Do what you dig - Shawn Loughlin editorial
In an effort to demonstrate to co-workers that I’m capable of listening to something other than Leonard Cohen in my office (and music created after 1977, five years before I was born, for that matter), I was listening to “The Masked Cowboy” himself, Orville Peck, the other day.
In “Outta Time”, in a scene set at a party he didn’t want to go to, Peck sings, “Headed for the back, I meet a girl who’s trying to shoot the breeze / She tells me she don’t like Elvis / I say I want a little less conversation, please.”
Now, those who know me know that I’m far from the world’s biggest Elvis fan, but Peck is and he has no time to waste with someone who doesn’t share that love (perhaps he and I would have to avoid that topic if we ever met). Either way, it got me thinking about how much time we waste in life talking about things we don’t want to talk about.
My life is disproportionately full of such conversation. As someone who covers council meetings and other proceedings for a living, I have rolled my eyes so severely that I’m sure I’ve caught a glimpse of my brain (or at least wanted to - but didn’t in an effort to maintain some level of decorum) too many times to count. But, hey, that’s the job and that kind of coverage is part of it.
Back to Peck, I love that the lack of love for Elvis is a non-starter. I’ve developed a lot of these over the years and that number has definitely increased in recent years. There are trigger (pardon the loaded use of that word) words or phrases that just indicate to me that, for my own mental health, personal well-being and happiness, hitting the bricks, not continuing with the conversation in question, is the best move.
Speaking of decorum (or lack thereof), I have been known to just up and walk out on a conversation. Not a one-on-one conversation, of course - I’m not psychotic - but when a group conversation takes a turn I don’t care to take, I’ll just move on. As a father now, it’s easier. I have a beautiful little walking, talking excuse to leave at all times. So, Tallu and I will take a walk to “get some air” when she’s “getting restless” even if I might just be the one who’s getting restless. And then my little girl and I are outside, walking and talking, playing with a ball or whatever it is she wants to do. Trust me when I say it’s a million times better than whatever conversation it was that I just left.
Publisher Deb Sholdice is more responsible when it comes to things like this. She actively works to debunk falsehoods, set people straight and fiercely advocate for the truth. When she sees people post some foolishness online, she’ll reach out and offer a fact-check or encourage that poor, misguided soul to do a little more responsible research before passing on something silly. I’ve spent over 16 years (and counting) doing that in this job. When I say I’m off the clock, you can believe me (and whatever else you want, for that matter), I’ll be by the bar, minding my own business, or in search of my own version of Peck’s chat-mate who loves Elvis.
This being my first column of 2023, perhaps it should come with a resolution and maybe this is it. So, in the year of our Lord, 2023, do more of what you want to do. Talk to the people you want to talk to and don’t waste time with those you don’t. Don’t be afraid to say you want a little less conversation, please.
Ah yes, a new year, full of promise, potential and plenty to be discovered. I hope to spend it the way I want to spend it, rather than wasting my time with someone who doesn’t like Elvis.