John flopped down on the couch next to me last night after working on his photography blog and sighed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I’m in a funk,” he replied.
Now, I love funk. Not just the music–the word, too. It has such a rich sense to it. Every language has their concepts that just don’t translate well into other languages, and I would not be surprised if some expert told me that “funk” is one of the proprietary words of English. It’s a crazy word. “I’m in a funk” roughly translates to “I’m sad and tired and discouraged. I don’t know what I’m making of my life. For the life of me, I can’t find the path out of this emotional quagmire.” And we’ve all been there.
To borrow from the Neil Diamond: “Song sung blue, everybody knows one.” When I’m down in a funk, I can’t reason myself out of it. I might be able to look what I’m feeling in the face and list off the whys of what’s got me down and the wherefores of why they shouldn’t be dragging me under, but it makes no difference. My usual reaction is to eat chocolate and blow off my responsibilities by watching old movies. By the way, Brando fans, why do you always praise A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront and never mention the way Brando complete outshines Sinatra’s “Luck, Be a Lady“?
When John’s in a funk, I always feel a little helpless. I can tease him, put fluffy kittens into his lap, listen to his frustrations, and offer advice; the truth is, a funk is a state from which no one can extract you but yourself. Sure, people can toss you lifelines and tools, but in my experience, those have a way of hitting me on the head when they land and making me resentful of their presence. No one can make you climb the rope or build a ladder. You have to make the choice to do it your own darn self, and making that kind of choice when you’re in a funk is just not likely to happen.
Here’s where the other type of funk comes in: the musical kind. There’s something about it that changes my mind about life. Maybe this is crazy, maybe this is just me, but when I hear funk, I hear a stronger soul dancing the path in front of me to teach me how to change my own mind. It’s not in the lyrics–seriously, does anyone even know what “Brick House” is about? But I can’t hear those famous opening notes from the Commodores without feeling like somebody who has been a lot lower is showing me the way back out of my funk.
So…to get out of Funky Town, I have to get down in Funky Town. I don’t know why, but that works for me. I could say a lot more on the subject, but I run the risk of sounding like a pompous talking head. So instead, if you’re even feeling the need to be led out of a deep funk, drop by, pop on this playlist, and know that there’s a good chance I’m dancing with you…