A Friday Sidebar:

Navigating a Big Thud

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I’m a proponent of proper attribution.

And I’ve searched for hours over the past few days to credit the source of a phrase that I’ve used for years.

When John Lennon was murdered, we shared and grieved together in the expected ways.

People went to the city park to be together.

They went to the record store together.

Somehow, buying an album equated to honoring the artist.

They commiserated. Together.

They watched the news together.

All normal reactions. Variations on, “This is bad. Let’s keep each other company and be together. Because this is bad.”

A few weeks later, I was reading one of the hundreds of articles about the tragedy. A writer had an apt description of how it feels when someone famous dies. Especially if the passing it was unexpected in some way.

As I said, the source is lost to me, so I can’t properly attribute the author. But I’ve remembered their descriptive definition ever since:

The big thud.

For me, that’s about right. A big thud. You’re stopped in your tracks. You intellectually know what you’ve just learned, but you have a visceral need to internally repeat it a few times, so that it sinks in.

Many people might say, “Sure, it’s sad. But why are you upset about this? It’s not like you knew them, or they knew you.”

And oddly, that might be the whole point. Not personally knowing someone, but communally knowing them with other “strangers,” somehow has an unusual side-efffect.

It’s hard to describe.

Maybe it’s your consciousness deploying a sneaky reminder:

A somehow necessary check-in on your own, inevitable mortality.

My theory: One way that we measure the passage of time is by subconsciously pairing up public events, in step with our own life’s milestones. I’ll mercifully save you all a paragraph: Chuck Small’s current series is a perfect illustration of what I’m thinking about, here.

Earlier in the week, I had a big thud. I read the news and learned of the unexpected passing of a famous musician. And as my mind did the spilt-second computational math to compare ages, along with the requisite “where-was-I-when-I-first-heard-the-song…” thingy, I had another reaction that surprised me.

I went full-on “Jimmy Olsen” mode.

On a perhaps presumptuous impulse, your cub reporter started writing a simple article for y’all. It seemed important to report what I’d just learned, even if 7,000 actual news outlets had already done so.

What was the motivation? Same as it ever was:

To gather together.

To listen to the music together.

To commiserate together.

To watch the news together.

And to try and do so with no sensationalism, snark, disrespect, or rumor-mongering. I hope that’s how it came across.

It’s an open secret that your humble servant is making this whole website thing up on the fly. I promise you all that I don’t really know anything.

Except for one thing: I know for sure that when there’s a big thud, I want to be around folks like you.

Thanks for the together. This week and always.

Good on you all,

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mt58

Your grateful host. Good on you all.

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Virgindog
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Virgindog
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July 28, 2023 5:28 pm

I’ve never heard the term “big thud” except in reference to my muddy bass tone, but that’s another story. Thanks everyone for a good week of stories here. Now go out and hear some local band play music. It’ll do you (and them) good.

LinkCrawford
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LinkCrawford
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July 28, 2023 6:24 pm

Let’s have no more big thuds for a bit if we can, right?

Pauly Steyreen
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July 28, 2023 10:18 pm
Reply to  LinkCrawford

Hear hear!

cstolliver
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July 28, 2023 6:41 pm

mt, I appreciate what you’re doing here. I have to say I sometimes don’t feel comfortable at the mothership outside of our regular hangout simply because of the combination of snark and hipster level of the commentariat. I feel life’s too short for the former (most of the time) and I’ve never been the latter. As such, I’m likely to lurk if I’m there at all. I am grateful that you are building a kindler, gentler communication forum because it is important to experience things together, and all the better when we can authentically be ourselves doing so. Have a good weekend.

stobgopper
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July 28, 2023 6:46 pm

You may think you don’t know anything, but we know better. Have a great, thudless weekend.

In that vein: https://twitter.com/darrenrovell/status/1673659149417078788

Virgindog
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Virgindog
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July 28, 2023 6:50 pm
Reply to  stobgopper

Wow, that’s fantastic.

dutchg8r
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July 28, 2023 10:02 pm
Reply to  stobgopper

Thank you for sharing that with us stob, that speech is so terrific and real.

blu_cheez
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July 29, 2023 8:45 pm
Reply to  stobgopper

Wow.

DanceFever
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July 28, 2023 7:36 pm

mt58, may your weekend be thud-less.
As to stopgobber’s post of the Governor’s speech, that last line applies to all
on this site.
“Bless us all, everyone.”

dutchg8r
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July 28, 2023 10:17 pm

I think it comes down to a basic human desire to be around others who understand our own personal pain, happiness, grief, and/or joy. Emotions need to be communal to process them effectively. Took me, as a super independent pig headed youth, a long time to understand that, and accept it as a good thing.

Thank you for your outstanding commitment in continuing to steer our communal ship of awesomeness, mt. Virtual hugs, everyone. 🥰

Pauly Steyreen
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July 28, 2023 10:25 pm

Mt, you know that while I have provocateur inclinations from time to time, I’m a utopian at heart, and our community is like a second family for me. I love what you’re doing here… what WE’RE doing here… making a spontaneous and intentional community. Early on, I was like screw what the courses may say about picking a niche and staying in your lane… the VIBE is the appeal. And it’s inherently something that has to grow organically, you can’t build it rapidly or it would be a house of cards.

Love an appreciate you all, brothers and sisters. Found family of TNOCS. I use the family nomenclature quite consciously, though I’ll back off if it’s not your vibe. Have a great weekend!!!

JJ Live At Leeds
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July 29, 2023 11:57 am

I’ve not heard the term ‘big thud’ before but it is an apt description. The fewer thuds the better but we all know they’re going to come along at some point. Sometimes it seems that they come up with alarming regularity like 2016. It hits hardest when it’s sudden and seems before their time.

Totally right that community and shared experience makes it easier to navigate. Even if easier isn’t exactly the right word.

We all appreciate everything that you do and instilling this sense of community.

Ozmoe
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July 29, 2023 10:23 pm

Wonderfully written as always, mt58. I’m late on reading this because I’m on vacation at the beach this weekend, which rearranges my priorities somewhat, but I’m glad I got the time to read this while away. I feel the same way as you do and am so grateful that we haven’t had any more big thuds as of the time I’m writing this.

Edith G
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Edith G
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July 30, 2023 9:04 pm

Thank you for writing this .

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