I turned thirty recently – thank you thank you, your applause is lovely – and it hasn’t really affected me much, turning thirty that is. I do remember panic at twenty-five, when I realized I couldn’t pretend to be a kid without getting looked at funny – but I didn’t get that way when I turned thirty, or approached it. Turning twenty-five was more about not being a guy who thought about moving back in with his parents anymore, where as turning thirty made me feel like a man.
That’s how I’d describe it – I felt accomplished and capable in what I not only did but also needed to do. Granted, that’s because I’m not a fuck up or a loser – they do exist and some people will read this and be bitter and I’m by no means saying I’m God’s hot shit…. but, I worked for that feeling. I didn’t just wake up and decide I was a man – arbitrarily. It was a realization that what I was capable of and what I was about were real. I knew what I could handle and knew how to use what I had learned on my way to becoming a man – I learned, see? That’s what most of your carnival barker guys who constantly strut manliness or a perception they are badass. I have found in life that most often, the badass are the least often found talking about it. But that’s besides the point – my real point is when you go through enough shit and handle yourself accordingly – you become a veteran – ask anyone who’s been to war. Life is war – it’s constant combat be it physically, sexually, politically, passive aggressively when your girlfriend accusing you of seeing someone else by hiding the remote – shit like that. Altercation is around us and sometimes it’s good to fight with bullets and sometimes it’s good to fight with a smile or a smirk. And the confidence I had in myself was that of knowing what to do and what not to do.
Be that as it may, I’m rambling. I felt like a man, there – we can move on.
Now, I have only been thirty for a little over a month now and about two weeks after I turned thirty I attended an event that made me feel both old and sad for the young people. Allow me to explain.
A guy I went to academy with – who is nineteen and all that goes with that cliché – and he’s in a band, which is good – very good actually. And you spend five months seeing someone more than your family and you get to be pretty good friends if neither one of you is an asshole. Neither one of us was an asshole. So the small group of guys that went through together got together and went to his show, in Nutley, NJ – inside the small gymnasium of a Catholic church where Pastor Dan (no shit, and I never use parenthesis), came out and announced the fire exits, thanked the bands, introduced the night, and blessed us all. Believe it or not one of the bands tossed around a rubber sex doll – but not even a remotely good one, a shitty fake looking one. Not that it would matter I suppose but there were parents in the crowd, aunts and uncles. I counted maybe, fifty or twenty adults, above forty and I saw one lady who had to be in her mid fifties. She looked like my mom for Christ sake, but the doll landed in front of her and she giggled. She didn’t look embarrassed and played it off until the kids cleared it away from her and started another round of mosh pitting. I saw her and thought she was classy and respectful to the youth culture, and the kids did make sure no one bowled her over, so there’s that. Plus the adults were clearly there to see children or nieces or whatever so I commend them for getting involved.
Who knows – I did stupid shit like that when I was there age. Ok, not really. I did other stupid shit, but I’m not at liberty to talk about it. I never went to parties and hardly ever went to concerts and by hardly ever I mean three, my entire life. I was a behind the scenes bad kid – but only bad, like anti-hero bad – I wasn’t tossing cats off the roof at passing traffic or anything. But, being surrounded by the next generation – basically – was interesting. It both brought me back and had me reflect upon my own parenting at present. Now, my daughter is only nine so she’s hardly dressing in throw back 80’s gear and going to gymnasium concerts – but she will be there soon enough and it makes me wonder what lay across the cultural landscape then. I mean for Christ sake I saw a kid with a makeshift vintage Police tee shirt on – and another kid had on a Miami Vice tee. A fucking Miami Vice tee shirt – funny thing was, his girlfriend was essentially dressed as a blonde Punky Brewster. What the fuck is my daughter going to be wearing in high school and college – they’re running out of pop cultural references to resell us.
I forced myself to look past all that and for a cigarettes worth of attention in the courtyard I thought about the asinine shit I did and said when I was that age – so I’ll cut them slack on most everything…. but.
I’m stopping to say this now because it is a public forum, it is the internet and knowledge does spread. With that being said I would like to address kids and teens using abbreviations in speech – such as OMG and LOL. Now, I hate this in particular but it’s how they’re speaking and it’s simply their generation’s vernacular so I will not bust their collective balls about that – but I will say stop saying – STOP SAYING – TMI when you want to convey the idea of too much information, because the irony is giving me only three letters is not enough information. And it’s a double irony because it’s also so well used that it really is – if you consider – enough information. But I digress – my point is just stop using TMI – because I can’t take you seriously. I can’t take you seriously when you say OMG instead of just looking surprised, but I’ll let it all go for this one thing.
So, back to the reason you’re reading this.
The room was filled with kids being kids and saying kid shit and reacting in kid ways – like how I kept using kid there – meaning they were just being as expected. It was nice to see young kids with hopes and plans and these epic realizations about life which will either be artificially inflated or crushed horribly, and in only a short few years. And at the same time I hope I’m enough of a parent to attend my kid’s half assed concert regardless of whatever Apple sex product is bopping around the robot mosh pit.
If there was an overall point to this post I couldn’t tell you what it is – it is however, what I wrote, so take it as you will.
This is a guest blog post by Doug Gelsleichter, owner of all the badass stuff you’ve read on Goodpulp and author of pulp noir Three Blind Mice. He fights fire (no cape) when he isn’t blogging things the write way.