When you’re desperate you’ll do anything.
No, I don’t mean like that, though that’s a good example.
What I mean is, it isn’t shocking that I would agree to write for a snowboarding apparel company that is basically the equivalent of every slacker male lab partner I had in high-school. I’ll repeat myself solely for the sake of driving the point home and to beat the horse skeleton while I’m at it: I will write anything for money. Just give me a chance to.
Anyway, writing for this snowboarding company has forced me to recognize that
a) I am old
b) I am still not cool, and
c) I have become one of those adults who tries way too hard to be hip to the kids.
When I was a wee lass, playing bass guitar in my room, obsessing over Maynard James Keenan of Tool and dying my hair sea foam green with Manic Panic, I used to read magazines like Hit Parader, Circus, RIP and Spin, back when Spin was cool. Every time I tuned into Headbangers Ball on MTV (this was eons ago, when it showed actual music videos and wasn’t just an extended commercial for what appears to be either a very expensive and blonde STD or a sneaker that is also a cellphone) I would scrutinize every grown-up who came on to saucily introduce the next three minute screamfest. Did he have tattoos? Did he look metal? Did he do the ‘horns’ symbol with his hand and, if he did, did he stick his tongue out too? Was Kennedy wearing a skirt?
All of these questions seemed imperative to the perceived depth of badassery. Any adult who had transcended the inner sanctum of rawk needed to prove themselves to me in some way, they couldn’t stumble over Sean Yseult of White Zombie’s name (it’s just Sean if you don’t know, dickheads) and they shouldn’t look Rob Halford in the eye. The sort of a fuck all attitude I aspired to attain was eagerly and carefully marketed to me as a suburban preteen. I shoved a safety pin through my right nostril, flipped the popular girls the bird, and practiced the baseline to countless Helmet songs in my room. The fact that I was also doing the chemistry lab homework for both me and my stoner partner, and that I was hoping to be a psychologist if the goth-metal bassist gig didn’t work out, didn’t matter.
I’m sharing this because I never lost sight of how authentic my cool was. I am still hip, even if the poster in my room is a vintage 1995 Nine Inch Nails tour promo. (No joke.) I am still cool even though I can’t tell you the difference between My Chemical Romance, My Bloody Valentine, or My Morning Jacket. I don’t know what the hell that kid behind the counter at the grocery store means when he says “rut ro” as my plastic bag rips. But I’m still relevant. Dammit.
Then we scored this gig writing site copy for this snowboarding apparel enterprise that’s run by some Olympic medalist who is barely old enough to legally drink. I thought that this job would be awesome, it was young (like me!), hip (like me!), and active (like…okay, so I really don’t do much other than skateboard and ride my bike to the grocery store.)
Suddenly I’ve learned that I’m not so spry anymore, both in corpus and in characters. I’m not going to cite examples ‘cause I have this condition known as woeful pride and wouldn’t dare humiliate myself to that degree, but I’ll share that not only am I out of touch with youth vernacular, I’m also kind of lame.
For example, when listening to some of the glazed eyed ‘boarders who lolled about the offices when we went for our meeting I overheard some kids who were barely out of childhood’s pissing distance talk about a party where this alcohoe (my spell-check even tried to correct that one) took some skittles (apparently not the candy), got b-wasted, and proceeded to have a Technicolor yawn. Sad. But I have no idea what this actually means.
I took mental notes of half of the conversation that didn’t pertain to my paycheck, and when I went home and looked up “are doub,” which, to me, meant “are doubles” or something. I learned that it’s actually a noun meaning “slut.”
Because it means slut I really should learn it. In fact, when they come out with an Urban Dictionary that is simply catchwords for slut I’ll preorder it from Amazon. ‘Cause that’s how punk rock I am, I have a motherfuckin’ Amazon account, yo!? Questionable use of interrobang at the end of that sentence.
My projects for this company have made my brain turn to spaghetti. I have no idea how to reach our target demographic in a way that isn’t patronizing or trying too hard. And there is nothing — nothing — worse than trying too hard when you’re too old to know better. (Take note, thirty-five year old residents of southeast who wear bandanas and Ray Bans at night.)
The upswing of this is that there’s a distinct overlap between skateboarding and snowboarding, and my partner in crime used to grind pretty fierce back in the day. In fact, when we met in 1999, he was rarely seen without his four wheeled ride. Years of reading magazines like Thrasher make him much, much more capable of reaching the audience that we need to. I can edit. And brainstorm. And watch as he tries to do ollies off of the curb, still. (Yes, he’s still skateboarding. I’ve recently tried to take it up, but bruises and a general recognition that I’m gravity’s bitch has left me using the damn thing as little more than an installation art piece or an accessory.)
So when we get that sweet gig writing a bio, album promo, and press release for an aggro rock group with a female bassist, I am all over it. I know that my history can be applied to an assignment like that nearly effortlessly. But this twenty-six year old knows that thirty is a helluva lot closer than fifteen. I’m not even going to pretend that I know what tweakin’ crazy smooth on the rails means. Sorry. My guess is that it has something to do with making butterscotch in the sleeper car of a train.
Lastly, the sinking realization that I’m not invincible, which began when I ate it pretty intensely a few weeks ago on my bike, reached a crechendo this morning when, somehow, I managed to sleep my way to a seriously cracked rib. It hurts to breathe, I want to cry like a little bitch when I move, and all I can do is type and listen to The Knife in order to stop myself from entirely losing my shit. Rut ro, indeed.
[Editor’s Note: Thank you so much, each and every one of ya who read this. The comments are better than multiples and every email makes me gush. I never thought it was possible to love strangers, and I know that sounds creepy, but it is both true and creepy. I love y’all. It’s enough to make me stop being a cynic. Just kidding.
Also, I know a lot more can be done with this site than the standard, boring WordPress stuff. I’m working on it. Please keep reading and reaching out. Stay awesome.