Question: What Did the Buddhist Say to the Hot Dog Vendor?

Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what music is circulating through his space every Monday.
Answer: Make me ONE with everything!

Yeah, well, I want some of that. I only use levity here because I like to tell a good joke--and the joke itself highlights in reality, something that I yearn for. As hard as I try for some semblance of tranquility in this journey of life, it seems that there is always some sort of mini-drama playing out somewhere on the sideline. And I know that I play a part in them ... if only just simply by reacting.

I should be a master in the art of band politics by this point in my life, but I find myself often caught in the trappings of drama and intrigue. Man, it's true: as often as I tell myself just to 'keep my side of the street clean' (that is, take responsibility for what I do, and try to walk a somewhat straight-ish path), I can get a little bit lazy with my personal program or belief, and I find myself in the midst of gossip and/or angling for a better position.

I think we probably all do this to some extent. At work and in our personal lives. we naturally all want what is best for ourselves ... and our loved ones. Did anyone see that ESPN shot of that young couple at the Houston Astros game this season? When an errant foul ball came their way, the guy moved out of the way and fully exposed his girlfriend to the full brunt of the baseball's impact. Ouch. Even if we want our workplace to excel in sales or whatever, and our love life to be as pristine as a Hallmark card, we often put ourselves first in the equation, even if we're unaware.

Back to the band. I don't want this to be taken the wrong way, but how am I am supposed to give, say, a new singer in Velvet Revolver--should we decide to find one-- a fighting chance, given all of my past history with our previous singer, Scott Weiland? Truth be told, I have a lot in common with Scott and I only wish him the very best. BUT! I still feel a little bit screwed by that situation. Not screwed over by Scott himself, per se, but by allowing myself to get hung up on some major-league, old-school rock trappings, and getting stuck there. A work environment mixed with the emotion of trying to portray a shared vision and sound can sometimes just get downright ridiculous.

This time I will just try it differently. This time, I will try and avoid the intrigue and not try for an angle. I'm sure I did it before. I'm SURE I did. I just wanted that band to be as great as I knew it could be. I probably let a lot of truths go flying past me in the process. This is life, I suppose.

All I can do from here is learn from the past, and adjust myself accordingly.

My girls are both of an age--10 and 13--when things at school and in their personal lives get acutely magnified. These things get brought straight into our house after school. You see, 10- and 13-year-olds rarely have a "filter"... In situations more and more frequently, I find myself reacting with either a big voice or just straight-up annoyance. It's not cool that I do this. I tell myself this when it happens. I write about these things for you so that I can at least write down what is happening. This column has been a wonderful tool for me to both flesh out personal/family issues and to keep myself in check. I know that you people read this. Because you read it, I cannot contradict myself. Damn!

I went to Seattle University--a Jesuit school--a few years back. If you know anything about Jesuit schools, you will o know that the Jesuits require a ton of philosophy courses for their students to advance. Hence, I am a quasi-expert armchair philosopher. There is a Buddhist saying that says, and I paraphrase:

"Be the water flowing down the stream, and not the boulder in the stream trying to hold the water back."

I like this meditation.

I wonder if simple edicts like these are attainable anymore. The Information Age brings with it a mad plethora of gadgetry that keeps our minds racing with too much monkey business. I have to drink way too much coffee just to keep up.

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