Widowhood Season 8.4: The Boys from Bard

Two Against Nature, Steely Dan, Two Against Nature

Out of all the wonderful music Kevin introduced me to, Steely Dan has had the deepest impact on my soul. Their music is full of cynical sentiments set to music expressing a wide variety of emotions that I could lose myself in whenever I was feeling something I couldn’t quite articulate. In other words, exactly what a former catholic schoolgirl nerd turned budding hedonist stoner nerd needed to hear in her early twenties. You ever have music just click with your soul in your early twenties that you wouldn’t really have given a chance a few years earlier? That was Steely Dan for me.

In mid ’98, I took advantage of a good paying job (and Columbia House’s deals) and snapped up Steely Dan’s catalog. As part of my work routine, I’d pop 6 albums into my CD player, hit shuffle, and started to fall in love with the music. That was the first time I’d ever explored a band in that manner. I’d make note of the songs I particularly enjoyed and noticed they were pretty evenly spread across all the albums.

One day in early 2000, a friend/client stopped by for a visit after work (he worked nearby). His visit was short and very sweet– he left an advance copy of Two Against Nature, the eagerly awaited new Steely Dan album. It was a big thing for Kevin and I to have the experience of hearing a brand-new Steely Dan album together, for the first time, before most of the world got a chance to hear it! (I’d already learned that when you’re good at what you do and kind to the people you do it for, you get little treasures like this from time to time.) The album soon was on regular rotation, both at home and in the car. We almost seemed determined to love these songs as much as the rest of their stuff. When the album was officially released, I bought a copy. I had to be counted amongst those who ran out and bought the album the first day it was released, even though I’d already fallen in love with the album.

Kevin and I soon dubbed ourselves “two against nature” as we were a mixed race, self-employed, childfree cohabitating couple with 5 cats. If memory serves me correct, he used the phrase “two against nature” several weeks later during our wedding ceremony . . . or was it during the proposal? (They both happened during the same week, and it’s often bittersweet to recall, so cut me some slack, please.)

When we moved to Wrightwood (around the time Everything Must Go was released, ironically) and took over care of the trio of chickens, I wanted to be clever about naming them. Two hens and a rooster? Deacon, Peg, and Josie, of course! We’d go on to take on a couple of hens I named Janie and Abby after the original hens died. Out of all the geeky things I’ve done in my life that still make me giddy years later, naming my chickens after Steely Dan songs is probably the geeky magnum opus of my thirties.

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