The Big American dream is dead. It’s hanging over them like a corpse swinging in the poplar tree out back. They see their quandary and they stand there in that awareness. They have fallen back on banjos, sustainable food, craft beer and a hipster ideal. On some level, behind the handlebar mustaches, tattoos, gauges and ego identification is a sensibility grounded in something more important than money and success. Can it be obnoxious sometimes—yes. But I feel in some ways it’s a hope for the future that might have the potential to make America somewhat great again.
Jeff Finlin In one of my other lives, I worked as a waitress and then a cook at a restaurant called The Slice of Life in Nashville. The restaurant was on Music Row, and we served vegetarian food, mainly, to music industry professionals and celebrities. I waited on folks like Emmylou Harris, Garrison Keillor and once, Bono. The restaurant was owned by a crazy Korean woman who loved us as if we were her own but who chastised us as if we were her own, too. She has since died, unfortunately, but working there was wild. Being Korean in the eighties in Nashville, TN was certainly an oddity, and The Slice (as we affectionately called it) served homemade kim chi, scallion pancakes and other Asian delicacies, as well as hippie dippie natural food. All the baked goods were whole wheat, we had a juicer for carrots, and when I moved into the kitchen as a cook, I was trained by a guy named Paul who was the chef on work furlough from prison, where he'd been serving time for murdering his wife.
One of my favorite people at The Slice was a fellow waiter named Jeff, and like most waiters at the Slice (except for me), he was a musician -- an extraordinary drummer, songwriter and singer. We all grew up and moved on, and Jeff became quite a well-known musician. He's writing a lot now, too, and this morning I opened up his blog and read one of the most interesting and visionary things I've ever read about the youth of our country. It made my heart soar, and I think you should read it right this very second. Then you might want to click on over and listen to Jeff's gravelly, soulful voice and call it a very good day.