Friday, September 7, 2007

The Sound of Your Own Wheels

Do you know what a sabot is? It's ok if you don't, I wouldn't know except that Jamie used one in the episode of the Mythbusters where he built a tortilla-shooting machine.

What is a sabot?

Let's say that I have a small object, like a golf ball, and I try to shoot it out of something large, like a cannon . . . which would probably be pretty cool. But it wouldn't work very well. A canon is built to fire balls that fill the barrel, using gunpowder as a sort of ultimate Draino to clear the blockage. Since my golf ball wouldn't come close to filling the cannon, it would miss out on most of the blast and drop pitifully short. To make the golf ball go further I'd need a sabot.

A sabot is a carrier, it would go around my golf ball but also fill the barrel. When the cannon fired, my sabot would take the full force of the blast, zipping down the cannon while taking the golf ball along for the ride. Then, and this is the most important part, the sabot would fall away. A sabot comes in multiple pieces, so once mine was free of the barrel, it would break apart to let the golf ball keep going.

And that, in a nutshell, is what a sabot does . . . although if you cracked it first, I guess a nutshell could BE a sabot.


I realized today that "The Eagles" are a sabot.

If you're not familiar with The Eagles, tune your radio to a classic rock station, then wait twenty minutes. If there aren't any classic rock stations in your area, why not start your own? It's easy. You can run a successful classic rock station with only five songs!

Hotel California by The Eagles
Simple Kind of Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits
American Woman by Guess Who
Hotel California by The Eagles (you need a second copy for when you wear the first one out)

See, a lot of people I know went through a period in their lives where they liked "The Eagles", even thought they were the "greatest band of all time." But then somewhere along the way, all these people stopped listening to their Eagles albums as they experienced more diverse, interesting, an unique music. And that's fine. But then somewhere else along the way, these people also collectively turned back and said "**** The Eagles!". Suddenly they thought "The Eagles" were terrible, and wondered why they ever loved the live version of "Take It Easy" where they changed the lyrics to say "southern California" so everyone would cheer.*

I think this is wrong, and it's unfair. It's not that "The Eagles" are bad, and in fact you should be grateful for them. Your sixteen-year-old self wasn't ready to hear the artists that you listen to now. At that time, you didn't have the aural or life experience to appreciate diverse, interesting, and unique music. You were a golf ball in a cannon, with the force of musical appreciation going right over you. Something had to get you through that period, let you enjoy music and become interested in it without demanding much from you.

"The Eagles" were your sabot. And when you moved past that place, "The Eagles" fell away.

*And you are a liar if you say you didn't.

No comments: