Monday, June 11, 2012
This one is a bit of a surprise, I know.
You think you know what to expect by this point, and then huzzah! I hit you up with this. Its like enjoying pancakes at 2am at a 2am Pancake House you've eaten at a hundred times and after you've comfortably settled into a few reassuring bites discovering a short curly hair cooked into the batter of your flapjack.
Unexpected and unpleasant.
But its 2am and you are drunk and hungry so you keep going.
I do love music, all kinds of music, from all eras...Punk, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, you name it. I occasionally brush up on my German to Industrial and Shoot the Duck to Disco, but I've never really cottoned to Heavy Metal. There are some exceptions of course, as there is in all music except hip hop, the odd guilty-pleasure anthem here and there, but Metal just never really...moved me.
I was, however, very much enamored by its imagery when I was a youth. I would sift through the racks at the local record shop for hours, all those glossy album covers beckoning me with promises of a world filled with pentagram emblazoned demons and buxom sword weilding barbarian women.
It wasn't a religious or satanic attraction, although there might have been some residual underlying subconscious motivators there from my time spent in Catholic school...the horror...the horror...the nuns...
No, it was the Darkness Within that called to me.
There was a period of my life when I was a Very Angry Young Man, full of rage and vitriol, piss and vinegar. Fascinated by all things creepy, I was particularly drawn to the iconic visage of Eddie, Iron Maiden's demonic mascot. Just look at him, the screaming, clawing, wild eyed living-dead embodiment of Fury and Angst, a veritable Hellion.
That was me, circa 1985-86.
A culmination of a series of unpleasant life events, combined with the simple fact of being an angst-ridden teenager resulted in an eruption of internal hostility and violence. I kept up appearances, all smiles and neon Ocean Pacific on the outside, but inside I was bitter, like a cookie made with mustard and vinegar by one of those mentally encumbered rugrats on Just Like Mom.
There was an emotional Blackness that was growing in me that required an outlet. This manifested itself in sardonic and deprecating wisecracks unconditionally meted out equally pretty much to everyone within my line of sight, regardless of race, creed, age, sex, and, unfortunately, size. My cynicism knew no bounds, my derision unparalleled...and frequently drew unwelcome retaliation. Being verbally outmatched and outclassed caused many of the reprisals to take the form of the time honored tradition of fisticuffs, a primitive lashing out with fists.
I could hold my own, but weighing in at a svelte 140 lbs, I experienced my fair share, and probably your share, of painful and humiliating public ass kickings. Being a fan of being devilishly handsome and having an acute allergy to pain necessitated attention to the art of rough and tumble and lead to the development these 5 Simple Rules to Pugilistic Discourse:
1) Avoid getting into a physical altercation: The best way to accomplish this is to simply not start one. And don't be a douchebag. By my incredibly astute observation most people struggle with the latter.
2) Don't start something you can't finish: Listen to Kenny and know when to walk away, know when to run.
3) Finish it before it starts: Straight down the middle-- target the nose, throat, solar plexus, and nards. I made the mistake of teaching this to my delicate flower of a wife and she's not afraid to show me how the student has become the teacher.
4) Act Mel Gibson/Gary Busey bat-shit crazy: make your opponent question your sanity and think you know something he doesn't, he may reconsider.
5) Turtle: if rules 1 through 4 have failed you fall back of an old trick I learnt from Navy Seals (the movie, not the real thing)-- curl tightly into the Fetal Position and wait it out.
Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez once told me that there can be only one; if both parties are going to engage in acts of savagery and barbarism, someone has to learn a lesson, and only one person should be able to walk away. I well and truly always want that person to be me. I have so much to offer you all.
I am older now, wiser, even more handsome, and have been lucky enough to surround myself with people that shine so bright they pushed the Darkness back. I grew up, learned my lessons. There is something truly terrifying about losing control and embracing your primordial self. Something primal, base, savage. Looking back I shudder and my stomach gets a headache and my bowels get a little loose.
I just wish I'd learned these lessons sooner than later and I could have avoided the embarrassing and tardy addition of rule # 6):
Don't ever ever get into a fight with a 1 handed man: his stump is a weapon that will cause severe blunt force trauma, and you will never live down getting your ass handed to you by a guy who only has 1 hand.