Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rust Never Sleeps

That’s the title of a Neil Young album, about a decade after I really liked him.

(One of my fond early teenaged memories is having my sister identify the track on After the Gold Rush—"Southern Man," of course—that I liked best without my telling her; she figured it out just by the way it rocked.)

I think Neil meant it pretty literally and I’m sure he’s right. (Being the owner of steel bikes in the wet Northwest, I think about that all the time, especially as I’m wiping down my frame after another rainy ride.)

But today, I noticed how the metaphorical rust never sleeps either. Having not been to the yoga studio in a couple days—Sunday off, then Monday, practicing at home—combined with a general inability to get up and out of bed in time for a full practice but two days last week, I felt especially stiff and old on the mat this morning. I remarked how quickly one backslides when the practice isn’t truly consistent.

When I studied t’ai chi as hippy boy on the Panhandle in Golden Gate Park back in the late mid-seventies, my teacher, Bing Leong (IIRC), used to say that missing one day of practice set you two days back. While I’m not sure I agree—the potential for getting into negative numbers seems too great—the math makes sense. If I miss today, then tomorrow, at best, I’m where I was yesterday, 48 hours behind.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” wrote Emerson, and no doubt, that’s true, too. “Staying the course” at all costs represents at best, a lack of imagination, at worst, a strategy for disaster.

Still, sometimes there is something to be said for old-fashioned gumption—knuckling down and forging ahead in spite of temptations to throw in the towel.

If rust never sleeps, shouldn’t I at least get out of bed and head off to the yoga studio?


Anonymous Alberto said...

Rust Never Sleeps – some metaphor. Is that originally Young’s?

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Alberto said...

Sorry but I couldn’t wait. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rust_Never_Sleeps:

“The title is borrowed from the slogan for Rustoleum paint, and was suggested by Mark Mothersbaugh of the New Wave band Devo.”

Ain't that something?

11:40 AM  
Blogger Pissedoffcabbie said...

Mothersbaugh and friends claim to have actually written the jingle for Rustoleum.

Devo had done some recording with Neil Young, and threw that line in somewhere on a track. Neil later called them and asked, "What is rust never sleeps?"

It took an Akron band to inspire Neil out of his hippie slumber and back on track again. He spanked everybody with that album, and took his rightful place as the Godfather of Grunge.

10:39 PM  

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