Saturday, October 14, 2006

Aquarium Drinking

Admit it. It’s been lingering in the back of your head ever since you first heard it in 2002 and the confusion isn’t necessarily undesirable, it’s more of a welcome frustration. Nonsensical lyrics are all over the place and just about every artist is guilty. You can make anything you want out of a Dylan song, but at the heart, even he admits he doesn’t know what some of them are about. Jeff Tweedy, the slacker rock god who occasionally likes painting faces on his beer gut and smoking cigarettes through his navel, is no exception.

So, what the fuck is an American Aquarium Drinker? Frankly, I have a couple of leads and they have taken me nowhere. Sure, the line “The Subway is a porno” from “NYC” is questionable, but it just doesn’t quite provoke the same inquisition as “I am an American Aquarium Drinker.” American is easy. Any Colbert fan can tell you exactly what an American is (check out this site for details). So the real question lies in the last two words; aquarium obviously describing the kind of drinker he is.

First impression: our narrator is a boozehound. Considering he’s a damn rock star, this is no surprise. So is that quantity? Does he drink aquariums full of booze? I sure as hell hope so. There’s nothing more clear about the American dream than the absolute concrete fact that everyone wants to swim around in their own aquarium of liquor. If you disagree, you are a terrorist--I can tell.

But maybe that is a stretch. I always thought it a little funny that maybe the guy who wrote this was on too much vicodin and actually did this once. Every drunk must admit to coming home loaded and plowing through the refrigerator—it’s just a fact of life. So maybe you took too many pills and you’re getting dry mouth. Hi Nemo! You’re such a good fish. Water is great huh. You live in water. Mmmmmmmm. Then you stick your head in the tank and start guzzling. Aside from all the bacteria and paramecia (What’s a paramecium brain Peter?) you just inhaled, you have just been awarded a very prestigious title: you are officially an aquarium drinker. Congrats.

We should all endeavor to drink more aquarium water. Maybe not literally, but if we are all fish swimming around in this sea of shit, why not? We already smell like it anyway. Even with a mouth full of aquarium algae, for some reason I trust this guy singing to me. I’m not really sure what the fuck he’s talking about, but it sounds nice. It really makes me want to take off my band aid because of my belief that there are no such things as touchdowns. Sure I’ve seen them on TV, but all these pills and aquarium water have my head a bit skewed. That wasn’t a touchdown, it was a damned football game.

Somewhere between Dylan’s eleven-dollar-bill cynicism and Jeff Tweedy’s ramblings my life has found a happy place. Sure, I smell like a fish tank, am not allowed into "classy places," , sleep on newspapers, and read mattresses, but damnit I’m an American. Excuse me while I assassin to the bathroom.



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