Eight Miles High

There is a seam in my skull that marches northward from the inside of my left eyebrow across the expanse of my forehead and dies just into my hairline. I suppose it congealed there in my mother's womb some thirty seven years ago, like tectonic plates forming a rift where they agree to junction. I forget that I have it, that I have always had it, until occasionally, I find my fingers tracing the length of the crack. Like how I rediscover the ridge-backed line of callouses across my palms, my tongue yearly wearing my chipped teeth, or the individual story associated with each unnumbered scar. Part of the song my body carries with it is an anthem to these traumas.

I have no idea what possessed Husker Du to cover Eight Miles High, but they forever transformed it. I tried unsuccessfully one ragged winter at a conference to drag a group of academics across the length of Athens, Georgia to the punk jukebox I had found it in. My intent was to expose the old hippy professor from Maine to it and note his response. About two-thirds of the way through the song the thing deteriorates into merely the chord progression and the drums, Bob Mould stops growling the lyrics and begins to scream, his voice a howl, it is the sound of a body being subjected to incredible pain. It is precisely there that the song is transfigured, it is there it ascends. It is there the body of the song is broken and thusly remade.