Posts Tagged With: English Major skills

Day 583: What a _____ About Me

Here it is, more than a year and a half since I’ve started blogging, and I’ve yet to include a song from one of my favorite bands, Steely Dan.

No shame about that, though.

As I’ve oft written here, shame — the feeling/belief that there is something fundamentally wrong about oneself —  is toxic. Yes, shame gets in the way of growth, healing, and moving on.  So, rather than shame myself for my inaction in the past, I shall now include a Steely Dan song, in today’s post.

Which Steely Dan tune shall I pick, out of all their great songs?   I’m choosing the very one that was playing yesterday, as I walked to work:  What a Shame About Me.

Here’s a version of that, posted on YouTube:

Steely Dan songs are often little stories, narrated by a protagonist who is rather unsavory and unreliable.  In that way, they remind me of the poet Robert Browning‘s dramatic monologues, of all things.

Can you tell, at this point, that I was an English major in college? (I have no shame about that, either.)

My English-major-analysis skills tell me that What a Shame About Me is a tale told by somebody who has not done as well, in life, as some other people in his college class.

What do your analysis skills tell you, about the meaning of that song? To help with that, here are all the lyrics to What a Shame About Me:

I was grinding through my day gig
Stackin’ cutouts at the Strand
When in walks Franny from NYU
We were quite an item back then
We talked about her films and shows and CDs
And I don’t know what else
She said, “Yeah, Hollywood’s been good to me
But tell me – how about yourself”

I’m still working on that novel
But I’m just about to quit
I’m worrying about the future now
Or maybe this is it
It’s not all that I thought it would be
What a shame about me

She said, “Talk to me, do you ever see
Anybody else from our old crew
Bobby Dakine won the Bunsen Prize
Now he’s coming out with something new
Alan owns a chain of Steamer Heavens
And Barry is the software king
And somebody told me in the early 80’s
You were gonna be the Next Big Thing.”

Well now that was just a rumor
But I guess I’m doin’ fine
Three weeks out of the rehab
Living one day at a time
Sneaking up on the new century
What a shame about me

What a shame about me

I’m thinking of a major Jane Street sunrise
And the goddess on the fire escape was you

We both ran out of small talk
The connection seemed to go dead
I was about to say, hey, have a nice life
When she touched my hand and said:
“I just had this great idea
This could be very cool
Why don’t we grab a cab to my hotel
And make believe we’re back at our old school”

I said babe you look delicious
And you’re standing very close
But this is Lower Broadway
And you’re talking to a ghost
Take a good look it’s easy to see
What a shame about me
What a shame about me


Guess what?  I have a college reunion coming up next month. And, because of the fancy-shmancy, hoity-toity college I attended, I could very easily compare myself to my most distinguished, renowned, and admired classmates, and find myself wanting.

But that’s just an automatic, unhelpful cognitive distortion (see Comparisons, in this list).

When I go to my college reunion in September, I resolve  NOT to compare myself to others there. Certainly, I will  NOT say this:

“What a shame about me.”

If I do choose to declare something about myself at my college reunion, what word could I use in place of  “shame” in that sentence? Perhaps I could use a word for the opposite of shame, instead. But, what IS the opposite of shame? Is it pride? Acceptance? Peace? Comfort?

Hmmm. None of those words fit, as an easy replacement. I mean, people don’t say, “What a Pride (or acceptance, peace, or comfort) About Me.”

Maybe I need a different sentence.

In any case, here are some things that HAVE been about me, lately:


IMG_7619 IMG_7641 IMG_7653 IMG_7671 IMG_7675 IMG_7687

IMG_7690 IMG_7693


photofromM1 photo2fromm IMG_7709


What a world about me, don’t you think?

Thanks to my boyfriend Michael (who was responsible for the last three images), to Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, to Robert Browning, to my college classmates, to people who are doing their best to let go of shame (and other unhelpful things), and to you — for whatever words, feelings, thoughts, etc. are about you, today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

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