Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dear Future Me

There is a running joke between a friend of mine and I about the presence of a "Future Me" in Hartford, CT.  Apparently future me has moved up the chain of command in life and somehow found a job (at some culinary institute, if I'm not mistaken) in the lovely stretches of Connecticut.  How that happened after a stint in graduate school in public history and getting a job in DC, I'll be finding out over the next few years, but hopefully it's exciting and helpful for me.

Apparently in the future I have the superpower to make the world blurry.  Photograph courtesy of Ms. Valerie Werse.

Having discovered that I will indeed make it into the fairly distant future (10 or maybe 20) is a comforting concept.  Furthermore, the description of future me doesn't seem to bad.  He's employed, probably has a place to live, and looks fairly healthy.

I wonder if he'll write me a letter from a blog (maybe this one) as an actual adult to the punk-ass version of me that sits right now in front of the computer typing this away when there are actual other tasks ahead of me.  I wrote one to the 13 year old version of me, so I expect that within ten or so years when I magically turn my life around and hopefully have an internet connection (as opposed to being a hobo destined to ride the rails for life) I will sit down and be able to tell the past version of me some wise advice.

As I don't have a time machine and don't have those ten years of wear and tear on myself, I'll have to wait.  But that doesn't exclude me from writing to the future me.

"Dear Future Me,

What the hell are you doing here during these times?  If you're really from the future, shouldn't you be trying to enjoy that?  Or are you sent back from the future like the Terminator?  If that's the case, that would explain why you're moonlighting as an office drone at some culinary institute as a cover.  No one would expect you to be some agent from the future sent back in time whatever you're doing.

Is life better for you?  It must be, especially if you're a Terminator from the future.  Do you remember ten or how many years ago since the day I wrote this?  I hope you recall that in your mission to hopefully alter the past for the benefit of the future.  (At least that's what I would like to believe you're doing.)

If you have forgotten, refer to the above mentioned letter I wrote to the 13 year old version of myself for some guidance, and some of the other posts littering the blog.  They should give you guidance as to how I was leading my life at this point in my life and jog your memory.  Unless that got replaced with a new set of memories, in which case, this point is mute.  But assuming that you do have those memories tucked away somewhere, remember them in your mission to better the world and provide assistance to those who are like me out there.  I know you need to maintain your cover as some clerk at a culinary institute, but I'm sure you can work it into your busy schedule.

You might be wondering why I'm not asking you to help me out with your powers.  Well, that's up to you.  If I ask you to completely alter your past, things might get complex.  Although I'm sure by that point in the future there'll be policies on that and how that sort of thing works.  I'm sure you've worked it out.  Nonetheless, there are probably others out there more deserving.  I'll figure my way out on this.  Plus, I don't want to mess up my chances of being a Terminator from the future.

Anyway, enjoy your time in Hartford, CT (of all places, you could've picked a more fun place) and let me know what I can do to help.

Current Me."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Punk Rock Improves Lives

It was Christmas during my last year of high school, and since my parents had stopped playing "Guess What Our Son Wants for Christmas" by that point, they usually would take me to the bookstore to pick out something I wanted.  And so off we went to the local Barnes and Noble bookstore to get a gift for me.

As I'm perusing the store, I wander over to the section in Barnes and Noble where they have the audio-visual merchandise.  I'm perusing through the selections and I turn up London Calling by the Clash.  But not just any ol' copy of London Calling.  No, this was the 25th Anniversary Legacy Edition, complete with not only the original recording but also the "Vanilla Tapes" (demos recorded in the studio during rehearsals which were apocryphally lost) and a DVD which had a documentary of the making of the album, some promo videos, and also raw footage that had been taken in the studio of the Clash.  All of this for about $20.  I totally ask for this as a Christmas present, and my family and I go to the front counter to pay for it.

For the next few weeks into possibly a couple of months, I listened the hell out of that album.  I'd listen to the original studio cut, I'd listen to the raw demos on the "Vanilla Tapes" CD.  I probably watched the documentary a few times.  But listening to it was such an breath of fresh air for me.  Here's something I can latch onto and understand on an intellectual level and comprehend, something that I didn't think much of the music that the good 95% (and that's a conservative estimate) of the cretins that I shared air space with probably couldn't understand.

Now I didn't go completely off the rails and start pushing safety pins through my cheek or dying my hair green and spiking it because it was stupid to do so, I didn't (and still don't) like the idea of shoving sharp metal objects into my cheek, and quite frankly, it wasn't the point of the music.  The point was just to do what you wanted to do, others be damned.  I learned the lesson of being your own individual, something important for someone who always had difficulty forging through interactions with other people.

It's also given me some sort of determination to forge through life's problems.  The sheer raw energy of the music provides a relieving catharsis for whatever is balled up inside of you.  The irony of having something that sounds more or less like, as Craig Ferguson put it when introducing the Damned on his show, a fight being soothing is quite counter-intuitive.  And yet, listening to The Cramps on full blast with your headphones on sometimes is the best way to sort things out.

And we're talking real punk music here, by the way.  We're not talking about the sissy stuff cranked out by Taking Back Sunday or whatever passes off as "edgy" these days.  I mean, for Chrit's sake, saying that stuff is punk music is like saying Johnny Weir is a professional wrestler.  Listening to that stuff probably won't help much other than make you a terrible human being.

Totally not wrestling, but totally punk rock.

So go out and buy your child a punk rock CD of some sort.  They'll be a better person for it and will brag to their friends about having the coolest parents ever.