Xuan Nguyen 6/14/11 Mr.

Walsh AP English Stranded in the Rye “In the middle of the journey in our life I found myself again in a dark wood So dark, that the straight way was utterly lost.” Dante’s Inferno, Canto 1

There are days when I move for the sake of motion. I often ponder this unbearabl e passage of time that is my life. Life is torturous; a mirror image of Dante’s In ferno, with a few variations. Often times, I feel as if no one understands how I feel because my mind is a clouded wasteland of insanity. I never have bad days; just bad moments. Nothing bad could happen at all and I am riddled with memorie s that wouldn’t really bother a normal person. Every so often, when I lie awake at night struggling with insomnia or when I scamper around in broad daylight, I dw ell on every little thing that is seemingly irrelevant. There will be times when I think about the direction that my life is going in and I get a mini anxiety a ttack. I refuse to accept growing up and I hardly ever take any of my responsibi lities seriously. I honestly can’t even name three responsibilities I have right n ow. That’s how much care I put into my life. On top of that, in the words of Holde n Caulfield, everyone is a phony. Humanity sickens me and sometimes I just wishe d everyone a happy funeral. My desert island is a living hell; a never ending re petition of all the things I hate. Music is the universal escape from this desert island that we are all stranded o n. Whether it’s a boring a job, cancer, an actual deserted island, we are all stra nded by some unfortunate circumstances. Even as a whole, society and humanity ar e stranded by the mundane, mediocrity of existence. The music has “more to do with what [we] care about” rather than who we believe “deserves the first spot in the Ha ll of Fame.”1 The music we choose is the music that is relevant to our own lives. Whether we realize it or not, the music reveals a part of ourselves to others an d often times to our own selves. When I am stranded, a great way to help me escape is through music. I just plug in my headphones, and depending on which level of hell I’m in, I choose a band or an album to listen to. I can find solace for pretty much all levels of my Hell i n Asking Alexandria’s new album “Reckless & Relentless.” People slap on many different genres for this band – metalcore, heavy metal, post hardcore, trance, deathcore, screamo, techno, angry shouting. I just simply call it screamo. When I’m in this m ental rut, I put on some music and I forget everything. It replaces all the emot ions I currently feel with the ones it exerts. This album is especially upliftin g because they band incorporates “their inner rock n’ roll,” so their music would be r eally catchy; an instant pick-me-up (Alternative Press). As bad and unbelievable as this may sound, I have a serious irrational aggressio n issue. This one time I passed in my study guide for a class at the end of the period and the teacher looks at me and says, “I’m not accepting that.” I was livid. Th e packet is like twenty-five pages of worthless knowledge that no one in the cla

