Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

The New Status

“In order to cement your status in the cultural elite, you want to be already sick of everything no one else has even heard of.”

–David Brooks, “Lord of the Memes,” in the New York Times.

Here Follows the Riveting Drama of How Today Jeff Snagged the Album Graceland by Paul Simon for Just Six Bucks

About ten or eleven years ago I stood in a Borders bookstore in Wichita, Kansas, and held two compact discs in my hand. One was the album Wax Ecstatic by Sponge, and the other was Graceland by Paul Simon. I bought the Sponge album (I’m such an idiot). I have only listened to the album all the way through once (if even that), but I keep it in my collection as a testament to my stupidity. I never bought Graceland. I hear it here and there and always wince when it comes up in conversation or I see it in a cd collection at a friend’s house. I tell this story, explaining that I should own but don’t blah blah blah. It’s kind of haunted me, like that day was fateful and has forever prevented me from buying it. I feel like I should be a Paul Simon fan but am not, like I should own all of his albums but don’t, and it’s all because I bought stupid Wax Ecstatic instead of Graceland ten years ago. (clarification: I’m talking about post-Simon and Garfunkle Paul Simon. I have heard enough of both to know that I like the solo version of Paul Simon better.) I am also vain enough to wish I had had the good taste in high school to make the better purchase, so I could say now, “Look! Even then I had such good taste!” (Of course for this to have any purchase you have to both like Paul Simon and think I have decent taste now.) I even once carried it around a Best Buy for nearly an hour while I wandered around, only to decide just before leaving that I didn’t have the necessary funds to justify a “spontaneous” purchase. A few years ago I bought a Paul Simon compilation cd that is really good, but it only made me think that I should own the whole album of Graceland for real, along with all his other ones (well, I’m not so crazy about most of the post-Graceland stuff). All that changed when I found Graceland at The Frugal Muse this afternoon for six bucks. So now I am the proud owner of this grand cd, only a decade late.