AT MY OWN EXPENSE/SUB-CANTO #2

AT MY OWN EXPENSE/SUB-CANTO #2

We’re coming up on six months in the life of The Ghost Generation, it sounds crazy to say it out loud but the calendar doesn’t lie. It’s also no lie that this has been one of the craziest and also BEST 6 month periods of my entire life, and I’m planning to do some kind of “state of the union” piece around the end of the month to recap it all. Making the decision to go after a dream like this is no easy task, especially with a day job and two kids. The struggle is REAL.

Having an absolutely amazing and supportive wife CERTAINLY helps things though, and FemaleGG is the best partner a weirdo like me could ever ask for. I nearly always have a phone, laptop, or Switch Pro Controller in my hands, cause if I don’t hustle to make this shit happen someone else will. There’s a million people trying to make their own shit happen, just like me, and it’s the people who GET SHIT DONE that come out on top. She knows this, and she is right by my side in her Ghost Generation hoodie. I’m a lucky motherfucker and I know it.

Restless Legs Syndrome and anxiety guarantee that I can’t sit still for long anyway.

In the course of doing all this I’ve written about a lot of shit. I’ve interviewed artists I respect, I touched on topics that are important to me, and I’ve shared parts of myself with you guys that I’ve never shared with anyone outside of my wife (not too shabby for 5.75 months of existence, right?). The Ghost Generation IS me, and while I strive for everything to be impactful and hard-hitting- I gotta have some fucking fun once in a while.

If you’ve been paying attention you know I’m a fairly “all over the place” kinda guy. I’m chock full of neuroses, I stress myself to the brink of sanity, and I long to change the entire world with a few well-placed words which is pretty much impossible. Fuck it, why dream if you’re not gonna go all in and dream fucking big. The mindset I’m walking around in, believe it or not, didn’t just show up one day in my 30’s. Nope, this whirlwind of baggage spun up over YEARS. Cultivated and fertilized via my bleak Midwestern childhood, further polished up during my bleak Midwestern teenage years, and simmered into a fine concoction of fear and self doubt in my ATLien adult years.

I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have lived to SEE a “bleak Midwestern adulthood” had I gotten stuck there, so luckily I hit the fucking road.

I’m a smorgasbord of hilarity, just waiting for you to marvel at, so I figured I’d shift gears a little for this one.

I’ve got a metric ton of “irons in the fire”, interviews-in-progress, and super-rad stuff on the horizon for this little website but for now I thought I’d let you guys share in one of my all-time favorite activities- completely and totally making fun of the ridiculous shit that’s happened to me over the course of my 30-whatever years of life.

Fuck you, YOU’RE 39.

So the following is a random assemblage of dumb-ass shit I’ve endured in my life, so maybe you can laugh a little, find something that resonates with you, and JUST maybe come away feeling like you know this stranger on the internet a little better. At minimum, there’s bound to be SOMETHING that makes you say “glad that ain’t me” and you’ll be able to smugly walk around for a couple days with a newfound and unearned sense of superiority! Yay!

Let’s get this trainwreck rollin’-

  • When I was in the second grade, this girl from my class was giving me shit in the lunchroom one day and it was pissing me off greatly. There used to be little kid gestures that meant “I’m gonna get you at recess” but I was at a loss at this particular moment. “Get you”, to me, really just meant I’m gonna chase you and probably fall in a puddle while you escape unscathed but whatever. Some older kids saw this and smartly capitalized. They came over to me and said “you should show her your middle finger, that means you’re gonna chase her at recess!” so what did 7 year-old me do? Yep, I stood up on the lunch table and proceeded to give the finger to a cafeteria full of confused little girls and boys and was immediately placed in a time-out situation. Two much less evil older girls asked me if I knew what that meant and I said “no”, to which they replied “you should go home and ask your mommy what that means later” and while I didn’t know what it meant I DID know that it was probably not a good idea to ask my mom about it either. So, I said absolutely nothing about it and I’ll carry that glorious memory of unknowingly telling a room full of children to fuck off forever.
  • Around that same time, maybe a bit earlier if I’m being chronologically correct, my older sister set in motion a ridiculous and super-weird phase of my childhood where I became obsessed with the word “pussy”. My sister is ten years older than me so she was about 16 and hearing much more advanced shit than I was in elementary school. One day, she was on the phone with a friend joking around and she said the word “pussy” and began to laugh. Like the middle finger incident, I had no fucking idea what it meant but it made ME laugh too, so what did I DO with this information? I instantaneously began to write the word “pussy” all over anything I could find. True story. Six or seven year-old me wrote “pussy” all over EVERYTHING- I even carved it into my sister’s T.V. stand (where we kept the Atari 2600) and it’s still there to this day. No shit, my mom has it in her room now (she lives with my sister) and there it is, clear as day. “Pussy” in blue Bic ink for all to see, carved into perpetuity. The problem was, I started writing it all over my schoolwork so my poor mother had to go, with me in tow, to a parent-teacher conference where the teacher did her best to politely ask he to make me STOP WRITING PUSSY all over everything. I did, I stopped, but the memory remains. Bonus points if you said those last words in James Hetfield’s voice in your head.

That one still makes me laugh uncontrollably. And that poor T.V. stand, it deserved better.

