What is there to say? I'm not very interesting. I'm not a good writer. I don't even dress well. If you insist on knowing something about me just wander through the archives. It's all there.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

On reading an online discussion concerning the song "25 or 6 to 4"

I was wandering aimless through the web yesterday and found a discussion concerning the "meaning" of the song "25 or 6 to 4". It reminded me of one of the weirdest moments of my life. The day several years ago when I GOT the title to that song. Judging from the posts, I am not the only one who has had an out of body experience with it.

Approximately one billion years ago, I enjoyed listening to the band, Chicago. I had several of their records. They had a big hit with the song “25 or 6 to 4”. It was a great song and played on the radio and on my stereo for a long time. I knew all the lyrics. I thought they were probably about drugs. At that point in history, all songs lyrics were probably about drugs. There was only one problem with the song. I didn’t understand the title. Somehow, the first time I read or heard the title it got planted in my brain as “25 (pause) or 6 to 4” I didn’t get it. What did that mean? Was it a musical reference signifying Opus 25 in 6/4 time? Was it some obscure private joke shared only by the band? Was it simply beyond all sober understanding like Country Joe And The Fishes’ “Porpoise Mouth”? Even the song lyrics didn’t seem to illuminate the meaning of the title for me. After all, what did that combination of numbers have to do with anyone or anything sitting cross-legged on the floor. I, truly, was puzzled.

Fast forward one billion and twenty-eight years, I am sitting in my kitchen reading the morning paper and drinking a cup of tea. It is quiet. There is no music playing. Entire civilizations had risen and fallen since the last time I had listened to Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” or even thought about that song. Suddenly and for no apparent reason, I hear the sound of one hand clapping. I said aloud, “Oh, 25 or 6 (pause) to 4. It's time. It’s like someone saying; “I’ll see you in 3 or 4 minutes.” Like in the lyrics, sitting cross-legged on the floor…at 25 or so minutes before 4AM. Around 3:35 in the morning. Of course. Duh!” Like a penny spiraling around those plastic vortex machines in the mall, that epiphany had finally dropped in my brain after circling for over a quarter of a century. I laughed out loud. It was so obvious. Why had I not understood?

After several minutes of marveling at my own density, I was sobered by the realization that I could, at that very moment, be completely misinterpreting most of the things going on around me. If my past was any indication, I would be dead by the time I finally figured out what the stories in that day’s newspaper really meant.


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