getting at.
If I was a nightclub act, this would be the part where the piano music got soft and a single spotlight played on my earnest face as I took the mic from the stand and sat on a stool and said, "I'd like to take the room down a bit."
(What's that? They don't use mic stands any more? Since when? Damn. I really am old.)
And then I'd share some stuff with you that I don't normally tell my audiences. But it would seem like the right moment, because we'd been having such a great time together up until then, and I would trust you with this glimpse into my soul, hoping that it wouldn't be such a bummer you'd be Tweeting "Next time we're in Vegas we're skipping this buzzkill and heading straight to Barry Manilow."
I'd say, "I'm not going to talk any more about past hurts that should just be dropped." And I would also say, "I really do believe that most people are trying to do mostly good things most of the time." And I'd probably add, "But we need to be careful with each other, because it's a lot harder to improve yourself if your only incentive is that maybe folks will finally stop yelling at you."
And then I'd tell you that it isn't normal to cry every day. And that there's such a thing as empty, even in the deepest wells, and you really, really don't want to get there. But, I would continue, if you do hit a dry patch, it's all right to ask people to stop lowering their buckets for a while, until you've got something down there worth bringing up.
And I would encourage you to find good and positive ways to keep busy while you wait for your well to fill. And I would assure you that people - angels, really - who get it because they've been there, will show up in the most unexpected places, offering encouragement and kindness, and laughter and light, until everything is all right again.
And then, because I'm me, I'd turn to the band and holler, "Enough of this maudlin nonsense! Fire up 'Copacabana'!" And I would put on a hat made of fruit and grab a couple of maracas and show you just how much fun music used to be.
Because if I were going to lose my audience to anyone, I'd want it to be Barry Manilow.