Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I got the cruise control set at 35

The world will really grind you up and shit you out, won’t it? I was listening to this radio show about training dogs and the guy said something about genes and DNA. He said, and I’m paraphrasing to an almost ridiculous degree here, but the idea was that each bit of code in your DNA was essentially just a predisposition, but not NECESSARILY an indicator that you’d develop that trait. So for example, you could have a gene that makes you predisposed to be nuts, but that’s nothing but predisposition until you actually run into something that triggers it. That’s why some people have craziness all of a sudden take them over at seemingly random times and some people are born crazy and some people become crazy after some sort of trauma. It’s all how your body’s crazy gene is triggered and set up. That explains why this guy I went to high school with kind of just snapped one day after being normal his whole life, and why another buddy of mine just kind of recently took a quick little freefall into crazy. It’s crazy!
But, more to the point, regular, non crazy personality issues are coded in your genes too. I used to love talking to strangers, but one day that just stopped. It wasn’t like I was hanging out by the bus stop and this guy asked me for a cigarette and I was like “THAT’S FUCKING IT!!!! NO MORE LISTENING TO THESE DICKHEADS!” it was more like I just one day realized that I no longer enjoyed that and I hadn’t been doing it for some time. I used to hate spinach, and then one day I realized that I loved spinach. It’s all sorts of little shit like this just waiting, to flip on or off and slowly, but surely (and I’m sorry to bust this out on you all, but it’s as inevitable as death) turn you into your parents. Your mom has just been around longer than you. Your dad has just had more of his indicators flip than you have. If you don’t get hit by a bus, get SARS, get too drunk and fall down the stairs, shoot yourself while hunting or stumble into any number of other pitfalls, unfortunately for you, you will become your parents. Oh, if you’re a big ‘evolution is a bunch of nonsense’ type, well, then you’ve got much bigger fish to fry, because you’re, as we in the secular world put it, “retarded,” but of course, that’s really neither here nor there.
This is why young people try all sorts of shit and take risks and enjoy things while old people are stuck in routine. They’ve eliminated things they don’t like systematically. SO why does your grandpa watch golf, drink a beer, fall asleep in his chair, get up, make a sandwich, go to bed and then do the whole thing again the next day? That’s what he likes. That’s all he’s got left that doesn’t bug the shit out of him. Don’t believe me? Take him to a restaurant then and count how many things he bitches about.
I’m old. I can feel it, and I tell you what man. I HONESTLY thought it would never happen to me. I didn’t think I’d get old and turn into my parents, and hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here…I’m not eating grapefruit with a corrugated spoon and going to see choral music or anything, but it’s gotta be happening. I’m not the kid I was ten years ago, that’s for sure, and unlike a lot of people my age, I haven’t had to really do a lot in terms of sacrificing what I love in order to make choices about growing up. I’ve been able to play in a band the whole time, AND we made money, AND we never got so big or important that it stopped being a fun project that we were doing as friends. There were no egos or anything like that and we could always tell people to go fuck themselves if we didn’t like how something was going…But man, I can’t even imagine ever doing what we used to do again (I mean, like when we first started the band, when our schedule was crazy). I used to live in a van, literally. We made enough money when we started playing that as long as we had a show every day, we could survive on loaves of bread and packs of American cheese and forty ounces. AND, keep in mind, this was when some pretty questionable versions of punk rock were big in the van touring circuit.
All the bands we dealt with back then were cry/scream bands full of sensitive guys with tight jeans and Jen Anniston haircuts, or that pop, spikey headed, nasal vocals, real polished, synchronized jumps pop punk stuff, and of course there were hardcore bands…that shit never goes into or out of style, interestingly. (even more interestingly, it seems like the ‘punk’ music of TODAY is a lot like a perfect thirds combination of these three styles, innit? Woah. Cool…)
ANYWAY, back then, there were no bands and I mean NO bands like us out there. I remember we played this show in New Bedford Mass and we came out right after the revamped Weston (once a really cool pop punk band, they’d recapitulated themselves as this keyboardy space garbage for some reason) and we were in flannels, big ripped jeans, with long hair and old, filthy mesh hats with the brims turned up (you’ve probably seen pictures of us at this time if you’ve ever looked in our old records). We got up there and started playing and we were drunk and having a great time and the crowd just started laughing. They were literally laughing like we were doing a comedy routine and you could hear it over our instruments. Because they were waiting for The Darkest August Bleeds Through Every Dead Winter, or whoever was after us, and we were NOT in touch, man. They were laughing at us because we were playing rock and roll with major chords and guitar solos and shit and we were smiling and having fun and not being super dramatic. AND WE FUCKING LOVED IT. This was our day every day. We’d show up, play a show with a bunch of stupid bands, make almost no fans, get paid almost no money, go to the van and eat our cheese sandwiches and drink our fortys, then we’d go sleep on some gross floor and we’d wake up the next day feeling like shit, but feeling great, and do it all again.
I could never do that shit now. I need a bed, or at least a couch. I don’t even like just getting one hotel room. It’s uncomfortable. We’re a bunch of men now, not boys. I couldn’t go play shows to just a few people who hate us…That sounds terribly depressing. (once we played in florida and one guy showed up to the show, and he left during our first song…that was great at the time, but today, that would make me pretty bummed) Grumpy men, that’s what you get if you do that shit for too long with no upward mobility. I guess it’s really good that our band grew as our synapses all snapped over so we were able to afford hotels, and real lunches and beer in smaller bottles.
I don’t know where I was going with this, but my baby is crying and I need to go to the grocery store. Now that’s rock n roll. Who says I’m turning into my parents?

