Do you ever have songs which seem to completely encompass a period in your life, despite bearing no reasonable relation to them in either tone or lyrics? For every significant stretch of time, I have one of these; for my freshman year of college, it was "Sweetness" by Jimmy Eat World. I've heard that this song alternately means something about drugs or something about a relationship, but in either case, I just happen to remember playing a lot of Super Mario 3 while this droned on in the background. For sixth grade, it was the song "Daria" by Cake. This is notable, since I'm pretty sure the song wasn't even out yet, let alone it being something I heard on a regular basis. Which leads me to...
When I was in tenth grade, I was really into Laser Quest. Some people had anorexia, some people had secret meth addictions: I had a game which entails,exclusively, shooting one other with flashing lights. I bought into the game fully - even going so far as becoming a member of the LQ center that was close to my house. When you sign up, you get a piece of plastic with a magnetic metal button on the end which encodes a name which you have, from then on, reserved for you whenever you want to play. My name, for the record, was "Domino" - like the brand of sugar. It was not unusual for me to respond to this without questioning the oddity, and there were a myriad of people who probably didn't even know my real name, but who I considered decent friends.
They used to have a specific soundtrack they played both in the waiting area of the LQ center, which was populated by bad video games, and in the actual game area. It contained no shortage of bad 80's pop songs. Anyway, I was driving today and one of the songs - "867-5309" - came on the radio. I don't think I realized before how closely I identified that "period" of my life with such a horrible song. But I do. Just like I'll always remember Village Inn (for those of you from the east coast: Think a nicer version of IHOP) and the food served there as a precursor to going to the Mayan to watch random foreign films I never would have otherwise watched. Or the way lemon Manner bars will never stop being associated in my head with Princess Mononoke. Or the way, during my freshman year of college, the first time I ever really understood that my past was over was the time we went to the Mayan to see Goonies at midnight on the big screen with a bunch of people from middle school and they didn't have Manner bars any more, and they sold out and switched to a different brand of coffee and I realized I was trying to recapture high school but couldn't.
(Slight tangent: anyone else think that Goonies is vastly underappreciated, both as an artistic creation and as a periodic culture icon? I seriously think that the character played by Jonathan Ke Quan [the Asian kid with all the inventions] is responsible for the dot com boom. I checked IMDB, and he never really worked again, except in the extraordinary movie Encino Man. I feel like the world is missing out by not hearing this guy's story.)
It's amazing how much a person can forget about their own life. I doubt if the people I used to know would recognize the person I've become. If one of them came across this page, the person I was wouldn't be apparent at all. It's strange to think of all the events that intervene and how a person's perception is completely twisted by their own sense of another. To me, I've gone through breakups and crisis and all manner of other life altering events - but to people who haven't been there through all of it, I'm probably the same awkward misanthrope I was in sixth grade when I imagined the words for a song by Cake which didn't exist yet.
cranked out at 7:13 PM | |
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