Thursday, March 3, 2011

GUEST POST - Right now my job is eatin' these doughnuts, or maybe...hey, wait a minute. Aren't you...

Me: Pat Who Thanks God Daily for Yoga Pants, send me some songs you'd put on a mix tape in middle school. I'll ask some other folks to do it, too. And definitely give reasons why. Like a top 5. I think it would be a cool, reoccurring series.

Pat Who Thanks God Daily for Yoga Pants: Ok

AND THIS IS WHAT I RECEIVED....and it's amazing. I might still do the mixtape list, but I had to post this as is. Enjoy the mind that is...Pat Who Thanks God Daily for Yoga Pants.....

So. Fly.
I caught a re-run of Saved By The Bell a couple days ago, and at thirty-one year old, tried explaining to my wife how somehow, I still felt younger than the high school characters on the show. Not younger than Mario Lopez mind you, but AC Slater clad in his Zubos. Now, this isn’t any kind of meta-90210 forty year olds playing high-schoolers joke… I have a hard time explaining that specific feeling, but I’ve come to describe it as The Goonie Corollary.

For me, The Goonies is a sick-day movie. A movie that’s still as funny and entertaining to me now as it was when I was six years old. And part of its appeal to me is that it reminds me of who I was back when Chunk was a bad ass for saying “Oh, shit, what?!”

I had a friend in college who’d never seen it, and upon first viewing was like, “Yeah, ok…” He was ostracized for his non-Goonies love, left with no friends, failed out of school as a result and I believe, may now be a serial killer. But what I was too afraid to admit then was - I kinda get it. It’s not the same experiencing The Goonies as a twenty year old. The joy it brought to millions of six year olds has become almost a generational inside joke, or more of a “you had to be there… this guy knows what I’m talking about!” And if you weren’t there, sorry. Good luck finding a freezer that fits all those severed heads.

And it’s the same with Star Wars, or even Saved By The Bell. You can go back in time and revisit that same kind of wonder you had on first experience. So what the hell does this have to do with anything? Well, Lisa and I were discussing our favorite albums the other day, and I mentioned our favorite albums now probably look a whole lot different from our favorite albums back in middle school, or high school or college. And yeah, maybe there are even a couple that have survived the entire trip.

But regardless of what still makes the list, there are albums, tracks, even cover art that drop that Goonie Corollary on you. That let you access your ten year old self. And since I’m always up for touching myself…

A quick qualifier for anyone who doesn’t know me. The first tapes (yes tapes, I told you, I’m thirty one) I ever owned were Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA and Cindy Lauper’s She So Unusual. They came in the same BMG Music mail-order ( = o.l.d.). The first tape I ever bought with my own money was Michael Jackson’s Bad. I stood at the counter at Sam Goody in the Braintree Mall, comparing that with Tiffany’s Tiffany, decided I liked girls (big moment), and bought Bad (ah, the irony). The first CD I ever bought was Vanilla Ice’s To The Extreme, and the day I bought my first CD boom box, I also purchased R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People. Needless to say, up until puberty, I had no real taste of my own and was a disciple of (no not Kiss 108), WZOU, 94.5 in Boston. Yes, before it was JAM’N, it was ZOU. And it was legit.

So what was I listening to when I wasn’t rocking out to ZOU in my middle school years?

Look, in 6th grade, you’re in a new school simply trying to survive. And since I was coming from Catholic school, meeting all these public school kids for the first time, I had no chance to be Humpin Around. Maybe if I was Too Sexy, or All 4 Love, for that matter, or could make you wanna Jump (jump!) I may not have reached the End of the Road. But I did, and you know what was there? November Rain.

I discovered Guns N Roses late. My buddy Sean lent me his Appetite For Destruction (cartoon boobs in the cover-art!) and Use Your Illusion tapes before I went on a ski-trip over Christmas vacation. (sidenote: you shouldn’t listen to Out To Get Me while bombing down a black diamond. You could ruin your cassette walkman) Regardless. Sixth grade was dominated by Axl & Co and black t-shirts and the woeful decision to don a top hat for a week. Woops.

But you know what happens in 7th grade? You want some girl to say Freak Me, baby. You really want to end up Knockin’ Da Boots with a Rump Shaker in Dazzey Dukes, even if some Informer’s gonna (licky boom boom down, and then) tell Mr Wendell that I Get Around even if I was Just Kickin’ It. But so what! If you could have a Dreamlover, and convince her you’re the better of the Two Princes, it’d be like a Runaway Train, making you scream Hip Hop Hooray! But only If.

So how do you go about doing that? If you were big and goofy and red headed like me, donning Cross Colours was out of the question. But you could gain some cred by listening to the dopest dope around; The Chronic, by Dr Dre. And honestly, listening to the $20 Sack Pyramid now, yeah, it’s funny in a different way to me. But the heavy basslines of Nuthin’ But A G Thing and Dre Day are always gonna transport me back to the parking lot at Pierce Middle School, trading mixtapes with friends. Hey, better than transporting me to Crenshaw…

And then came 8th grade. By that point we ruled Pierce Middle School. The dances were simply a time to hang out in dim light and scoff at the music they were playing. We didn’t wanna see The Sign. We wanted to Bump N Grind, or Shoop in the hopes that our hypercolor shirts and Girbaud jeans weren’t betraying that we really could Feel The Love Tonight. We were still too young to partake of Gin and Juice, but Keep Ya Head Up, at least we had out Ghetto Jams.

And by that point, eff the establishment (we whispered so as not to be heard) we had forged our own paths, man! And down that path led the ultimate in taboo. Rap-Rock. Body Count’s Body Count.  I let my friend Mike listen to it at lunch one day. He took off the head phones and tossed them at me. “This is so racist!” I was like, “Dude, they’re BLACK! It’s ironic.” I have never had so much cred in my life. Glad no one knew that tape was sitting next to Lisa Loeb at home…

So there it is. Three acts that defined my middle school years. GNf’nR. Dre. And Body Count. Hey, two outta three ain’t bad.  And to this day, each one of them still has the power to drop a little bit of the Goonie Corollary on me. And when you’re thirty one and working in insurance, remembering the days when seeing a bra strap caused a slight shift in your Joe Boxers ain’t such a bad thing.