The Johnny Cash version of “Hurt” by Trent Reznor is playing in the room while I am reading the news. Jeebus, what a song. Like Johnny, I never much cared for the St‡rm unt Drang of the NIN version, but Cash’s version is making me realize a few things….

1. “If I could start again, a million miles away, I would keep myself. I would find a way.” OK, Trent Reznor really *can* write lyrics. It’s no small feat to make everyday words and phrases jump up and pop like that.

2. Johnny Cash never stopped being Johnny Cash.

I was reading the Newseek article about Cash’s death the other day and the article turned to his life after June’s death-

Can a wound like the death of the love of one’s life ever heal? Not easily; maybe not ever. “He tried to contain himself,” Reverend Wilson says, “but her passing took his last spark, the last bit of his heart.” Cash admitted as much. “I don’t know hardly what to say tonight about being up here without her,” he said at his first public appearance after her death, at the Carter Family Fold country music festival in Hiltons, Va. “The pain is so severe there is no way of describing it.”

The pain could be described not in words but in sobs. “One day there was just the two of us sitting there,” Stuart recalls, “and he broke down and started crying and said, ‘Man, I miss her so bad.’ I didn’t know what to say, so I held his hand. He loved my wife Connie, who’s been a friend to that family for a long time. He grabbed my hand and said, ‘Son, cling to her; cling to her; cling to her.’ What I saw at that moment is that he would have traded every bit of fame, fortune¤everything that Johnny Cash meant to the world¤for five minutes with June.”

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