Reminiscing

by Jim Withington

REM-Part-Lies-Part-Heart-Part-Truth-Part-Garbage

I’m really happy to see them resurrecting this phrase for the end-of-an-era R.E.M. collection.

This post started as a thought for tumblr, something I’d dash off, up up and away, another in a series of things up for attention in a place where I’m not sure anyone pays attention. But I realized I had more to say, more to think about, and saying it here somehow fits.

***

I mention that this phrase, this Part Lies, Part Hart, Part Truth, Part Garbage is a resurrection, and that’s because it is. The first time I encountered it, I saw it on a t-shirt.

You see, I had won first in line at Sears, and with that prize came the ability to purchase the best public seats– 19th row, floor–for R.E.M.’s Monster Tour. Greg and I freaked out so much that we tried to pool our cash together to buy an extra ticket, and of course we ended up selling that one to Candy, the girl we had both “gone out with” in middle school, just a few years prior.

So there we were, at the Rosemont Horizon, and there it was:  a long sleeved t-shirt, dates on the sleeve, and this phrase–Part Lies, Part Hart, Part Truth, Part Garbage–on the back.

[And Hey, this link will eventually break, since ebay is dumb like that, but here it is.]

The show was great. We had fun.  I think it was one of the rare times when Greg and I weren’t crushing on Candy, so we were just kids who had known each other for a long time (I’d known them since 6th grade, they probably knew each other since first or something) sharing a great show.  I actually don’t remember much of it aside from how high and black the ceiling was before the show, and how excited I felt.

That shirt has been one of my go-to travel shirts for years. It’s separating on the neck, as they do. It’s been in the rotation for cold-apartment pj’s and “I need a layer” Homecoming trips.

I love that it says LIES TRUTH HEART GARBAGE on the front, but on the back, they acknowledge, yeah, all of that is in there.

I love that I am rambling because I can’t find the words but I want to find the words.

***

A few weeks ago, I got an IM from one of my friends that knew me back then, a guy who bops in and out of my gchat, who made something of himself by being a hacker and learning the internet ropes back when you could do that just because you liked Industrial and piercings and messing with people on IRC. He was important during one of the more challenging times in my life, long distance relationship #1, a relationship where R.E.M. and the Cure and Counting Crows really became this thing, a shared language, the common words of romantics at the end of their teen years figuring out what to do with all of that feeling.

So I got a random IM that said, “hey man, R.E.M. broke up.” And first I thought, “huh.” And then, “why did he tell me this?”

And then I realized that R.E.M. and “Nightswimming” and crushes and relationships and all of that junk had been such a big part of the time we spent the most together.

Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage.

It was nice to hear from him, and to think about things.  It was nice to think about how much R.E.M. had meant, for a time. I liked being back there. I liked that it was nice to know that I was here, now.

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