Am I Fooling Myself?


I attended a self described “Old Man Concert” recently under a hot Oklahoma night sky. Styx and Yes were playing at the Zoo Amphitheater. Music from the 70’s and 80’s, you say? Definitely old guy stuff in the modern era.

After the show was over and the lights came up, I had a “paradigm improvement” on what it may mean to be “an older man”.

A few years back, admittedly when I was younger, I would frequently talk with some colleagues about my job as a “younger man’s game”. I thought it wise thinking, and it sounded good when I said it, but I think I was fooling myself. Allow me to attempt an contextual explanation:

I was first introduced to “Styx” at around the age of 9. My dad was was a High School Principal at a small school district in East Texas, and he had the task of approving the theme song for the senior banquet. They picked “Come Sail Away.” It was 1975, and current band leader Tommy Shaw had just joined the band at the ripe old age of 22. My dad put the 33 LP on his Realistic/Radio Shack component stereo turntable, and the soft ballad began. We sat in the living room listening, and my dad (an easy listening music fan) was surprised and pleased by the tune. Two verses later, the real rock started.

Fast forward to 2011. The show the other night was great. If I can be as good an accountant/servant/friend when I reach 58 as Tommy Shaw is a musician and performer of that age today, I will likely be on the top of my game.

What’s the key? Passion, and love for what you do. It was obvious last night that Shaw possesses both. At 58, and at the Oklahoma City Zoo, I would expect he could have held back. But he didn’t.

Neither should we. I’ve learned in recent months not to be such an angry young man. And, hopefully, I’ve stopped fooling myself. Please read Shaw’s lyrics, and see if you have as well. Better yet, pull the song of iTunes. It’s cheaper than Starbucks and well worth the time.

Fooling Yourself Lyrics

(The Angry Young Man)

You see the world through your cynical eyes

You’re a troubled young man I can tell

You’ve got it all in the palm of your hand

But your hand’s wet with sweat

And your head needs a rest

And you’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it

Why must you be such an angry young man

When your future looks quite bright to me

And how can there be such a sinister plan

That could hide such a lamb

Such a caring young man

And you’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it

You’re killing yourself if you don’t believe it

Get up, get back on your feet

You’re the one they can’t beat and you know it

Come on let’s see what you’ve got

Just take your best shot and don’t blow it.

Lyrics by: Tommy Shaw

Or…want to see the “youth” take on this song?