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On Chris Cornell: “Show Me How to Live” With “Dead Wishes”

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Any Chris Cornell fan knows my title of this piece references two songs he wrote. My wife texted me this morning at 7:15 and told me he passed away. She knows how big of a fan I am of his music, and what else can I say except his death has rocked me to the core today.

His songs “Show Me How To Live” and “Dead Wishes” have been on repeat for me all day. When I first heard these songs I instantly connected with them, these songs like most of his songs challenge you to depths of your soul.  They expand your mind and make you think. This is what musical geniuses do, they can write their own music, play instruments, and compose music. Rarely do we see that now. Now our music is dumbing us down like so many other things in life are.  Today’s music has become a reflection of the dumbing down of Americans through our mainstream media, television programming, and educational system.

These songs for me encapsulate where we are at as a society and what we need to do moving forward.

When a musician dies usually everyone starts buying their music, but what I don’t know is if everyone really starts to listen to what the musician had to say.  I hope people will do that with Chris Cornell’s music and I hope they start by listening to the two songs I mention here.  These songs can be an anthem to a rebirth and new beginning of how to live your life.  Chris Cornell is literally showing you how to live in these songs (pun intended).  But in case you choose not to take this tragedy as an opportunity then I will go ahead channel my inner Chris Cornell and give you the bridge these songs lay out for you to walk over for a new and meaningful life.

When I listen to the song “Show Me How To Live” here are some of the lines that stand out to me.

“Built with stolen parts

A telephone in my heart

Someone get me a priest

To put my mind to bed

This ringing in my head

Is this a cure or is this a disease?”

“Nail in my head

From my creator

You gave me life

Now show me how to live.”

“You thought you made a man

You better think again

Before my role defines you.”

“And in your waiting hands

I will land

And roll out of my skin

And in your final hours I will stand

Ready to begin.”

When I hear these lyrics to me he’s obviously referencing creating a monster, particularly Frankenstein, that was “built with stolen parts” and had a “nail in my hand, from my creator” who is struggling with his life since it’s an unnatural life hence the “is this a cure or is this a disease” line.  The creator thought he made a man that he can show how to live but now has to think again about what he made, and while the song talks about the creator dying and Frankenstein dying with him just look the book.

The creator dies due to trying to play God and instead created a monster that is wrecking havoc.  And this perfectly ties into where our planet is at today.  See we are the creators and we created Frankensteins wrecking havoc over all life forms on the planet.

Our Frankensteins may not look like monsters but we see these Frankensteins everyday.  The Frankensteins we created come in the forms of drones, bombs, missles, SWAT raids, jail cells, nuclear power planets, fossil fuels, pipelines, pesticides, chemicals, tractors, chainsaws, dams, guns, mines, sweatshops, the dow, payday loans, hedge funds, etc.

All of these things listed above show us how and tell us how to live.  They are the Gods of this planet.  We are the creators of these Frankensteins and that will soon lead to our demise.  We have unleashed these beasts for too long and we can’t stop them now nor do we want to stop them.

Want to show me how to live?  Here’s an idea…stop worshipping this life killing bullshit.  Showing someone how to live is embracing life while you’re living since it can be taken from you at any moment.  Live by embracing the living, not destroying the living.  Always remember Frankensteins are unnatural and will eventually die.

This planet will be “ready to begin” once all the Frankensteins are destroyed.  My hunch is this new beginning will not include humans in the equation and us as the creators will die with these Frankensteins just like the story.

“Dead Wishes”, which is my favorite song of his, is about time passing by faster than you realize and that while you may have regrets on what transpired in your life you’re still hopeful for the future.  Chris said as much about the meaning of this song when he was interviewed by Cameron Crowe.

I remember first hearing this song and I was blown away by the line, “Time keeps moving slower, like falling from the sun, come and knock me over, I keep getting up, throw a line down to me, keep hanging on.”

As Chris was bellowing those lyrics out from the heavens I felt as if he was directly speaking to me.  I was in the intense reading phase of my activism and it was those lyrics that urged me that while this culture may knock life down, there’s plenty of humans and nonhumans that defy it as they keep getting up and keep hanging on.  It was this line that urged me to join this fight because as he says in this song, “Summer turns to autumn winter turns to spring, and it all flies by… like a speeding train.”

As time flies by like a spreading train it makes me ponder how many more summers, autumns, winters, and springs we have left.  Especially when I read stories about Florida, the State that I live in.

The USA Today confirmed 66% of Florida is in a drought which is the highest by any state in the United States.  While this State is in a terrible drought it is literally frying.  Temperatures haven’t this hot to the start of a year in Florida since 1895.

Then there’s Dahr Jamail’s latest article indicating the all coral reefs may be a thing of the past on this planet by 2050.

Last and certainly not least is that 800 pound gorilla in the room which is all the methane trapped underneath the ice of the Arctic.  We could have an ice free Arctic as soon as this summer which will cause the planet to belch up gigatons of methane that will slay the Frankensteins we have created all over the planet as well as slay us aka the creators.

While Chris in this song remains hopeful that he can remove on from all the regrets he has or dead wishes that he created, I too share his hope.  I hope that my writing, radio show that I help contribute to, organizing, and protesting can show someone how to live and take inventory of their dead wishes.  I hope that they like me can try to right a few wrongs in their lives while there is still time.  More importantly, I hope they live with the living and help ease any suffering they can.  This is the hope behind my life’s work.

I feel so lucky that my wife and I got to see him in concert in Clearwater, FL last year.  And it was at this time last year when I had all his music on repeat.  It was also while I was listening to his music that I finally decided it’s time to get my ass off the couch and really show myself how to live because I want to leave this life with as little dead wishes as possible.  It also made me realize how many other humans and nonhumans exit this planet with so many dead wishes unfulfilled and that’s what my motivation was for hitting the streets.

Chris if I could say something to you now I would say thank you brother for showing me how to life by fulfilling the wishes of my loved ones and others so they can leave this planet with less dead wishes than they had before.  Rest In Peace – Rob.

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