13 comments:

Richard said...

Awesome read.

....And more to the point, holy fucking shit, the catchpa on this comment is FELTC.

I can die happy.

WXSU said...

this may be the most depressing thing i've ever read.

thanks bk.

eugene herbert wallis said...

i dont ever want to be like my parents, they don't drink

brokenstar said...

35? Crank if up to 37, let's live dangerously

Jarret said...

Ok the awesome story of the begining of The Lawrence Arms aside let me start by saying I'm 100% pro gay but isn't the whole your born with leanings not absolutes kind of lending credibility to the Christian-Right with their whole "your not born gay" stuff? Just wondering what everyone else thinks

bloodiedup3o said...

I actually just read something for a required science class yesterday about how there's no such thing as nature vs. nurture and that they pretty much work off of each other. Some scientists in New Zealand recruited like 1,000 newborns and studied them until they were 25 or so and realized that the ones that were clinically depressed all had a certain kind of protein in them, but it needed an environmental event (like a traumatic expereince) to set it off. Crazy shit.

Nate said...

Wait a minute -- "back then"? Does this mean punk rock van tours are no longer plagued by sensitive guys with Aniston haircuts and faux skaters from New Jersey who all sound like the guy from Simple Plan?

Because that would be awesome, it's been a while since I gave up.

kylewagoner said...

I'm going to have to agree on this being very depressing, but I guess we've played shows like that and still continue to play them and we think they're awesome. Hopefully we get to the point that these seem like horrible shows and $25 is bullshit pay. You have me scared, though.

Justin said...

Speaking of the band, well any of your bands, when are you going to be playing and/or putting some new music down? I know it's tough with your newborn and all, but seriously, I need you.

shaun citrus said...

This blog sums up alot of my feelings. I just turned 35 so i think we're close in age. The last full US tour i did was 3 years ago, and i don't think i need to do another one. The days of making & eating cold refried bean burritos in the van while gulping down cheap beer than sleeping on hardwood floors is long gone for me. My body aches enough as it is. The shit i did 5, 10, 15 years ago is not things i can or want to do now. It's called growing up, but it doesn't mean i've given up.

J said...

Fuck dude, don't sound so bad...if I have as good a life as my folks do when I'm their age, I'll be doing pretty good. They still listen to the stuff they did when they were kids, so I've got that to look forward to, and beer money is in no short supply.

Jarret, I agree. But regardless, the christian right is still wrong, and is welcome to go fuck itself in a closet somewhere.

BK, I also used to like talking to strangers. Then I grew a beard and strangers didn't want to talk to ME, and it suddenly sucked because everyone seemed like a dick till I cottoned on. Not sure I've got a point there.

Candace said...

Bonjour Brenden Kelly. The Lawrence Arms est fantastique!

Nicotine Junkie said...

Jeez man, way to put a downer on my day haha! and it's only 20 past 11!