42: “I tell you I can’t live in service, like a doctor was born for a purpose.”

This is quote from the song Rudie Can’t Fail by the Clash. They’re my favorite band and many of their lyrics were quite enlightening to me when I was angst-ridden teenager. Just kidding. I only wanted to be an angst-ridden teenager, and despite being labelled a punk band, the Clash really weren’t too angsty either. I mean, the song that I’m highlighting is an incredibly danceable (skankable?) ska tune.
It’s a bit hard to describe what makes songs great, but I think one aspect, that the Clash were particularly good at, is making something that sounds catchy and then embedding it with lyrics that are thought-provoking. The result is a song that gets stuck in your head, but upon the hundredth replay, instead of getting sick of it, the lyrics start to show themselves and it gets you more invested.

I remember when I deciphered this lyric. I was a senior in high school, when I was preparing to apply to colleges. Just the decision of which college to go to was hard enough for me (one that I got wrong, but that’s another story), but having to start to think about what I wanted to be/ what I wanted to do as a career conflicted me even more (and still does). These decisions didn’t seem to bother my friends as much.

Thinking back on it, I was in this claustrophobic echelon of elitism with my friends and classmates that were all in Honors Whatever, AP I Smarter than You, and National See How Awesome I Am Society. They all knew from way before kindergarten that they ALL wanted to grow up to be doctors …Maybe because everyone knows that they make an ass-ton of money…Maybe because they actually think they might like repairing broken bodies…I think it has a lot do with a certain social status garnered from the title…Anyway, none the reasons were ever enticing to me….But, I thought to myself, maybe I should care about those things?

It’s almost too coincidental how literally this lyric fit with my situation. It helped me see that there are people who do things the “right” way and that I, probably, wasn’t one of those people.

-Tanya

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