Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The quarter-century blues

I had a birthday recently and am now the ripe old age of 25. I felt okay about it because I was happy about what I have accomplished so far. Yeah, I mean, everyone goes to law school lately, but it still is one more grad degree than my friends from the summer camp some called college I attended freshman year have. (In fact, I may have one more bachelor's degree than some of them, but I digress.) Yeah, I graduated from a decent college, went to a piece of shit law school, and now I am kind of a lawyer. I also have my own apartment, have a wonderful boyfriend who seems to like me despite having put up with me for three years (give or take), friends who call me on occasion, and two cats who worship the ground I walk on. I've been to Europe three times and Israel once. I've seen the Eiffel Tower and attended a taping of a talk show. I have paid taxes and purchased approximately one hundred and fifty pairs of shoes over my lifetime.

I have a Life. I have Done Things. I am still young.

Or so I thought until I saw that certain commercial for one of those CDs on TV. You know, the compilations of crap, sometimes fun crap, but always old crap. "Sittin' on the Dock of a Bay," "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT," "You've Got a Friend." The one thing that unites such songs is that they came out before I was born, or at least before I was old enough to pay attention to Lite FM. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the CD in question was called Buzz Ballads. Buzz? In other words, songs that came out when I was at a sufficient age to form an opinion about them. In many cases, I was old enough that I now have crystal-clear memories about the songs and when they came out.

This CD contains such hits as "Lightning Crashes" by Live, which came out when I was in maybe ninth grade. I remember walking around my neighborhood listening to their album on my walkman, and feeling uncomfortable that one song gave Hitler a shout-out. Three guys in that band are named Chad and they are from Pennsylvania. One of my friends in ninth grade supposedly lost her virginity to the song "Glycerine" by Bush on repeat on someone's stereo at a house party, which sounds like the most annoying way to be introduced to sex that I've ever heard of, and I remain convinced that she was lying. The video for "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum was on VH1 every ten minutes the summer I was twelve. I was in the Hamptons at a family friend's house and one day fell asleep on my stomach without putting sunscreen on my back. I spent three days beached on a couch with only a remote control, an ice pack, and Lidocaine for company. I saw Toad the Wet Sprocket open for someone, can't remember who, when I was thirteen. I called Stabbing Westward poseurs. I worshipped Courtney Love.

Seeing these bands sold on TV, on a CD referencing these songs as ballads, makes me feel all wrong. In an age when black fishnet stockings are sold at Banana Republic, what has become of youth culture? And when did I start rolling my eyes at it? In sum, when did I get so . . . old?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh you,

Where did you write this? While sitting in your rocking chair on the porch telling all the young whippersnappers to stop skating by?

Anyway, welcome to the "old" club. We have some good members, so you are in good company.

- Someone you used to work with. Lets call me "S"

10:18 AM  

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