Let's be Beage. Age forty. White. Brown hair. Six feet tall, maybe two-hundred pounds. Married twelve years to the girl we got set up with after college, who teaches history to middle school kids. Let's live in a townhome in a suburb of Washington, population 71,000, with our two sons, Oscar, nine, and Jack, four, and our dog, Melvin, and drive thirty minutes to work at an engineering firm, where we and the team we lead help rezone properties for developers to build what they're dreaming of. Let's drink beers at our work lunches, wear sideburns that border on muttonchops, and buy a leather iPhone case that looks like an old prayer book. Let's believe in God, but skip church. After the kids are in bed, let's record songs on our iPad in our basement, where our kids keep all their toys and we do the same, our guitars and amps and accordion and pedal organs and our bottles of Scotch tucked away in closets and cabinets. Let's mow our own lawn. Let's have a car payment. Let's have a mortgage and a habit of railing against home ownership, which we call a crock. Let's have, overall, a softness that makes us attractive in a spatial sense, makes it easy for people to want to get close to us. Let our talents glean to music, and let's develop those talents to where we can pick up any instrument handed to us and play "I"m a Believer" or "In My Life" well enough for everyone in the room to sing along. But mostly, let's play those songs alone, in our basement, our friend since fourth grade living 2,800 miles away, where his guitar case sits behind his bedroom floor, coated in dust.
and yet - is the alternative better?