Suggested listening: Sugar, We’re Going Down Swinging (Live) – Fall Out Boy
Note: Don’t be put off by the Suggested Listening; just read on…
Holy Christ, I got old fast.
Last night, I sat on the shitter for 15 minutes, absently listening to Celtic instrumentals and random sections of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas book-on-tape. My iPod was on shuffle, and Genius apparently deemed my evening worthy of A Soundtrack Appropriate for Animus, Desperation, Bitterness, and Confusion. For 15 minutes I listened jadedly to Duke’s drug collection and countless versions of ‘Farewell to Nova Scotia’. I wasn’t even doing anything, defecatory or otherwise. I just tuned in and spun my iPod wheel, firing cards red-on-black-on-red in hand after hand of Apple solitaire.
It’d been dark since before 5 p.m. (I remember it exactly; I made a painful, gerontologically appropriate joke about “Midnight comes early these days!” while leaving the CBC alongside some unknown employee). I finally got to Forest Hill, and 11 o’clock crawled around the clockface while Gilean and I watched Season Eight of Friends for the sixteenth time. Around midnight, I finally dragged myself to bed, complaining about working too hard and sleeping too little.
My iPod droning on, I found myself lying in bed like a feeble grandmother, still playing countless more hands of the saddest, loneliest solitaire on the fucking globe. Songs tumbled over each other like the virtual cards as I faded in and out of reality. As I started to fall asleep, a track hit my eardrums with a deja vu punch in the hippocampus.
(Here’s where the story gets even sadder, more pathetic, and humiliating).
The song stomped in with hi-hat-bass-snare beat and a poppy punk riff, then broke into jerky pulses that my brain recognized, just barely in its sleepy state. A vocal crept in, and somewhere in my still-quickly-fading consciousness, my sense of adamant 20-something indignance desperately scrambled back toward the surface and screamed, “Oh, fuck, no. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck no!”
But, like an ashamedly-secret teetotaling teenager three beers in and flailing his clearance-bin Abercrombie-clad limbs semi-rhythmically near anything with breasts at his first high school co-ed party, my sleepy mind blurred into shit-grin sensory acceptance and flushed any sense of pride out like the seventh beer-piss of the night.
“We’re going down, down in an earlier round/And sugar, we’re going down swinging/I’ll be your number one with a bullet/A loaded gun complex, cock it and pull it”
Behind my eyelids, movies played flashbacks of desperate all-or-nothingness in over-the-bra petting sessions and 2 a.m. school-night phone arguments. Panicking over lost contacts, and the embarrassment of wearing glasses into homeroom. Paralyzing fear and confusion when a girl put her hand on my thigh (and left it there; Holy Christ, was it ever hot!). The first time my tongue touched someone else’s, and how much I regret asking “Was that your first time, too?” (The answer was “No.”)
That’s not who I am, though, my consciousness echoed. I’m mature and cool, a cynical bastard, unfunny and careful. I’ve grown. I’ve learned to read and write and fuck and take myself seriously. I’ve seen the Good. I must’ve, after all this searching. Fallout Boy is sinful and regressive; teenage years are serial failure, 20s are ascension, and adulthood is rot. I know that to be true, at least right now. Now why is this shitty song, to which I’ve listened dozens of times as my sister stormed our bathroom to put on too much eyeliner, hitting me so hard in the memory, the gut, and the heart?
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