I didn’t know that “Just the Way You Are” is Billy Joel’s song, back in 1977. I have liked that song ever since I can remember. But I knew Billy Joel only from his 1983 “Uptown Girl”, a fast song, and hence I associated him with such. Well, better late (at finding out of his range of musical prowess) than never.
Among the song’s lines (these have) fascinated me the most:
I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard, mmm
(I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are)
I was prompted to write this post when I discovered, upon seeing a video of him singing the song, live and on the keys, that this stanza is the refrain in that it’s the one he repeats before he ends.
At first I could hardly believe that I was looking at Billy Joel in a formal suit. Then I noticed that he was sweating profusely. That, itself, was fascinating to me because it seemed he was not bothered by all this liquid on his face. Then I noticed, while the camera was focused on his right profile, that a trickle of liquid is highlighted on a path on his cheek that does not seem to be on the continuity from his forehead. I would have loved to have turned to someone sitting beside me and ask, “Is he crying?”
I have always highly regarded this song. Since this is the first time I have seen somebody singing it live then I wanted to believe that Billy Joel was singing it straight from his heart. Maybe he was singing it to a specific somebody. I liked his “cool” performance because I thought he did not “try hard” at “acting out” at sincerity. He came out as simply sincere.
Recently this song’s “I don’t want clever conversation; I never want to work that hard” has become even more significant to me as I continue to circulate among people who “have lots to say” <– which exactly is what I, many a time, catch my own self doing 😀 😀 !!!
I can’t remember when was the first time I practiced putting my cerebral goods out into the open for those in conversation with me to see that I have managed to save lots on my tabula not-so-anymore rasa. If I did not know much about the subject then I would resort to expressing interest on it, using inquiries, by way of relating it to something else I would know more of.
So I was saying, that recently I realized what I was doing, and what the game everybody else seem to be playing. Clever conversations. Gak. It’s draining on the, um, I don’t know… nerves? … qi? … soul? 😀 whatever 😀
Did you know that for the Inuits they traditionally believe that too much thinking insults the spirit? And have you heard of the story about Africans who were hired as luggage carriers by some foreigners (or was it to guide in the hunting??) that one day, after hiking non-stop for days, they simply stopped and sat down and refused to move from the spot until, they said, their souls have caught up with them. I love both of these expressions against “thinking too much.” ❤
I guess I’m starting to really grow old now. Heheh. I feel like I have tried to participate at the parade of peacocks, have tried to compete, and then I only discovered that unless one comes out as “simply sincere” then all the sashaying is an insubstantial game. Hollow. A babel of sounds that fall on deaf ears. Poor overworked brain cells 🙂
Suddenly I am reminded of C. S. Lewis’ explanation on the thin line between pride (in association with being “good”) that is okay and pride that is foul. The parade of peacocks was how he illustrated one of those. With their feather-fans all out in proud display. (This is in his book Mere Christianity. This is among my favorites because it was one of those that started opening windows to me.)
Okay. Now my blah blah blah is complete for the moment ❤ Take care! And if ever one of these days you find yourself sitting down on your haunches ruminating on this supposedly God’s-love-for-you thing, then I hope you’ll recall this song’s lovely line, “I love you just the way you are.”