The Meaning of Life, Finally Found

By Daniel Carroll

I was lucky enough to stumble upon the meaning of life a couple of years ago. It was eighth grade, and I stayed home sick in order to watch the movie “Pirate Radio,” the story of a ship that broadcasted rock music over the airwaves of England despite protest from the government in the 1960s. I really enjoyed the film, and after I was finished I decided to go on Youtube to see if I could re-watch any of the scenes I had enjoyed. Instead, I discovered a deleted scene from the movie titled “Rolling Stones Meaning of Life Scene.”

The scene consists of the sex-driven, cigarette-smokin’, middle aged DJ Gavin Kanavagh telling a 17 year old named Young Carl, who was sent to the boat by his mom without an explanation, of the drug-filled adventures he had taken to find the meaning of life. Kanavagh said that the answer finally came to him during a night in a Guatemalan bar when the Rolling Stones’ “Hey You Get Off of My Cloud” began to play on the jukebox. The scene then flashes back to the memory of him and a Guatemalan man and woman having a friendly dance off to the song that results in kisses on the cheeks and cheers from the bar.  The scene concludes by cutting back to Kanavagh taking a long drag of his cigarette, giving a devilish grin and explaining, “The thing that makes sense of this crazy world… is rock ‘n’ roll.”

I watched the clip many times, but I didn’t realize that Gavin Kanavaugh’s statement applied to me until a few months later. It was then I came to the conclusion that rock ‘n’ roll made a lot of sense in my life as well. That period in eighth grade is the same time I lost interest in hip-hop and slowly started my ride on a time machine going backwards beginning in 1991 and ending in the 1920s, from Kurt Cobain to Robert Johnson. That ride informed me of the inevitable future of the rock star life that was and still is awaiting me. Suddenly the sound of my friends claiming they would like to be successful businessmen sounded pathetic and childish. Trying hard in school was now a choice for me rather than a requirement, and I didn’t have to try to get girls now because it would be so easy when I become be rich and famous. I pitied anyone that planned to follow the Marin conformities their parents had set for them.

Yet, despite my rock star future, my life remained the same. I still worked hard at school, played multiple sports and worried about girls. My hairstyle was the one thing I had changed, switching it from a confused Justin Bieber to, well, a mop. The only things I had to my rock star name at that point were the facts that I could play some Led Zeppelin on guitar and I had a mop, a hairdo that would probably be considered pitiful by my Zeppelin idols Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, who were proud owners of long, flowing locks of blonde and brunette beauty.

So maybe I wasn’t fully living out my rockstar future. But it didn’t matter. Since then I have taken my music career to the next level and joined a band with kids from San Francisco, something that sounds totally awesome when trying to impress girls. I’m still not an established, respected musician with money and fame, but I still plan to be, or if not I plan to be around people who are. Or at least I plan to be around people who are around people who are. I don’t care really, as long as I can connect to the rock ‘n’ roll world.

That could be the one thing that’s getting me through high school. While some kids constantly worry about getting “good” grades so they can go to some “good” school where they can earn some “good” degree, where they can have a “good” job that makes “good” money while sitting on their butts, miserable behind a desk their entire life, I just zone out and listen to guitar riffs in my head or watch myself perform acoustic gigs for a decent sized, appreciative audience.

I’m telling you, knowing the meaning of life sure can be a relief. And remember if you are ever feeling like Gavin Kavanagh, who said, “I’ve got money, chicks, drugs, time on my hands, but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”: The answer ladies and gentleman is rock ‘n’ roll.