Woke Up This Morning

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

After my wife moved out, after I had an horrific operation that still haunts me, after I ran out of money, after my father died, my shrink fired me.

Actually, it didn’t go down exactly that way.  The shrink part.  The rest is true.  The shrink was getting a divorce, he declared bankruptcy, he got remarried and left town, after guaranteeing he wouldn’t.  Why did he guarantee this?  HOW THE FUCK SHOULD I KNOW?

Money’s a funny thing.  When you don’t have it, it’s all you think about, its lack is an overwhelming presence.  You can’t sleep, you’re eating the $1.19 frozen food from Ralphs, you can’t go anywhere because you don’t want to pay to park, your whole life goes ZIP, the same way Alabama 3’s "Woke Up This Morning" ends abruptly with a scratch at the beginning of every "Sopranos".  It’s not 9/11, the rest of the world marches forward like nothing’s changed, but you’re still sitting at the starting line, without your track shoes.

This screed is about last night’s "Sopranos".  There’s your heads-up, for all you fucks who e-mailed me about spoiling your lives a couple of weeks back.  Funny how people want to STEAL music in advance of its release, but will wait days, sometimes WEEKS, before they watch the latest "Sopranos" episode because they CAN, proud of their TiVos like a kid who wears his Mickey Mouse ears every day after returning from Disneyland.

When you woke up this morning everything was gone
By half past ten your head was going ding-dong
Ringing like a bell from your head down to your toes
Like a voice telling you there was something you should know
Last night you were flying but today you’re so low
Ain’t it times like these that you wonder if you’ll ever know
The meaning of things as they appear to the others
Wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers
Don’t you wish you didn’t function
Don’t you wish you didn’t think
Beyond the next paycheck and the next little drink
Well you do so make up your mind to go on, ’cause
When you woke up this morning everything you had was gone

So I’m lying on my bed thinking how it feels like I’m watching "Six Feet Under".  Which began every week with a death.  And contemplating the similarity, how both shows were on HBO, there was a HIT!  Sil strangling a member of the crew.

Took me two hours to WATCH this "Sopranos".  I kept rewinding, replaying, trying to catch every word.  That guy WAS a member of the Sopranos family, right?  There are so many characters, it’s so confusing, every line counts, miss one and you’re like the FBI, always one step behind.

Suddenly everybody was hostile to Tony.  His agent buddy wanted nothing to do with him, drawing a line in the sand between them.  But feeling guilty, catching Tony on the street, he intimated that Phil was going to make a move.  And Tony lost his appetite.  He threw the rest of his barely eaten sandwich in the garbage.

The "Sopranos" is about eating as much as killing, the mobsters never lose their appetite.  But when a crisis hits, you don’t run on food, but adrenaline.

And Peter Bogdanovich is as scummy on TV as he is in real life, putting his wife up to confronting Dr. Melfi, revealing her truth to the assembled multitude.  Dr./patient privilege?  About as valid as the attorney/client privilege that prevents all those music business barristers from disclosing who they represent and what their deals are…NOT!

You can’t kill Bobby Bacala.  We like him!

But the Leotardo family is right, he used to be Junior’s driver.  Maybe the Sopranos ARE a two-bit family.

Or is Phil still angry that his family name was changed from "Leonardo" to "Leotardo" at Ellis Island, has it colored his whole life.  A name can do this.  Like looks.

And the bungled hit.  You knew Paulie would fuck it up.  Or was he ready to turn?  Why was he so anxious?

And the random violence, the killing of the Ukrainians, innocent bystanders.

And then the blowback began.  The Soprano family suddenly went from offense to defense.  Little Steven Van Zandt is gonna HAVE to go back to Springsteen, because he’s out of this show PERMANENTLY!

And everybody piling out of the Bada Bing.  Watching the aftermath of the hit.  Like we watch Lindsay and Paris, they’re there for our amusement.

But the essence of the episode, the heart of the episode and the series itself, came shortly thereafter, when Tony sat down with A.J.

He blew off the good-looking rehab girl like my father dismissed my records, they were IRRELEVANT!  In Tony’s case, he wanted to save A.J.’s life, the FAMILY’S life.  Didn’t matter that A.J. had just come out of the hospital, he was speaking to him man to man, in a way he never does.  A.J. can only react like a child.  But Tony doesn’t want to hear it, not today, he goes into a RAGE!

You might think this is TV, but I remember when I had that horrific case of mononucleosis that would not quit, that my family couldn’t tolerate, thinking I was a lazy son of a bitch, and one day my father came into my room, shut the door and told me to can the act and stand up and fly straight, because it was ruining his MARRIAGE!

Where did this leave me?  Wasn’t he married to my mother?

I escaped to the west coast.  And I’ve never returned.

I don’t know where Carmela, Meadow and A.J. are.  But Tony’s holed up in an old house, of a vintage when his father was boss.  He’s sleeping with one eye open, with a gun in his hand, waiting for what, he doesn’t know.

I’ve slept with one eye open.  Or, more honestly, I’ve been unable to sleep, fearful of what’s coming down.

It builds. You don’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together in your brain.  You live in denial.  And then it hits.

We’ve been watching for eight years.  We considered Tony a friend.  We used some of his language.  We thought we were insiders.  We’re not insiders, we’ve got no clue.  These are not guys down the street you talk about yard care with, these are guys you AVOID!

But I couldn’t tear my eyes from the screen last night.  We were convinced there would be no resolution, that room would be left for sequels, feature films.  Oh, David Chase said otherwise, but we don’t trust the press, everybody believes in the almighty DOLLAR!

But it looks like there won’t be any more "Sopranos" episodes, not after next week.  The carnage has begun.  We saw it as a possibility, yet we were convinced it would be avoided.  That maybe the series would end with Tony in prison, but Sil wouldn’t die.  Bobby Bacala?  And Junior?  The rich mafioso is going to end up in state care?  Aren’t mobsters supposed to have endless bucks?  Stashed in the attic?

Last night our attics were robbed.  We were left feeling violated.  We were confronted with an honesty, a reality so rarely seen in modern media.  They’re going to take these people from our lives.  It’s like a death in OUR family.  We’re on the inexorable path towards mourning, as TV’s greatest dramatic series gets up its gumption and doesn’t end with a whimper, a hollow metaphor like "Seinfeld" or fake sentimentality like "Cheers", but raw, unadulterated truth.  Play with fire, and you might get burned.  Looks like fun being a gangster.  But the bullets are real.  Enjoy the laughs, because your retirement years, they’re never gonna come, you’re never gonna reach them.

One Response to Woke Up This Morning »»


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  1. Comment by Peter Noone | 2007/06/04 at 19:20:43

    I woke up this morning feeling fine!!!

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  1. Comment by Peter Noone | 2007/06/04 at 19:20:43

    I woke up this morning feeling fine!!!

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