I don’t think anyone ever accused the Stones of being too ethical or too moral, but that could just be my age showing. However, as part of my resolution to do more, I am going to broaden my creative thinking.
Sticky Fingers is a great album. From the functional zipper to the actual music. I have my dad’s vinyl, which he probably got soon after it was released, and I don’t even own a record player. (That’s a story for another time.)
Anyway, I have great memories of making breakfast with my dad on the weekends growing up. We’d be standing on opposite sides of the peninsula in their kitchen as he manned the pancakes and eggs on the griddle while I watched with sleepy eyes. There was always music playing in the background. Always. Come on, my parents grew up in the best era of music. It would be a crime if they didn’t share that with their spawn.
I don’t remember the first time I heard “Dead Flowers” but I do remember always knowing all the words. Can you imagine an eight year old singing along with Mick as he talks about shooting heroin in the presence of a prostitute? Amazing.
15 years later, I finally heard the lyrics. At the most perfect timing. I was driving back to Chicago (after a whirlwind of a week) with nothing but my thoughts and Spotify playlists for three hours. As I was passing the exit sign for Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home, I heard the guitar strums come over the speaker that I’d heard so many times before, and I perked up.
It was a come to Jesus moment. There I was, belting out the final line, and I realized all the words that had just come out of my mouth. I replayed it and took it all in once again.
Drug use and dirty sex aside, they were preaching some solid gold. Despite how terrible, mean, or degrading someone may be to you, always do them one better. Always send roses to answer their dead flowers.
Or were they saying to celebrate their death by splurging for nice roses? Lucky for me, I’m Irish, so I expect my death to be celebrated extremely well.
I think it takes far more energy to go out of our way to make someone feel the same way he or she made us feel. We spend time and effort planning to match said actions, and speaking from experience, time and effort wondering if I’m going too far or not far enough when it comes to level of asshole-ness.
I would love to sit here, press submit, have this go live and be able to say to myself, “I am definitely the person that would send the most beautiful bouquet of flowers to any occasion for someone I once loved.” But, alas, I cannot change that quickly. Perhaps that’s the outcome I would reach eventually, but it would take some thinking, a bottle of wine, and a group FaceTime with all my girlfriends. It’s a conscious effort, and a battle, but an effort nonetheless.