Thursday, April 02, 2009

It's hereditary

You know how I really knew it was over with my ex-husband? When we were melting down, and I was always teetering on the precipice of irrationality, I tried to maintain a little equilibrium. I did this in a lot of ways. I wrote some poetry, I took some long walks, and I listened to a LOT of music. Of course I did. I listened to a lot of angry music very loud. One day I was blasting the Replacements' Tim while curled in the fetal position in the armchair in our living room, wondering how I would breathe my way through another day, and my ex walked into the house after a long day of work, walked straight to the stereo, and turned it down. Not a word of explanation, not a greeting in my direction, not a glance to ensure he had my permission to do so. He just turned my music down. I knew at that point that there was no going back. No amount of compromise or therapy or mutual respect could take someone who used Air Supply as the background music to our first makeout session and make him into the sort of person who understood that Bastards of Young was the only thing that was going to make me see the light of morning. You can't fight destiny.

I mention this rather sorrowful episode because Cap'n J. has chosen to put himself - and his sidekick, Miss Thing - to sleep tonight to the soothing sounds of the Ramones. He has watched Rock and Roll High School three times in two days, and when I sent him to shower this morning he was screaming about Sheena at the top of his lungs. He doesn't love them for their leather jackets or their virulently theatrical anti-theatricality. He loves them because they WRECK. He loves them because all kids are rock and roll through and through - they are noisy, don't recognize boundaries, revel in the fantastic, are sensualists in the best sense of the word. Kids are made to pogo and slam dance. Their whole existence is the altered state of reality that later in life the more reckless will try to recreate with substances. Their pulses are stronger and brighter.

You know those people who get wrist tattoos that are mantras? They read things like: Faith. or Breathe. I met a guy last weekend whose wrist read ROCK. I'm never going to counsel my children to have faith; we all lose it, and no one can TELL you how to find it. You have to discover it on your own. And I'm never going to remind them to breathe. Their autonomic nervous systems should take care of that nicely for them. But if there are two lessons I hope my kids learn from me before I set them loose in the wilds of adulthood, they are: 1) Don't be an asshole and 2) ROCK. There will come a time in their lives when they are going to want to play their music loud, and some poor sucker is gonna try to turn it down. I want them to understand that the only proper response is to turn that shit back up again.

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