Nobody’s Fault But Mine

Right now, on VH1 classic, they’re playing some Celtic/Plant & Page event. Plant’s stomping around this giant pile of rocks singing “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.”

Nobody’s Fault but Mine
Nobody’s Fault but Mine
If I don’t raise my soul [something: to the light, delight]

I have an old version of this on a tape some place, probably from Elias, that is a whole lot different.

It goes:

Nobody’s Fault but Mine
Nobody’s Fault but Mine
If I don’t read and my soul be lost
Ain’t nobody’s fault but mine

The first verse is something like

Sister, she taught me how to read
Sister, she taught me how to read [this one might be “write”]
If I don’t read and my soul be lost
Ain’t nobody’s fault but mine

And the second verse is

I got a Bible in my home
I got a Bible in my home
If I don’t read and my soul be lost
Aint nobody’s fault but mine.

Sadly, for Plant, I like the old one better. I think it resonates on a lot more levels. But listening to Plant got me thinking, maybe I’ve been mis-hearing the old version all this time. It’s kind of a crappy recording from a crappy original, and maybe I’ve just constructed a blues song all about the anxiety of knowing that there’s important information you might need that you lack the skills and patience to access.


Kris Kristofferson

Right when Kris Kristofferson found out he was going in the Hall of Fame, I saw him down to the Hall of Fame at an event Earl Scruggs hosted. They had a “pickin’ party” where there were eight or ten guys who were sitting around singing their own songs, each other’s songs, and laughing and telling stories. Kristofferson was one of them.

Obviously, I don’t know what he’s like in real life, but he came across as very generous to the other musicians. He seemed genuinely delighted to be there and honored to be with them.

Anyway, it’s raining on a Sunday morning that I usually spend with my family and there’s no one home but me and the dog. And it’s got me thinking about Kris Kristofferson, who, I think, writes the best songs about being lonely.

Here’s something the Butcher doesn’t know I know: every Sunday morning, he plays “Sunday Morning Coming Down” either before he leaves the house or on his way to work. It’s a little ritualized loneliness.

My favorite lonely Kristofferson song is “Me and Bobby McGee,” of course. It’s got everything I love–traveling, truckers, singing, nostalgia, and the loss of someone you care about.

Anyway, one of the things I appreciate about him is the way he gets that lonely doesn’t have anything to do with other people, that it’s just the problem with being one sack of blood and guts among many others. You have this internal life that seems so broad and rich (at least I hope you do), but there’s no one to share it with you.

Maybe that’s what we need our gods for, to feel like there’s someone else knocking around in here with us…

Anyway, back to Kristofferson, I think that the songs of his we like in our house get at the way that lonely might be the base state of folks and how, usually, surrounding ourselves with the noise and company of other people allows us to ignore it, and sometimes, being around other people brings that loneliness out into the open in a way you just can’t stand.

Hurray! My dog is scary

So, they’ve not yet caught the guy who’s breaking into people’s houses in the neighborhood and so even the Butcher is locking our doors consistently.

Last night, as I was stumbling to the door, drunk and pissed off, I could find the 4 tampons that magically disappear whenever I fucking need them, a Christmas card from the Shill and her husband, and a bottle of Tylenol I’d forgotten about, but I could not find my car keys in my giant purse of annoyance.

So, I had to break into the house. This is pretty easily achieved with a credit card, which is distressing, when you think about it.

But, as I’m jimmying the lock, from the other side of the door, I hear this low, deep growl, that’s slowly getting louder and louder.

I knew it was Mrs. Wigglebottom on the other side of the door, and even I was a little nervous about opening the door for fear she’d be in mid-pounce.

A dog is definitely the best theft-deterrence one can have in this neighborhood.