Ballad of a Thin Man

Bob Dylan wrote Ballad of a Thin Man in 1965, running on the immortal Highway 51 album ( i've found that no one other than me feels this way though). Ballad is a great song. Good rhythm, good instrumentals, and captivating lyrics. There's a lot of speculation about what the song is actually about, but few people have any real insight into this topic. Bob Dylan is a solitary and reclusive man, and no one can understand what he says anyway. As usual, 'few people' never describes me. Yes, I have met the man. I have ask them the hard question: what the F is that song actually about Bob?

"Well, its kinda about the amrumble nd grind of grerars ofda whales of life bud"

Of course.

What Bob really meant to say is that Ballad is a depiction of life as a battle. In this battle, if you aren't tough enough you'll end up cold, confused, and alone. Just like this song makes you feel.

Allow me to read into this a little further. Bob is also talking about the immortal struggle. Man vs. the kingdom of nature, and most importantly man vs. human nature. Weakness is the common thread between each verse, between each character, where those without the will to do float endlessly through a string of unrelated, confusing scenarios that are just somehow beyond control. Bob is describing how I feel about 'the purposeless driven life,' and also about triathlons. Yes, I am admittedly a thin man and I have battled against this with all my might. But it is bigger than that.

Triathlons seem to have the opposite effect on me than they have on many. Many view the triathlon as something to accomplish. I can't wrap my mind around this; to me they are something to wage war against and challenge on a primeval plane, where the enemy is my own weak, listless, meandering self. Accomplishments are good marks on your grade school penmanship test. Hooray for you. Praise Allah you weren't born a lefty. But how can you just accomplish a triathlon?

I have found a lot of purpose training for triathlons. There is something very very satisfying in pushing to the limits of my own comfort and control - and also in beating Brett. Is that limit a physical boundary, or one that can be driven further and further, if only I believe strongly enough that the uncharted territory that lies ahead is MINE (and by default, you guessed it, not Brett's). Manifest Destiny, my way. I refuse to become Bob's protagonist. And Bob would hate to be him too. If you are to take to something, don't half-ass it. Do us all a favor and use your whole ass, and every other part of you until you are sore to the core of each and every bone, and you are lying there wishing for death or at least a good nights sleep. Reader, don't be a Thin Man. Go all the way. Life is not about checking off more and cooler things before you die. There aren't buckets, or F'ing lists. There is only your own sense of self worth and that feeling of success that only you can achieve as only you know how

Listless Gentlemen #1: "Did you know I run triathlons?"
Triathlete #1: "Wow, that is great. You run triathlons. Well, I don't just run triathlons. I kick ass at triathlons."
[pause]
Triathlete #1: "But it's nothing personal"

I'd like to leave you with a telling verse from the aforementioned Ballad, that really does expound upon the message I am trying to convey here:

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word "NOW"
And you say, "For what reason?"
And he says, "How?"
And you say, "What does this mean?"
And he screams back, "You're a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home"

So, there you have it. If that isn't about Triathlons, then I'll eat my hat, or whatever else I have to eat to keep from withering away, as each and every calorie I consume gets sucked down the triathlon drain faster than you know what in a crapper on the equator.

1 comment:

  1. looks like we're gonna have two audiences for this blog... people interested in triathlons, and people that can understand what the heck you're saying!

    ReplyDelete