So I’m up in the balcony at Boston’s historic Orpheum Theater looking down at several satanic pentagram banisters festooning the proscenium. Juxtaposed against the venue’s Victorian era looking murals the devilish decorations come off more cartoony than the band I’m there to witness, the strangely seductive Swedish metal band Ghost, probably intended.
But so does the fact that I’m at a heavy metal concert and instead of chugging down a beer or dropping acid or shooting black tar heroin into my toes I’m calmly sippin’ on Pinot Noir from a small plastic cup like the dandy gangsta that I have become.
Pretty metal right? Regardless I’m enjoying my red wine and am very excited for the show to commence so that I can be transported into the complete benthos of existence by some of metal’s finest like the aforementioned Ghost and dual headliners Mastodon and Opeth who’ll rock my fucking spinal column out of place.
I’m especially giddy at the oncoming storm Mastodon will no doubt unleash when their well-honed fantasy prog sludge assault makes sex to my brain.
But, I’m also kind of hoping they get this thing started and over with so I can get home to my girlfriend.
And somewhere a distraught Lucifer is weeping frozen blood tears while punch-dancing his way through the wood of suicides.
Yep, I’m getting old.
I’m becoming the old guy at concerts.
Most of the time nowadays I will usually prefer a night of hanging out with my girlfriend talking and joking around with her about good books that are being turned into mediocre movies than staying out all night and getting destroyed partying. I still do that on occasion but the seesaw of preference has tilted. And honestly, I’m totally happy with this inevitability. After all, I was born to grow old. Yeah, I typed that. Take off your armor Tony Snark and realize maybe you were too.
Also realize that I will not apologize for that last pun.
With old age comes wisdom and the further wisdom to ignore it. But then I’ve always been an old man in my heart of hearts. Just now the outside of the carriage is starting to match the cargo.
I turned 30 earlier this year, sometime around my birthday; and the momentous event besides being a world recognized holiday except of course for the southern region of Greece (You’re welcome for the day off everyone else by the by) was also strangely an important date for me personally. I am now old enough that when I say, “What is wrong with these fucking kids?” people won’t automatically think I’m being flippant or facetious.
Because I have always wondered what was wrong with these fucking kids.
If I had a lawn to keep them off you better believe I would do so with much summoned fervor, gusto and just a bit of aplomb. I remember when it first struck me that I was well on my way to junior curmudgeon status. A few months before my 30th birthday back when I was still living in glorious Tucson Arizona (Home of better Mexican food) I was waiting in a self-checkout line at a grocery store buying booze (Yeah, you can do that there too) when an observation was made. Behind me in line was a young man, 21 years old if he was a day. Held up in his well-tanned and exposed arms and draped across the Ike Turner brand wifebeater (Not a real thing) he was wearing was a massive 18 pack of PBR (Cool kid kool-aid).
Side note: For serious, we need to start making wifebeater shirts with just Ike Turner’s image on them, no logo, no phrase. Nothing but Ike.
These will sell. Furthermore we can give the proceeds to actual battered housewives if you feel raw about making fun of this sort of thing. Or, we can just you know keep it and raise awareness like most charity scams.
The name Ike Turner Overdrive has got to be good for something too, wait. Nope, checked it. There’s already a band called that.
Back to the kid clutching the hipster starter kit. He’s wearing the ubiquitous cycling cap first worn slickly by Wesley Snipes in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ then appropriated for nefarious ends by white kids to look cool and a little street whilst their parents pay their rent for them. But of course the kid in line is wearing it slightly askew and to the side. And it barely contains the kid’s overgrown granola-Justin Bieber lesbian comb over hairdo that’s drooping out the sides of the hat like an upside down bowl of old cold spaghetti. Or course he’s wearing his ray-bans in an amply lit supermarket. Kid’s future’s bright, right? He has on tighter pants than your little sister did the summer her boobs first came in. All of this is awful yet permissible. But then I find myself peering at a horror I can’t accept. Somewhere beneath his junkie cool Lou Reed vampire eyewear and above his 18 pack of liquid undeclared major there hangs the transgression.
