“Pressure, pressure, I’ve got pressure” is a line from the very appropriately named 1979 song “Pressure,” by the Kinks. In the same album (Low Budget), the line “Nervous tension, man’s invention/is the biggest killer that’s around today” was also uttered. If someone put their detective hat on, they might be able to come to the conclusion that this band may be under some sort of socio-emotional stress. Next, the question would be why exactly a rock band from the 60s, 70s, and 80s with all their money touring internationally, which probably indulged in the vices that all the kids are talking about, is so stressed out. But this is a quandary for another day and another article (there is only so many topics my tiny human brain can come up with).
One question that I want to investigate is if this tension is really, truly “man’s invention” or is pressure just part of being alive and caring about something. One big assumption that I am going to take for granted is the idea that everyone cares about something. I know that some people claim to “not care either way” but that cannot possibly be. Everyone has something, whether it is as alive and genetically similar as a family or as page-turning and exciting as the Twilight series, which they care about. For instance, in the movie “Castaway,” Tom Hanks was seriously emotionally involved in the well-being of a volleyball ball with the color red on it. (Side-note: Have you noticed all the stellar cultural references I have made so far in this column? How new and exciting is this? I can only imagine how proud of me you all are!)
When you care about something, you necessarily want what this cared-about thing to be happy and safe. Or if you care about it from the opposite perspective: You are truly hoping that doom and gloom to come to this thing. Again, this thing that you care about could be your family, friends, Twilight, Tom Hanks, a volleyball ball, or something as trivial as your future. To care about something is to be emotionally involved in it. This desire for the “best case scenario” for the stuff that you care about can be stressful and put a lot of pressure on you, even though some of these things are truly out of you control, like Tom Hanks (he is too much awesome for anyone to contain). Everybody cares about something and the well-being of that thing can be stressful. So for this faulty, humor based argument: To be alive is to have (at least some) pressure.
So what can we do with this nervous tension that is not necessarily man’s invention? In the song “National Health” from that same album, the Kinks first suggest drugs like valium. But they come to the conclusion that it will, “Help you for a while but somehow valium always seems to bring me down.” They conclude that exercise is good for your health. But being creative and writing a song about it might work too. But everyone has pressure (some just handle it better), it is part of the whole living deal, doesn’t that relieve some of this pressure. Wilson!!!!!