Music & Misery: Revealing My Fatal Flaw with Titus Andronicus

Originally published at LYFSTYL Music 

It started off as a debate over job interview dress code, but before Siobhán and I knew it, we were both shouting in argument, creeping downward towards a beast we would both meet head on. Having been down in the mine before, I knew what we would find there, and yet there was little I could do to stop us from tumbling downward. I didn’t even intend to infer I would wear jeans to an interview in the first place, but once saddled with the decision, the beast was free.

I would rather wear jeans, anyway.

“Why would you wear jeans to an interview? Do you even want the job?”

“I don’t know. That’s the point. If they think wearing fancy pants makes the employee, they might not be the type of people I want to work for.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“It’s not dumb, I promise you. It’s a defense mechanism. Dressing up for the sake of dressing up isn’t something I do anymore. I wore a uniform for 12 years and I still remember the tantrum I threw on the first day of Kindergarten when I was told I had to wear the damn thing. I won’t go back.”

“Kevin, you were a kid. That’s not how the world works.”

“I know, but I’m not growing out of it. Remember that old job I told you about? I once had to wake up at 6:00 AM and was asked to wear a TIE to BREAKFAST, and I will never forget how uncomfortable and stupid I felt. You know why? I took a photo to make sure of it.”

“I don’t believe you…”

With the light of my iPhone I revealed the lookalike in all his angry glory. With the lights on he looked alive, but inside I knew he was dead.

It's not that I won't wear a tie, I just won't like it.

It’s not that I won’t wear a tie, I just won’t like it.

 

Illuminated by the LCD screen, Siobhán’s face transformed as she came to grips with what she was looking at. Free and unleashed, my fatal flaw was easy to see. I was the beast, and the beast was me.

I quickly apologized for the speed at which we raced down this dark path of conversation. Having known the beast would rear his ugly head at one point or another, I figured it was best to face him head on. And having received the help of some social lubricants, it felt like as good a time as any. (Today I recognize this is far from the optimal strategy, but working from experience I can tell you there is never a good time to confront such a force.)

Just as Siobhán seemed to pause, so too did the music on the turntable, and I jumped at the opportunity to get up and audibly change the subject. But rather than select something to set the mood back on course, I couldn’t stop thinking about what had just occurred.

“You know, there’s a song about the conversation we just had. It’s by my favourite band, Titus Andronicus. It’s not very sexy, but do you mind if I play it for you?”

As her curiosity overcame caution, Siobhán obliged with a look on her face that said “we’re down here already, I may as well get the full tour.” And with that, I handed her the lyrics sheet that came along with The Most Lamentable Tragedy and put the needle down to begin ‘Fatal Flaw’.

She’s looking after me
She doesn’t know the kind of things I could do if I lose control
I’m letting out the beast
He’s free, unleashed
Will she freak when she sees my capabilities?

Before I could ask her what she thought, she blurted out an excellent piece of honesty…

“Holy shit. Someone had actually written this down before?”

Damn right he did.

I’ve marveled at the parallels between Patrick Stickles’ music and my own life before, but to hear someone else recognize the similarities so vividly was oddly uplifting. After all, Siobhán had no reason to see me in that light, she was just being honest. Just as I was. And although I have previously come to regret revealing my fatal flaw to others, thanks to Patrick and Siobhán especially, I doubt that will ever happen again.

Together, we greet the dawn.