Hey Normal: A Year for the Ages

Hey Normal: A Year for the Ages 

     A little under a year ago, Friday, March 13th – I played to the amazingly supportive crew of music lovers and “ass-whooping” enthusiasts (best regards to Paul Thorn) at Fanatics Pub in Lima, NY. Although at the beginning of that week things felt like they could blow over rather quickly, by that evening I’d come to the realization that the COVID-19 pandemic was indeed, not a drill. 

     As a lover of stories, I’ve long wondered what it must have felt like to live through some of history’s marquee events, and this pandemic has served to satisfy some of that curiosity. It is easy to glorify the struggles of the past when looking back on them from the comfort of the future. But the truth is that calamitous events aren’t glorified or fun. They are as disruptive and tragic as they are uncertain in outcome. No one ever knows at the time how long a struggle will last or what will be the ultimate cost in resources including life and limb.  

     Shortly after the world was shuttered, I wrote a song about the idea of “normal” – what it means to us during docile times, and how we tend to take those times for-granted until they’re gone. But as the year progressed, my personal understanding of “normal” has evolved as we have seen clearly that while “normal” for some of us has always been lovely, it has decidedly not been that way for all of us.  

     The past year has shone a spotlight on some of our society’s most pressing shortcomings which will require many of us to reckon deeply with the truth about where this country has been, how we got where we are now, and the future we truly what to see come to fruition. To that end, I’ve come to feel that there are some aspects of the old “normal” that are actually long overdue for an overhaul – and an external force like a pandemic may very well serve as a painful yet necessary catalyst for enacting the changes necessary to move the ball of humanity forward.  

     And yet, with all of that being a stark reality, I am incredibly thankful to live in an era when, because of modern science and technology, we aren’t solely at the mercy of the natural course of events. We in fact do have the power to impact our own destiny and because of that – we enjoy today the real possibility of returning this summer to gatherings with friends, family, and perfect strangers (albeit with nearly six hundred thousand tragically empty chairs) to enjoy the things we hold dearest – not the least of which is live music. 

     With all that said, I want to thank everyone for their support of my Live Streams over the past year, as well as the owners and patrons of the many great venues who have done their best to keep the hatches battened down while still supporting each other financially and otherwise so that musicians like me still have places to play and do what we love. 

     I thought I would close this post by sharing the lyrics to the song I referenced above entitled “Hey Normal” in hopes that they will inspire anyone who reads them to think about what normal is – what aspects of normal we should keep, those that we should seek to change, and how we will think of the “boring and mundane” when we are far enough into the future that the times have hopefully once again become just that. 

Hey Normal 

O. Eichensehr; March 2020 

Normal, it’s what we love to hate, 

The boring and the mundane; 

Why? Hell its hard to say, 

But Normal, it’s what we love to hate; 

It’s true, until the day, 

Normal just sails away; 

Three sheets – to the winds of change, 

Normal, it’s what we love to hate; 

Hey Normal, where’d you go - 

Yesterday is now a lifetime ago - 

We don’t do so well when we’re alone - 

Hey Normal Please come home 

Times, when they get strange, 

Quick is the wish for normal days; 

Back to the boring, and the mundane, 

When times, they get strange; 

Its true what they say, 

We don’t know what we’ve got until it sails away; 

Three sheets, to the winds of change, 

Maybe that’s why Normal, is what we love to hate. 

Hey Normal, where’d you go - 

Yesterday is now a lifetime ago - 

We don’t do so well when we’re alone - 

Hey Normal Please come home 

Somehow, we’ll make it through, 

Why? What else can we do? 

And when that day, surely comes 

Hey Normal we’ll meet you with love 

Hey Normal, where’d you go - 

Yesterday is now a lifetime ago - 

We don’t do so well when we’re alone - 

Hey Normal please come home 

We don’t do so well when we’re alone 

Hey Normal please come home 

We don’t do so well when we’re alone 

We miss you Normal, please come home

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