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I’ve been keeping this blog for a little more than three months now, and I’m doing a bit of quarterly reflection. I have a small confession to make.

This old Jim Croce song is one of the first ones that I used to make myself cry after I decided I should think about crying. I haven’t posted about it before because it’s really not a song I like. This is a song that reaches over into bathos and sentimentality. So it’s not a song I sought out. It came on the radio (yes, the radio) one harried day when I was driving home after a long day, and I made myself listen to it in a way I perhaps never had before.

I thought about what a sad, sad song it is, and how Jim Croce died a tragic, early death in a plane crash. The song’s narrator is pathetic, not just tragic, and he’s the kind of narrator that I’d usually roll my eyes at. But in fact all of us fear somewhere deep down being that kind of person–most of us have been dumped at one point or another and most of us have had things we’ve had a hard time getting over. So, even though I’ve never behaved as this narrator does, I let myself connect to those deep insecurities for a moment. It was cathartic.

But “Operator” also raises issues for me about snobbery and elitism. I’m dedicated to both, I guess, and the sentimental in art is probably going to remain something I have quite a bit of disdain for. But it’s also something that I want to think more about, so this fall I think I’ll set out to do some reading along those lines. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

I feel as though there’s such a fine line between the moving and the mawkish, maybe even overlap. In some ways, “Operator” represents a “return of the repressed” for me, as I’m sure I was a very sentimental child. Where did she go? Why do we deny these childish vulnerabilities so very much? Why do we let fear of being losers overwhelm our compassion? Is it a good or bad thing that I can cry over something I don’t respect?

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