Time is never time at all
You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth
And our lives are forever changed
We will never be the same
The more you change the less you feel
Believe, believe in me, believe
That life can change, that you’re not stuck in vain
We’re not the same, we’re different tonight
Tonight, so brightTonight
And you know you’re never sure
But your sure you could be right
If you held yourself up to the light
And the embers never fade in your city by the lake
The place where you were born
Believe, believe in me, believe
In the resolute urgency of now
And if you believe there’s not a chance tonight
Tonight, so bright
We’ll crucify the insincere tonight
We’ll make things right, we’ll feel it all tonight
We’ll find a way to offer up the night tonight
The indescribable moments of your life tonight
The impossible is possible tonight
Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight
(The Smashing Pumpkins)
That song reminds me of so many things – I first heard it when I was in junior high school. I wasn’t sure what Billy was singing and I didn’t like the name of the band. When I was little, some fools smashed our pumpkins on Halloween while we were trick or treating at my grandparents’ neighborhood. They smashed our pumpkins’ faces in, except for the littlest pumpkin. Mom scooped up the remains of the pumpkins and built a pumpkin snowman by our front door. Trick-or-treators commented on our interesting snowman pumpkin creation. Their tones were slightly smug – they had put the proverbial blood over the doorpost and the spirit of Halloween Ugliness spared their pumpkins.
I remember a kid in my 8th grade English class wearing a Smashing Pumpkins tee-shirt and I thought, “Does he not know that smashing pumpkins is the cruelest thing you can do to a child?” I think the guy’s name was Jason, but we never spoke. It’s unfortunate that the Smashing Pumpkins came between us.
So all that said, it’s ironic that Frank would be the biggest Smashing Pumpkins fan I know. Fortunately for Frank, I healed from my Halloween wounds of 1992 (though I will always carry with me the saddest image ever of three lopsided pumpkins stacked in front of our door, with one small, grinning gord on top – grinning like it was all he had… and because he saw what happened to his friends). I remember when Frank confessed his adoration for the quirky group – that he was collecting as many bootlegged live songs as he could get his hands on. And then when we started dating, the Smashing Pumpkins resurfaced as a happy band – Zwan. Happiness is not something that Billy Corrigan does well, though we will always have “Honestly” from the days of Zwan. If there is one thing I learned – Smashing Pumpkins best music was born from the first horrifyingly melancholy moment where you realize that the bright orange smeared on the black pavement is, in fact, YOUR PUMPKIN, laid out for all the world to see. And even if your mom scoops the pumpkin up from the pavement, you will always feel violated that someone would think to take your finest moment and hurtle it into the street with a glib, smirking face.
So I guess what I’m saying is that Zwan didn’t have a chance because what can you sing about after you kill children’s dreams? And I guess I am also saying that the least that Billy Corrigan could do is give Frank and I one decent, relatively chipper song to hang onto as “our song.”
But it won’t bring back the pumpkins of 1992.
And that, Mr. Corrigan, is the infinite sadness of which you speak.