Image has been manipulated to prove a point.

Image has been manipulated to prove a point.

I want to talk about music. Loud Music. The kind of loud music that can lead to the police knocking on your door at two in the morning and asking you, “What the fuck, homeboy”?

This doesn’t happen to me anymore. I’ve grown into a responsible member of society, somewhat. I mean I still like to rock. I’ll tell you that much. Don’t go questioning my love of the rocking and the rolling. It’s still an important part of my mission statement. But there was a time…..

(We travel back in time. Impossible, you say? Well, actually, I’ve discovered a completely safe and effective method of time travel. It’s going to be fun. Seriously. Now eat these mushrooms.)

Did you eat them? You did? Hahaha, I was only kidding, you didn’t really need to eat them. I was just going to tell a story, that was the “time travel” that I spoke of. Wow, you’re insane. That was a considerable amount of shrooms you just ate. Well, let me hurry up and tell you my tale before you start tripping balls and shit.

The 1980’s. Yeah, you read what I just wrote. It was a decade that happened decades ago. People lived simpler lives back then. You weren’t constantly inundated with information at all hours of the day. No Facebook or Google or Wikipedia to learn your life lessons through. If you wanted to know something you learned it by going to a library and finding the appropriate book via the Dewey Decimal System. This took up a considerable amount of time in a young boys life. Time that could be better dedicated to the pursuit of looking cool.

Nothing was cooler than a long-haired boy with a boombox. At least that’s what that long-haired boy with the boombox told me. So I listened to him, because he was older than me, and he also had a butterfly knife. He didn’t threaten me with the knife or anything like that. He was actually very gracious, letting me check the knife out. He showed me how to handle it properly, and was even kind enough to teach me a couple of tricks with it. Just in case I ever got one and wanted to impress the ladies with it. I miss that long-haired boy with the boombox. He was the coolest.

So I grew my hair and got myself a boombox and a butterfly knife. I was living the dream. I had a denim jacket with the pockets stuffed with cassette tapes. If I asked you to guess how many tapes I could fit into my jacket, what would you say? Oh, one million is way too many. You’ve greatly overestimated the storage capacity of my jacket. It was more like twenty-seven tapes. Which is far less than what you guessed, but in reality is quite a lot of tapes for a boy or girl to carry in one item of clothing. The boombox had to be pumping at all times. At full volume. I loved it loud, much like KISS did. I couldn’t get enough of it.

In the car, my father’s Reliant K-Car, the tunes were always played at an uncomfortable level, in retrospect. At the time, it didn’t seem loud enough. I wanted to strap some Marshall stacks to the roof of that car with bungee cords, just so the whole world could enjoy Sweet Child O’ Mine as much as I did. But it wasn’t realistic, from a financial standpoint. Not only are Marshall stacks expensive, but the number of extension cords needed to travel anywhere beyond the driveway was staggering. Also, Dad said I couldn’t do it anyway.

The stereo in my bedroom was always set at only the highest of decibel levels, due to my youthful ignorance of the intricate workings of the inner ear canal.  Later on I would learn about the damage that noise levels can do to your precious ear holes, thanks to an episode of Growing Pains. Or maybe it was Charles In Charge. But back then, I wouldn’t have even cared. I would have said, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old.” Of course, I would have been completely wrong. Sometimes if it’s too loud, it’s just too loud. So you should turn it down to a more comfortable level. It has nothing to do with age. Just ask a newborn baby. They got wicked tender eardrums.

(How you doing, pal? Those shrooms kicking in yet? Yeah, your pupils are looking really pinned. I can’t believe you ate them all, you fucking animal. I’m sorry for fooling you like that. What started out as an innocent prank is blossoming into a full-scale psychedelic shit show. Come on, I’ll drop you off at the emergency room, psych ward, or Phish concert of your choice.)

Just don’t touch my fucking radio.

21 responses »

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    “a denim jacket with the pockets stuffed with cassette tapes”—Ah, the epitome of cool, isn’t it? At least they weren’t 8-tracks…

  2. Twenty-seven tapes! Yeah, that was way more than my guess. Oh, the good old days. We used to blast the music quite loudly, Bill! Now, not so much.

  3. What? “Sometimes if it’s too loud, it’s just too loud?”

    Not cool.

    You just totally killed my buzz, Bill.


  4. mairedubhtx says:

    I’m considerably older than you. We didn’t even have cassette tapes (though we did have mushrooms). We only had the radio and records and you couldn’t carry around a record player. You kids had it easy.

  5. iRuniBreathe says:

    Tapes! Tapes! Twenty seven is outstanding — could you wear the jacket at the same time or were the sleeves used as large pockets?
    I found an old box of tapes the other day and the kids were *sure* you couldn’t play them on the computer, but were not sure how you did play them.

  6. The Reliant K-Car, eh? That was a classy ride.

  7. MissFourEyes says:

    I was prematurely old as a kid. If it was too loud, it was too loud. Never told anyone though, how uncool !

  8. tracy fulks says:

    I’m sure it was a faded levis jean jacket, of course. Did you have an artistic friend paint or stencil your favorite band logo on it, so that it would look extra cool with your wallabees? Did you, per chance, have a feathered roach clip dangling from your boom box?

    • Definitely faded Levi’s. I was a fan of the back patch. I rotated between a sweet Mötley Crüe Theater Of Pain one, and an Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhoads Tribute one. I had a cool feathered roach clip earring. Yeah, I was pretty, pretty cool. I obviously said that last part in Larry David’s voice. Hahaha. Congrats on the hundred thousand club!

  9. rossmurray1 says:

    Appropriately, I read this nostalgic post while listening to the constant buzzing in my ears.

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