ss even remembers. She thinks she’s fulfilling the role of a teacher by tossing a couple packets on our desks and then handing us a test two weeks later. I just s aid “uh, ok” with as much attitude, snark and venom as I could and stomped back to m y desk. It’s really funny, hilarious actually, that two weeks later, when our next study guide was due, I was one of the few who passed it in while everyone else gave it to her a week later. Teachers are a bunch of phonies; they think they ca n act however they want towards their students just because their job grants the m the miniscule amount of authority that they will ever possess in their lives. Times like these, I put on “Morte et Dabo” off my desert island disc to calm myself down. The song is pretty controversial; it incited the entire Christian communit y and was deemed “extremely childish and retarded.”2 Oh the irony of those words, bu t commentary on such criticism is due for another time. In context, the song describes Lucifer getting tossed from Heaven but one can in terpret that the overall “theme” of this story is going against a figure of authorit y that controls you. The example with the teacher is just one of many. Teachers aren’t the only phonies. My parents and bosses and classmates and customers are al l phonies. The recurring image that depicts my life is that scene in the Lion Ki ng when Scar is in his lair and he puts his paw to his forward and says in an ex asperated voice “I’m surrounded by idiots.” People will be rude, kids will be dumb, pa rents will be annoying and I’m just trapped. It’s cathartic to hear “bitch I’ll fucking find you, I’ll tear your eyes right out of your self-righteous face.” It’s the perfect song to listen to when I just want to rage. Instead of going around kicking bab ies and disrespecting my surroundings, I can just peacefully listen to the music and calm down; to be angry vicariously through the music. Even though I am terrified of growing up, living in Malden has made me crave ind ependence and greater things. It’s hard to believe that a year from now, I will be going to college. I feel exactly the same now as I did when I was in sixth grad e, granted that I am just slightly more knowledgeable. Why do I hate Malden so m uch? Well, I will kindly say that people can’t help what they are. That being said , what the heck is wrong with the world. There’s one pregnant chick smoking outsid e Dunkin Donuts, and another group of stupid boys kicking a soccer ball around t he streets, purposely hitting cars, and this one old man in Dunks griping about how we are taking up seats and not even eating when there’s about twelve empty cha irs in the four feet radius. I am just sick of this washed up town. But, I am af raid to grow up. The song “The Match” is about lighting a single match that could de stroy a whole city. A bit arsonous but it’s like a breath of fresh air; What a Par adox! It opens with “I think it’s time I make my own way/I’m turning my back on this c ity and I’m not looking back.” After an epic techno or dubstep (whatever they call i t these days), there’s an even more epic outro. The techno beats get more intense until it just transitions into a heavy riff and screaming. Danny screams “the fire fills the skies as the smoke kills my lungs/what a beautiful notion/ a single a ction brings this city to motion.” This song voices my opinions on leaving behind a washed up town and just move onto my life as an adult. It takes away the fear and indecision that plagues me. I have no idea what I’m going to do after college. It’s daunting that everyone has some sort of idea and I’m just chilling here. Leavi ng behind Malden symbolizes my true coming of age; it symbolizes growing up and moving on away from everything that I hate about this place and the people in it . Everything just seems ten times worse when you have to deal with it every day. I’m stuck in the rye, with all the romping children, fearful of the phony adult world and the phony adult responsibilities. This song gives me the desire to act ually leave and begin a new chapter in my life. I hate being sad. It’s a stupid, wimpy emotion. You could either sit around dwelli ng about how freaking sad you are or you can just let go and move on with your l ife. I would always opt for the latter, always, but unfortunately, a level of my Hell is being depressed. Lot’s of things make me sad – death, homeless people, life . One of my best friends made some comment about how I hate spending time with m y family and it just annoyed me for like two days. Immediately, every thing that

she’s ever said just came back to haunt me and of course I dizzy with anger but i n the end it just made me really sad because it’s true. I’ve distanced myself from m y family, but I think we’ve all quietly agreed to sever these ties. We’re just a gro up of people living together because we have to. But, it’s not like I want to have a dysfunctional family. God, I’m like bred to be a serial killer. But when times are sad, I play “Dedication,” and I smile…kind of. It’s a recitation of something a Bri tish actor once sad. I wish I could insert a clip because you need to hear the w ords, with the music, and the harmony going on in the background. My favorite li ne is “it’s hard to remember the good times when there’s just so much heartache.” I don’t know if it’s Ben Bruce’s accent when he says “heartache” or how true those words ring bu t I always find myself mentally nodding to this. Obviously, life is not an episo de of Dora the Explora where issues are quickly resolved and a talking map guide s you through all the obstacles of life. It sucks being sad and the reason it’s a level of hell is because it’s hard to deal with. No one wants to be sad, but since I am Holden Caulfield’s modern counterpart, I don’t deal with it well. I don’t unders tand the complexities of human suffering. It’s hard to remember the good times whi le pushing through all the bad times. But I can’t let this affect my perspective o n everything and everyone. It’s just a waste of time. My desert island is the inferno I’m living in. If it’s not the sadness, it’s the anger or it’s the fear. I escape this predicament with the intense drumming, brutal scr eams, and heavy guitars in Asking Alexandria’s music. Listening to music is like r eading a book or watching a movie, you become immersed in it and it temporarily makes you forget your troubles. Better yet, it often offers wise advice because each and every song comes from a person who was once stranded there, too.