  • When I was in the third grade I almost blinded a kid. Not intentionally, I wasn’t a fucking monster. What had happened was, there were these two HUGE trees outside of my school where we played for recess, and they grew these little purple berries that were hard as fucking rocks. They’d fall off the trees, we called them “dingleberries”, and we’d throw them at each other for hours. Mostly harmless, right? Well, one day this girl from my class threw one at me and it hit me in the head. I wasn’t injured besides my mostly non-existent pride, but it PISSED me off something fierce. So, using my best judgement, I picked up a stick and hurled it in her general direction. Like something out of a movie, happening in super slow-motion, that fucking stick buried itself directly into her left eye. Before you ask it was not THAT Left Eye, I’m pretty sure she was already in TLC then and we were in Illinois. yes, that WAS a bad joke. Nope, this was a girl named Sarah and I had just fucking injured the shit out of her. That wasn’t my intent, I just wanted to get her back for the dingleberry, but it happened nonetheless. She was eventually OK, but she had to wear an eyepatch for like a week and I felt awful. On the other side of the coin though, that’s some pretty good aim for a kid NOT trying to target a specific area. Credit where it’s due after all! Interesting end to that story, we kinda went on a date much later on in my life but I was on WAY too much LSD to be a good dinner guest AND I think she always harbored a little animosity towards me about the whole “almost gouged out her eye” thing so by “date” I really mean I passed out on her couch (I was also stranded outside my hometown that night, long story i don’t remember) and I’m pretty sure she went to bed mad about the eye thing from 12 years prior. Awesome, real awesome Aaron. So, I acid-tripped my way through what was essentially a revenge-date and lived to tell the tale.
  • While we’re on the subject of potential relationships I ruined in my adolescence, we’re gonna skip ahead a little cause the rest of my earlier bits are mostly just bullying, crying, and loneliness so let’s take a detour to the shitty, awkward fucking age of 14. I had been seeing this girl for a couple weeks and we decided I would spend the night at her house one Friday night with her and a friend. The thing was, I was gonna have to sneak into her house after her parents went to bed so as to be undetected. Her father was a long-haul trucker who (surprisingly!) didn’t like my little blue-haired, eyeliner-wearing ass so seeing ME lurking around wasn’t gonna go well for me. So, we sat out in the backyard, stealth smoked a joint, and she and her friend went inside to bed. The plan was, they’d pretend to be asleep, wait for her folks to fall asleep, and then they’d come get me and we’d hang out all night. Here’s where this shit takes a turn for the worse- she never came the fuck out. It turns out, her dad was leaving for a SUPER long trip the next morning so he was up packing his shit, taking care of some bills and shit, and watching TV smack-dab in the middle of the fuckin’ house. I found that out much later, cause my ass was stuck outside ALL FUCKING NIGHT. Somewhere around 4:30 AM or so, it happened- my stomach started to rumble. Bad. REALLY bad. I started to panic, because there was nowhere for me to poop. I was in too much pain to walk to the park up the road, plus the bathrooms were locked (also I was like cop bait back then so wandering around in the dark was NEVER a good idea). So I tried my best to zen out and make the pain go away. I’ve never clenched so much in my LIFE, Ghosties, but it was to no avail. There I am, lying between her house and the neighbors-writhing in extreme pain trying not to shit myself. It must have been close to 6:00 AM by this point, because those fucking neighbors decided to wake up and have “family breakfast” in the big picture window RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. So there I am, frozen like a dead deer, desperately trying to plot my next move and that was the moment when I lost the fight. Yeah, you guessed right- I shit the fucking shit out of my pants. Properly filled the motherfuckers in fact, and then proceeded to unwillingly sit in them for another half hour. I heard her dad’s truck pull out of the driveway and I did the only thing I could. I took off the pants and knocked on the door. Her older sister opened the door after being woken up by my frantic knocking to see the horrific sight of a teenage boy standing there with shit all over his legs, holding shitty pants, and a look of “HELP ME” all over his shitty fucking face. She pulled me inside, told me to strip down, and threw my ass into a running shower to clean myself up. I got out, dried off, and she graciously gave me some of her sweats to throw on and handed me a bag containing my shitty-ass clothes. She may have been some kind of angel, I’ll never know. I went into my girlfriends bedroom and she and her friend were out cold. Dead asleep. Apparently they’d tried to stay up to let me back in but her dad stayed up too long and they fell asleep, leaving me to writhe in pain for hours and ultimately shit my fucking pants in her yard. She woke up for a split second, I tried to explain what had went down, and then my Mom picked me up. Interesting finish to this tale, I never saw her again. Shocking, right? Also, I panicked when I took the shitty bag home so I threw it into my closet, somehow forgot about it, and my poor mother found it in my closet like a month later. THAT was a fun conversation, but Mom and I would have MUCH worse soon so consider this one the training mission.
  • It was around this time that I got super into dyeing my hair, and I hadn’t yet discovered that the results would be exponentially better if I bleached my hair. You’re gonna also start to realize that I have a VERY literal mind, because when someone told me to bleach my hair before I put the Manic Panic in, do you want to guess what I did? You’re god damn right, I poured a gallon of fuckin’ Clorox into a bucket and dangled my head in it for 20 minutes. I literally tried to BLEACH my hair with FUCKING CLOROX. I didn’t have an older punk-rock sister or brother to show me the fuckin’ ropes, I dove straight into the anarchy deep-end from the “naive little kid shallow end” and had to piece shit together on my own. PRE-INTERNET. By the time I pulled my stupid head out of that noxious bucket of flammable disaster it was like a fucking tumbleweed. It was a yellow ball of crunchy not-hair and it took WEEKS to get that shit right, but I learned a valuable lesson from it all- I take shit WAY too literally. Wherever “regular literal” is I have, for most of my life, been about a THOUSAND light years past it into “are you fucking SERIOUS” territory.
  • The same scenario also unfolded when some friends had begun shaving the sides of their heads, it was the 90’s and we were doing that shit before your mom started doing it last year- trailblazers, us. I grew up with my mother, and she took me to the salon with her for my haircuts when I was little so we didn’t have fucking clippers. Whatever. So, I decided to shave the sides of MY hair too but since I’m a literal-minded dipshit what didI do? