Come on, can’t I dream for one day
There’s nothing that can’t be done
But how long should it take somebody
Before they can be someone

‘Cause I know there’s got to be another level
Somewhere closer to the other side
And I’m feeling like it’s now or never
Can I break the spell of the typical

Ah, yes. The sound of the Angsty Young Man. These are lyrics from a song I like called "Typical" by Mute Math. How long should it take somebody before they can be someone? I guess that depends on your definition of "someone." Ideally, you should always think you are someone, pretty much from the time of your cognizance of being a separate being. Infants and toddlers and preschoolers always think they are someone. Maybe it's the first time you hear "JUST WHO IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?" that causes a questioning of your personal value. Who who, who who.

"Someone" in this case, probably means being different, standing out, making a change that is noticed and admired by many. Or maybe just enough to get lots of groupies. Either/or. I get it. Been there. Feeling like the everyday usual job, usual life was not right and never would be, waiting for something to happen.

Because it’s dragging me down
I’d like to know about when
When does it all turn around

I'm just the typical
I'm just the typical

Another level, the other side. Grass is greener. Sometimes. Mostly not, though. You can achieve all kinds of things in life and still feel like you've never done a thing worthwhile. You can toil away in your cubicle and feel very fulfilled and productive. The outside stuff is just that. Anything of any meaning, your "someoneness," comes from only you. However, let us not get carried away, as our friend Mr. Rogers did:

I think you're a special person
And I like your ins and outsides.
Everybody's fancy.
Everybody's fine.
Your body's fancy and so is mine.

Now, I'm sorry, but Fred Rogers, as much as I like him, did not have a fancy body; in fact, he was pretty weedy. He was not fancy, although he was fine. Someone who is 800 lbs. and cannot get out of bed because he has someone BRINGING HIM FOOD ALL DAY LONG is neither fancy nor fine. This would also be a misuse of the word "special." Everything is not beautiful in its own way, nor fancy. Gimme a break. I blame "I'm OK, You're OK" and "Free To Be...You and Me" for the start of this blather. Stupid narcissistic 1970s.

But again, yes, I get it. The repressive cultural climate at the turn of the 20th century carried on through the 1950s, began the turn in the 60s, and went totally the other way beginning in the 70s through the 80s. Going from "you are an unworthy piece of crap" to "everything you do and say and think and feel is wonderful" is quite the interesting process to examine over the course of a lifetime or so. Of course, neither view is correct. LOL zeitgeist.

I won't take all that they hand me down,
And make out a smile, though I wear a frown,
And I won't take it all lying down,
'cause once I get started I go to town.

'cause I'm not like everybody else,
I'm not like everybody else,
I'm not like everybody else,
I'm not like everybody else.

And I don't want to ball about like everybody else,
And I don't want to live my life like everybody else,
And I won't say that I feel fine like everybody else,
'cause I'm not like everybody else,
I'm not like everybody else.

Forty-some years separates that Kinks song from the Mute Math song, but it is the same expression. Breaking away, breaking apart, creating something...else, but what that is might not be clear. There is something particularly wrenching about knowing you are unhappy, but not knowing how to change it, or knowing what "it" is, even. Just knowing something is not right. Why is it that so much of the creative process seems borne of this? I'll tell you something that is fancy and special and beautiful and different: taking that and making something out of it. To struggle and still bother; that is a worthy and good thing.

When Ray Davies does "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" in concert, he will stop singing and let the audience sing the chorus. The humor is not lost on me.

How long should it take somebody before they can be someone? How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

The world may never know.