At age 14 I lived in the last house on the left (the literal one, not the movie one*). The tree shaded dead end street played home to three main residences, but so many more of us lived there. My grandmother and great grandmother resided across the street. My current computer guru lived in a tiny cottage out back making stuff on his Mac for the Oklahoma Film Society or something cooler than whatever I was supposed to know about Algebra. Various people moved into and out of our basement. There were others.
Our House* was a very very very spooky house. I foolishly didn’t want to live in Norman. Midwest City was much less pretentious and much more edgy. Big bro and I used to sneak out to find an oasis from the land of upturned Polo collars, of which I totally would have been a citizen if I owned more than one Polo. We would catch the midnight show of Rocky Horror* or run around the cemetery or see who was at Cafe Royal. We didn’t have to sneak out. My folks were way lenient about that sort of thing, but sneaking out made it all the more fun. Once we returned home about 2 a.m. running down our little street in spite of the fact that our dad was standing in the middle of the road smoking a cigarette under the full moon. He just hung his head. It made no sense to him at all that we would sneak out but neglect to sneak back in. I don’t recall that we got in all that much trouble, however, the shame of our dumbassary clouded the next couple of days.
It was about this time that my taste for Alternative Music, whatever that was, hit my radar. Big Bro was listening to 88 Lines about 44 Women by The Nails* (mental note, put that on the iTunes list). He picked it up at the used record (vinyl, I said it) store on Campus Corner before Harold’s bought the whole damn place up. I also caught my dad singing Dead Milkmen*. Or was it Dead Kennedys*? Eeww. Dad had to tell me that he knew a thing or two about hep – a fact I seriously doubted and yet totally believed.
Soon after, Dad’s friend Rush (pictured above and ripped off the LA Times) arrived for a visit. I had met Rush by a different name, but he was the same impossibly cool. He said things like, “Better dead than mellow” and “Bury Dali in Lichtenstein.” I used that latter line to end a Blue Book essay on First Amendment Law in college when it was clear I would run out of time without a conclusion. It won big points. I asked Rush why he thought Dali should be buried in Lichtenstein. “Why not?” he said. And he was right. After all, isn’t The Lizard King* buried in Paris? He also played a song for me that he’d been working on. The lyrics were as follows:
I’m sick of everything.
So sick of everything.
I’m sick of everything.
I’m sick of you,
And people like you!
I’m sick of your shit,
And I’m not going to take it!
Ah, the beauty. It was my anthem.
* Did I mention I am a sell-out, er, Amazon Associate?