How It Is Nowadays (2003)

by Mailbox

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1.
I'll never have to leave the house again I'll watch through a periscope in my den The pigeons and crows think it's Pearl Harbor And now the girls don't change their maiden name and all the boys' in-laws and folks are the same I swear, the kids these days with their "fast" and their "Microwave" It's not my fault I refuse to take the blame It wouldn't matter if it all went half insane Mr. Stout has married a mannequin Mr. Cutler is chasing the cat again Then their kids gun down Moadel's boy with red spray paint Old maid Morten still sunbathes nude The village idiot sneak a view The pigeons and crows think it's Pearl Harbor I don't see the light, I don't read walls I try not to use my eyes at all It's not my fault I refuse to take the blame It doesn't matter when it's all just a game I could tell you tales of the weird and fantastic But unless you live in a hole It'll be nothing drastic My memory ain't what it used to be At least not what I remember it to be So now although I'm old everything is news to me. I don't see the light, I don't read walls I try not to use my eyes at all It's not my fault I refuse to take the blame It doesn't matter when it's all just a game When I was young and life was good We never spied upon the those in our neighborhood Now times have changed It's not just me I can see a stranger life where nicer times have stood The future ain't what it used to be And all good things must come to an end So remember the way we humor our friends. I could tell you tales of the weird and fantastic But unless you live in a hole It'll be nothing drastic The end of time is always drawing near So could someone point me the way out of here?
2.
Here comes Grandma, let's smile for show Don't tell her something she won't need to know Everything's fine so just plug up the drain The lies we tell grandma will keep her sane We told her the pills were for my hair Either she bought it or just doesn't care The lies we tell grandma are nothing new Grandmother told them to her mother, too And greatgrandma told them to her mother, too The lies we tell grandma will never die Long after she has we'll always lie This is one thing we know is true for delusions make us feel better, too delusions make us feel better, too
3.
You like my little lies You like my skinny ties You like my electric car Even though it don't go very far I like your... I like your... hmmm. You like my copied cassettes You like my Raisenettes You like my Robotron score Stick around and I'll kill even more Don't just sit there warming your hands Sooner or later gotta take a chance I know what you think You're always thinking I know what you think 'Cause I'm always on your mind You like my magazine You like my GOSUB routine You like my 12-sided die Even though you're always wondering why You're playing it quiet like it's some kind of game You got a lot to learn including my name CHORUS You like my chess club pin You like my tinsel grin You like my see-through watch Time is running out better step it up a notch Don't forget to open your parachute pants Or you might mess up your only chance CHORUS
4.
Trauma 03:06
Once when I was 5 years old My mom took me for shoes It's not that that's what she thought I was We went to shop and peruse She saw a pair of bobos One of the better buys They'd probably get me killed But at least they were size Is there a room in the back Where I can try on those She said just change right here So I took off all my clothes Why do I replay the drama? Why do I relive the trauma, huh? Am I hanging on to something too long? A week or sometime later We laid my mother to rest I put on my new shoes And my itchy Sunday best All the family came Friends of the family, too We all hadn't seen each other Since I was pushing 2 My cousin had a camera My aunts were shedding tears I wanted to lift their spirits So I gave them rabbit ears Why do I replay the drama? Why do I relive the trauma, huh? Am I hanging on to something too long? I wonder if they're still laughing at me I wonder if they've wondered if I've let it be For all the times that I worry or fret They probably don't remember but I'll never forget
5.
I've lost so much sleep over you I sold my pillow, Sold it to a man who said He just wanted to sleep all the time he had no worries, He had nothing on his mind And he said, "Thank you for the pillow, Jitter boy" I can't drink my coffee anymore It's too damn mellow, Slows me down and makes me feel I'm stuck in a tub full of grinds I'm on top of everything, I've even left the future behind singing, "Get thee from my sight, I'm jitter boy." Hits a nerve and shakes my head Speed of lightning rising Now I'm welded to the bolt 'lectric sizing measuring the jolt I'm screaming, "Bring on the juice! I'm Jitter Boy!" I speak so low, my running mouth, my sweeping points, my higher ground, What I know I will speak aloud Mandible joints echo the sound and I waited so long until the thing that never came - never came Jitter Boy wanna know what da jitter and da pitter patter of love is all about Jitter Boy wanna know why da twitter-pated spitter of wit got jitters too All you need is patience and trust All you need is patience and trust Just wait for time to dissolve My talk could fill magic books with oral scent and I?d never take a whif into my scent even if death sat right down behind me and tried and tried and tried and I'd float right though its hood just like a slinky buddah should and I'd remain unclassified until this very day... day or night: which light could make me take in a stray... a stray of light, or ray of light, or any given beams, I take the darkness out myself and then I say to thee Don't need no stinkin light, got my own damn stinkin light Don't need no stinkin light, got my own damn stinkin light I got my own damn light Nervousness is Godliness, in fact It's clear and hollow Finds a place and sets its sights Between every point in the grid Drives like Fittapaldi And I'm hanging on the tail pipe yelling, "Look Ma ma, no hands, I'm Jitter Boy."
6.
Dr. Eckstein 04:55
I suppose, like me, you wonder what on Earth I'm doing here. I'll fix your bones, cure your stones, and be home in time for beer. I need a long vacation, I'm still living at home I'll take a paid sick day, Tijuana on the phone Paging Dr. Eckstein - Tijuana on the phone Tourist information - Listen for the tone (ping!) Embarassed by the p.a. Good thing no one's listening My overpaid secretary always seems to be missing Mrs. Cronin's moanin' like a dog bit by a hare I'll bet her mouth is foaming and I'll bet that I don't care I don't want to die here - Don't want to be here Just want to fly I got to disappear - Won't wait 'til next year Tijuana time Dassa what I'm a-gonna do Gonna take a Coffee break ... siesta ... Again I'm in my office, hmm. When did I get back here? Last I knew, oceans blue and I'm drinking yellow beer Pamphlets on my mesa with photos of cerveza Served by pretty ladies and I'm stuck here in my Hades Paging Dr. Eckstein - Tijuana on the phone Tourist information - Another chance is blown Old man Arnold Lipschitz, I think he died again I think I sewed my scalpel up next to my favorite pen. The muzak rips my soul like an old infected cactus I'll show up to my wake wearing a black suit of malpractice I don't want to die here - Don't want to be here Just want to fly I got to disappear - Won't wait 'til next year Tijuana time Dassa what I'm a-gonna do Gonna take a Coffee break ... siesta ... I don't remember med school. I don't where I live. I know that I'm just passing time that's passing through a sieve. I've been here in the break room for an hour maybe three. I'm thinking that I'll stay here just pretending that I'm free. Yeah, dassa what I'm a-gonna do
7.
She's coming here this weekend She's coming here but she won't be here for long She won't hear me sing her song She's coming here to see me She's coming here but I'm gonna fake her out I'll be at the pub no doubt... Drinking She'll want my love but I'll be Drinking She'll want my love but I'll be Drinking Maybe she'll be upset But I won't have one regret at all This wouldn't be the first time This won't be the last time I have to sprint Maybe she'll get the hint There are other girls out there There are other girls who would not put up with me Still, I would rather be... Drinking that's just my thing 'cuz I'll be Drinking my phone'll ring but I'll be Drinking I can't be responsible If I'm not available at all. She's coming here this weekend She's coming here but she won't be here for long She won't hear me sing her song Drinking She'll want my love but I'll be Drinking She'll want my love but I'll be Drinking Maybe she'll be upset But I won't have one regret at all I guess i's no surprise I'm lonely I guess it's no surprise I'm lonely There never was a girl, I'm lonely now
8.
The lamp is rusty and the light's getting dimmer The book is further and his glasses get thicker His little girl is in some high dudgeon She's got it in for the old curmudgeon Father Time slept through his greatest defiance Happy Birthday, Freak of Science The kitchen table has a checkered pattern Now he's planned another trip to Manhattan She's been thinking that she may as well be barren But the stove top's cooking and she's not sharing Mother Nature used a household appliance Happy Birthday, Freak of Science He hums a ditty as he shuffles the broom She's screaming murder in the other room He's in the city somewhere in his dreams As another voice has joined the choir of screams And now it wonders if it should know these giants Happy Birthday, Freak of Science Whether you could believe this is what she conceived, this is what you are made of. This is what you will be.
9.
Garden Gnome 04:22
Off into the grown-up world I went I was once a little innocent Now it's just another memory Fading hints at what I used to be I used to be oblivious to pain Slept without a worry in my brain I wish I had the map I dreamed of in a nap to find my way Would they ever know If I went back home? No one lives there now Except my little garden gnome Once there was a little girl I knew She grew up to miss her childhood too So she wrote to me in purple ink Is it possible? What do you think? Could we really find our way back to the time When all the world was yours and it was mine? I'll take a little nap and try to find the map to find our way Would they ever know If I went back home? No one lives there now Except the little garden gnome Garden Gnome is waiting for us He's sending out a line Garden Gnome is calling for us He's putting up the sign Welcome Back Class of Way Back The map was in your head The dotted lines The hidden signs And there I was in bed A hundred years ago, give or take There was a little boy who'd stay awake So he'd never lose sight of it Still, he aged but never grew a bit Now every year on the 4th of June He sends the signal bouncing off the moon So big boys and girls Lost in their grown-up world Can get home soon

