So, this morning I’m on the way to do something remarkably adult. I’m going on a walking tour of the school my kid may go to in the fall. The odds of him going there are pretty high, as it’s right down the street from our house and we already spend a lot of time kicking it in the playground that they keep out front for the pleasure and exhausting of young ruffians.
Speaking of, yesterday we were there. We were playing some sort of hybrid 3 little pigs/big bad wolf/football/fantasy restaurant game and I was just getting the shittiest looks from all these old desiccated moms who were sitting on benches while their kids ran around. Now, I’m not the greatest dad in the world. I’m distracted, I’m unsure of how to discipline, I constantly miss enrollments for programs like swimming and soccer and shit like that. I don’t know how to feed these beasts properly, or get them to eat things like vegetables. Neither of my kids has much of a grasp on any language other than English (and the baby can’t even speak English besides ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ and ‘no’), they both watch some tv, and by and large I’m constantly concerned that I’m fucking them up immensely just about every step of the way, be it as a bad role model, a bad authoritarian or as a bad friend.
However, these old ladies sitting there giving me the stink-eye don’t know that. The only thing that they could reasonably extract from what was going on in the park was that I was there playing with my kids while they huddled amongst themselves, sitting on their asses, whispering and staring at me.
And here is the crux of it all. These moms presumably have all the above things I’ve mentioned on lockdown. They probably make smoothies with spinach in them and have their kids signed up for bilingual waterpolo and all sorts of shit that I don’t even barely understand, and I’m not suggesting that my hour of running around on the playground makes up for my deficiency in all of this, but what’s the deal? They don’t like me because I’m comparatively young and look a little weird? Did they (correctly) deduce that I’m letting my kids watch shit like Dinosaur Train because they don’t like my shirt or my sunglasses ?
I find it incredibly strange that the cult of mommydom is so similar to the cult of subculture that I entered when I first started to go to punk rock shows. When I first started going to shows, I was 12 and I had long hair. The ‘experienced’ punks made fun of my friends and me for not looking the part, they shunned us and generally huddled on the sidelines and laughed while we were out in the pit, being stupid and stagediving and all that (the similarities are already astounding, are they not?).
I looked at these older, more seasoned punks and assumed that they had it all figured out. Their favorite bands were cooler than mine. Their accoutrements were cooler than mine. Their network was powerful and had scope while I was just kind of out there alone, occasionally with one of my other loner friends, but for the most part just making shit up as I went along.
So, I grew up and slowly made friends. I realized that everyone just kind of makes up the rules as they go along in every single thing that they do. I realized that just being around something for a while makes people feel like they’re experts and this engenders a feeling of smug superiority towards newcomers. I learned that none of this has any basis in merit whatsoever. I learned that the people who are the most eager to shut out new voices and minds are the people with the smallest, stupidest most imagination-free minds of all, and the vast majority of people are welcoming and cool and the exclusive folks are dipshits to the last.
I also learned that it’s fun to kind of razz people a little bit and make the journey feel like something worth pursuing. I’ve talked about this before, when he was a kid (and I was a slightly older kid who had just been lucky [?] enough to have been touring for a while) I used to call Brian from Gaslight ‘Coco’ just to kind of goof on him a little. It was a little good natured uh…’hazing’ I guess. And it brings me to my main point: there’s room for a little bit of ‘fucking with the new guy’ but that can’t really last that long and this is a great example of why: Those new kids are gonna grow up and become the people that drive the bus one day. Plus, Coco is a good dude.
I think back about the dorks that used to pick on me, and they were all, to the last, complete losers. I may not be cool, but I’m way fucking cooler than some dipshit skinhead that used to call me a ‘hippy faggot’ while orchestrating a wall of death at a bad religion show and now, at age 42, works doing coat check for lame metal shows once every three months.
So, what’s my point? Am I gonna grow up and wear taupe tanktops and stirrup pants and sit on the bench, quietly pooh-poohing the new flock of parents that end up down at the playground? One can only hope.
For now, I’m off. See you turds in the future. Falcon practice tonight with an exciting bass player (and no matter what you think you may know, it’s not who you think). Wooot!