Swathed along his neck is the most muddled and ugly neck tattoo I’ve ever seen.
I do not know what exactly it’s supposed to be of. I only know that at its center surrounding the area which once housed his adam’s apple there appears to be some sort of maze made out of geometric phalluses swirling in a poorly rendered wheel of shame at the center of which sits a possible eyeball or cyber anus. Flanking this trailer park H.R. Giger on both sides were what looked to be metallic eagle wings that stretched to the sides of the kid’s neck. I looked at this guy and realized that despite the fact that I knew nothing about him and was judging him completely on his appearance alone I had come to one conclusion:
He needed to get a fucking job.
This was quickly trailed by the assertion that his current dickhead scarf would prove this to be difficult.
This whole process of judging someone else completely by their appearance is not an exclusive behavior of the old and non-young. But here’s what might be. Sure, I sized this silly goon up totally on his looks and choice of beverage. But instead of feeling the small shame that usually accompanied me whenever I’m being completely judgmental and more than a little unfair I was instead totally happy with my summation of this young man and his surmised poor decision-making. Why?
Because I don’t really care that much about it.
Plus, I kept thinking, get a goddamn job fuckwit. But even that thought was offered in a detached non-committed almost obligatory way. Like I suppose I should hate this kid so I guess I will sort of thing. Sure he looks like a dork but I don’t really care. Sure I’m being a shallow sack for writing him off, but I don’t really care.
I forgive him for looking like an idiot (Being young) and I forgive myself for thinking like one (Getting old).
I even forgive myself for presupposing that this current mindset of mine is in any way enlightened or evolved. I forgive myself for using the word ‘presuppose’ in seriousness. Youth is for clutching onto flimsy ideologies and flimsier identities. Getting old is about seeing how transient most of this stuff is and instead focusing on the few important things there really are in life. Like waking up next to a redhead every day for the rest of my life, or as long as she keeps dyeing it that way. I am more than happy to simplify the complexities of humanity because I sort of care less about it than before. At least the unimportant details. This allows me to not be distracted by the tinsel on the tree and care more about true humanity than ever before. Confused? Right, me too. Here, I’ll explain, probably.
I understand that for all intents and purposes I am a hipster too.
That if you put me in a room with a bunch of other definite article hipster highlords and had a panel of normal, not with it, Normy Normalson folk give us a gander that I’d be indistinguishable from the other intentionally vintage/sloppy/futuristic homeless looking slackerbots flooding the coffee shop-laundromat-karaoke bars. I understand that my hipster bashing might be irrefutable proof that I am a hipster myself. Because only hipsters give that much a shit about themselves.I get that, I do. But the difference between me and Plaid The Impaler buying his PBR isn’t so much an aesthetic one (Though it is, god knows it is) the difference is that this guy still understands the youth culture. Or whatever lurches around nowadays in its stead masquerading as youth culture. He understands at the very least one of the many hydra heads of coolness that’s currently thrashing its grotesque crooked path through the air as we speak. And I don’t, and frankly I’m relieved. Because I’ve never been good at enjoying things that are currently cool. I always tend to be ten years late to any party. My favorite music is classic rock. My favorite movies are all from decades past. Usually when I get into a band it’s always at least four years after they breakup or someone dies. And it’s not because I haven’t heard of them, it’s because I’m too busy siphoning off all the good pop culture from twenty years before I was born. So now that I’m old balls I can stop even trying to keep up with the ever accelerating culture snowball we all try to log-run on as it carries us down with it.
What separates me and the boy with the dildo tattoo is actually nothing except that I know that we’re both on different parts of the same stupid ride.
Or not. Maybe he gets all of that too, maybe he’s a mall goth fucking Yoda. Either way I’m too busy enjoying the ride now to care about anyone else’s seat.
Turning 30 for me is basically like being ushered out of a movie that I wasn’t really that into to begin with. Because the movie is predictable and formulaic, the special effects are all CGI shiny and unimpressive, the actors and actresses cast for the leads are all wrong for the roles and the whole thing is needlessly shown in 3-D. Besides the book it was based on is better anyways.