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On this day in music history: February 26, 1966 - “Baby Scratch My Back” by Slim Harpo hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #16 on the Hot 100 on March 19, 1966. Written by James Isaac Moore, it is the biggest hit for the R&B singer and blues harpist from Baton Rouge, LA. The song is recorded in a small studio in Crowley, LA and is released on indie R&B label Excello Records. The single receives a huge boost when radio station WLAC in Nashville, TN puts the record in heavy rotation. With the tiny AM stations transmitter putting out over 50,000 watts, its signal is able to reach thirty eight states which  have distributors clamoring for the record. The huge R&B success of “Baby Scratch My Back” spills over to the pop charts where the single also reaches the Top 20 on the Hot 100. Though not as well known today, Slim Harpo’s music has proven to be quite influential over the years, particularly with British rock musicians such as The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Pretty Things, and The Yardbirds, all of whom have either recorded cover versions of his songs or playing them in their early live repertoires.

What It’s Like

I know what it’s like to sit on the couch and watch people on the news jump from buildings and not understand it.

I know what it’s like to sit there and imagine yourself in their place while not knowing why you’d even want to.

I know what it’s like to grow up in a family who gave you the perfect childhood with love and money and endless privilege and I know what it’s like for that to be used as an excuse as to why there should be nothing wrong with you at all.

I know what it’s like to wear long sleeves and torn jeans in the summer because keeping secret skin a secret means more than the southern heat and the salt seeping in.

I know what it’s like to want to talk about it with people you think you can trust but not talking about it because it’s not for attention, right?

I know what it’s like to think you bear your burdens alone.

I know what it’s like to feel like a stranger in your own skin and I know what it’s like to feel like you’re watching yourself from afar live a life you don’t even recognize.

I know what it’s like to wake up and paint over the cracks in your mask in order to smile just a little brighter so the questions won’t flood in from the people queued up that think you’re nothing less than stable and healthy and great.

I know what it’s like to stand beside a parent while they watch mental illness on the 11 o’clock news and whisper thank god that’s not my child.

I know what it’s like to watch the people you love sigh and shake their heads when he ends up in the hospital again because he wanted to kill himself for the third time this year, and I know what it’s like shoulder your guilt because apparently that what it is to them; an inconvenience in their otherwise normal lives.

I know what it’s like to be called lazy and useless because you’re not sick, no you’re not sick and you just need to get your act together. We all have bootstraps and it’s time you got a firm grip on yours.

I know what it’s like to have all the energy sapped from your body because your head is a leech and it wants to suck you dry of everything you once loved and enjoyed and sought pleasure in.

I know what it’s like to overthink your every action and I know what it’s like to condemn yourself because you feel as if you’re not deserving of anyone’s time or energy or glance.

I know what it’s like to feel the embrace of someone you thought you loved and I know what it’s like to take their sickness and make it yours and I know what it’s like to be hated for thinking the best course of action would be to cut it off like an infected limb. I know what it’s like to be the bad guy; the bad guy in someone’s story and the bad guy in your story and I know what it’s like to not be able to change the narrative no matter how hard you try.

I know what it’s like to watch the sun rise while you scribble in a journal hoping that maybe if you write one more sentence, catharsis will come and you won’t feel so alone anymore. I know what it’s like to beg and plead with yourself and I know what it’s like to reach out in the only ways you can to the people you thought would be there, only to find they’re just houses not homes. I know what it’s like to sleep in a bed for giants and wonder why you feel so goddamn small.

I know what it’s like to sit on the porch step and smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in order to keep your hands occupied; to have the smoke burn your throat so you don’t have to tear it out yourself.

I know what it’s like to feel the weight of a gun in your hand.

I know what it’s like to squeeze the trigger at some thin paper target you imagined yourself in and feel the kick ripple through your arms and connect into your chest.

And I know what it’s like to be home alone and have a muzzle pressed against your temple and I know what it’s like to be home alone and have that metal clank against your teeth because your hands are shaking too much and I know what it’s like to battle that voice in your head that does nothing but scream do it just fucking do it.

I know what it’s like to not know what the fuck is wrong with you and I know what it’s like to lay awake at night and ask the cold sheets next to you why you have to live a life like this. I know what it’s like to think about your own funeral and to count on your hands the number of people you think would maybe care.

I know what it’s like to not know what it’s like to be normal, and I know what it’s like to not be able to remember what normal even is.

But I also know what it’s like to empty a clip into your bare hands and palm each bullet before putting it all back safely. I know what it’s like to tell yourself not today not today not today.

I know what it’s like to stick around for one more song and I know what it’s like to keep moving forward even if you have to claw your way through every minute of every day.

I know what it’s like to laugh with the girl you think you could one day love. I know what it’s like to feel a small beat of your heart when your best friend reminds you you’re alive and you’re here and you exist in every moment of every day.

I know what it’s like to befriend the death sitting on your shoulder and I know what it’s like to tell him to fuck off. 

I know what it’s like to lie down 100 feet beneath the sea and to realize there is probably nothing in death quite like the quiet you find there. I know what it’s like to walk through jungles and rainforests and feel the humidity coat your skin in simple pleasure. I know what it’s like to greet new cultures and speak in different tongues and I know what it’s like to find yourself in tiny pieces of big people and big places.

I know what it’s like to feel another hand in your own and I know what it’s like to find salvation in such a simple gesture. I know what it’s like to feel the warmth of someone’s back as they’re pressed against you, fast asleep.

I know what it’s like to suffer and I know what it’s like to thrive.

I know what it’s like to be human like you and you and you and you and I know what it’s like to know exactly what it’s like to wonder what comes next and if maybe you can stick around to greet it all.

Huh….it’s almost as if these women just want to the petrol station to get petrol, pay for petrol, maybe have a polite bit of chat, and leave. Strange.

for the record, every single cast member’s acting has been significantly better in season 12, too. prior to now, the characters have been morphing into bigger and more extreme caricatures of themselves. rcg wrote a larger proportion of the episodes this season and it’s clear they’re opting to change the direction of the show and i really like the idea that season 12 is the turning point from the theme of stagnation and “characters that will always disappoint you” to one that supports actual growth……!!!!