Don’t you love how some songs take you back? I’m going through a stage of listening to CDs in my van that I haven’t heard in ages; one that I’ve put in there recently is the American Idiot album by Green Day, which I listened to a fair bit when it came out. I was playing through the album one journey, smiling at memories from that period of my life. The smile changed when I heard the drum beat and the acoustic guitar intro to track 7, “Give me novacaine”. Straight away my memories turned to a good few years ago when I was living at home and having a lot of pain in my stomach. When these really intense pains came on I used to hide away in my bedroom to let them pass, often with music on in the background. I would normally ride them out on my bed, curled in a ball pulling in on my stomach like in the picture below. Needless to say this was a long way from a fun occurrence, especially when it happened daily and sometimes multiple times a day. More often than not this would happen just after eating, regardless of how safe or adventurous I had been with my meal choice.
I guess this song stuck out from the rest because some of the lyrics seemed to fit; the reference to the sensation being overwhelming and even the opening line “Take away the sensation inside” all seemed to relate to how I felt. Unfortunately for me, there was nothing that I could take to make much difference; no novocaine equivalent in my case. I’ve read a fair few different theories on hidden meanings behind the song about love, conflicting alter-egos, wanting to escape either pain or other stuff going on in the world. For me: I’ve been taking the lyrics at face value; to me the song is talking about using this painkilling drug called novocaine to ease the physical pain that the person is feeling. I guess you could say that I was hoping for something that could make a difference. I used to take some painkillers when things were bad, and tried a number of different reliefs from the pain, however I never really found anything to make a difference. It’s strange; I moved out about 6 years ago; a lot of experiences have been had and a lot of music has been listened too in that time. But just the introduction of the song managed to bring back that feeling, that period of my life as though I had just seen an old photograph in a dusty box at the back of a cupboard.
Now note here that I said the smile didn’t disappear as I listened to the song. It just changed. It changed from one reminiscing happy memories from the previous songs to one that was perhaps more reflective. It was the smile of a guy recognising that yes: he had had these darker parts of his life, but also a guy who is now – for the time being at least – out of the woods with those problems. He knows that he had these dark times, and that there is a fair to good chance that he will find himself in this situation again in the future. However: he hasn’t given in or let this knowledge get him down. In short: he’s a stubborn little sod who’s not letting this past or this potential future occurrence stop him!