about

This is the first Mailbox album featuring the 2001-2005 Vermont band. It's a much better album for having all those extra hands in the pot. Jeff, Chris and Jay all helped in the arrangement and development of these tunes. I'm also especially proud of the lyrics I wrote for How It Is Nowadays and how I managed to tell the same story ten times from ten unique perspectives. Yes, it is a concept album but I purposely was never explicit about the common thread at the time.

The lyrics were written during periods when I was young and obsessive and addicted to coffee. Tunnel vision takes over most of the time except for the fleeting moments of clarity when we can look at our past and see all the madness that lead us to our present ... and watch that madness play out all over again.

I've always touched on these themes in my music and lyrics and I think I nailed it with this album. This is perhaps why this was the last Mailbox album that I would classify as geek rock. After a handful of albums I finally perfected my message and it was time to move on. I have a whole new set of neuroses and ideas to explore now.

credits

released October 31, 2003

remixed 2019
Adam Rabin - lead vocals, keyboards, guitar / Jeff Margolis - bass guitar, vocals / Jay Ekis - guitar, vocals / Chris Johnston - drums
with Larry Grodeska, Sara Rabin, Alen Cileli and Greg Skillman
Album cover by Martha Hull

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Adam Rabin Burlington

Where Prog Rock meets Geek Rock. Adam Rabin is a Vermont songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who has also played with Elephants of Scotland, Mailbox, and musical improv troupe She Thicc. You can also hear Adam’s music on the podcasts: Improvised Weapons, Improv Overdrive, What The Hell Are You Watching, and Vermont Favorites. ... more

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