life, love, and music

bee and macey @ baktun, nyc.

(originally published in ON THE VERGE v3.0 e-mail monthly - September 5, 2001)

labor day, 2001:

recently, i forgot how old i was. i went through about two months this summer thinking and telling others that i was 26. i'm actually 27. what's more, my hair is thinning out in the front. grays are more noticeable, too. they never lie flat - they always stick straight out and they're always the longest strands. so not only did my mother's side of the family shaft me on height (i'm 5' 9"), the males on her side cursed me with premature hair loss. thanks a lot, grandpa. it's a good thing for me that i can carry off the bald look. whatever hopes close friends of mine carried that i might grow locks again have certainly been taken out back and beaten to death. my wife actually had the nerve to ask me if i had ever considered Rogaine. i believe my answer was an emphatic "HELL NO!!"

however, if you were to talk with my mom, she'd tell you that i've been "old" for most of my life. at age three, most kids play with toys. i was sitting up in a recliner reading the New York Times...when i wasn't listening to music. (there's a picture of me dragging Roberta Flack's *Quiet Fire* over to the record player at 11 months old. the vinyl was almost as big as me.) i would have full-length conversations with old men in the park. my mom once relayed some advice to me that an older woman had given her after talking with me. she said to my mother, "you have a really bright child there...but he's OLD. whatever he wants that will help him in life, GET IT FOR HIM. keep that child busy...or else you are going to have an intelligent criminal on your hands."

damn, was it that noticeable?

if you want to find out how old you are real quick, go to an all-ages rave. my wife and i did recently. not on purpose, mind you: the age limit got changed two weeks before the event (low ticket sales, perhaps?). so we represented for the old school geriatric raver clique, dancing beside kids half our age. for one 14 or 15 year-old that i met there, it was his first party. and i'm thinking to myself, what was i doing at 14 or 15? i was involved in high school plays. i was discovering the subversive nature of college radio and having my first encounters with Negativland, Frank Zappa, The Legendary Pink Dots, and De La Soul. if i went out to dance, it was a teen night at a club or a roller rink. i wouldn't have even entertained the thought of an all-night outing. my first rave wasn't until i was 18.

beth and i had fun, though. i don't care what anybody says, MARRIAGE IS THE BOMB. i can't even begin to tell you how beautiful it's been, complete with ups and downs, trials and tribulations, pros and cons. i wouldn't change a thing - it's all helped me grow. if anyone were to tell me a decade ago that my intensely independent self would be married, i would've said they were nuts. one of the most insightful things GOD ever said was that "it is not good for man to live alone." i know it all too well...yet i still keep trying to do everything on my own. go figure...

ever try to learn new recording technologies while within the bonds of holy matrimony? not the easiest task in the world. these days, it's not enough for a DJ to have a tape and a business card. when i tell present-day heads that i'm a DJ, the first thing they wanna know is where they can find mp3s or RealAudio mixes of my sets. EXCUSE ME?? i just burned my first CD full of mp3s two weeks ago. i have yet to learn how to transfer and edit my mixes for CD. i'm still trying to figure out how to get that grainy texture out of scanned photos and people wanna hear me on the Net??? HAVE MERCY ON ME, O LORD. when does a newlywed find the time for this? i'm starting to feel like that family member everybody makes fun of because they still can't program their VCR.

to be honest, there are days i feel like making my own deadlines for ON THE VERGE are hectic enough. i often wonder how much longer i can keep this up. should i just put the pen aside and leave this sort of thing for URB, XLR8R, The Fader, The Wire, and the rest? should i build a Web site memorial, post all the rants and make a sub-section for my own mixes and original tracks? after almost three years of creating my own product and voicing my opinion on various sounds, it is only within the last few months that i've actually felt comfortable talking to people about myself and my talents without worrying if i sound conceited or not. sometimes i think i've waited too long to do so. this field is saturated with DJs, producers, multimedia artists and music aficionados with opinions of their own - why would the world need another? all i can really bank on is the hope that i offer people a different angle, another slant, the ability to take all that isn't new under the sun (which is just about everything) and make something different through juxtaposition, comparison, and combination.

so with the last bit of energy that's in me, i present the latest installment. sometimes it's just nice to keep it simple. hope it agrees with you, and thanks for reading...

{jason randall smith}

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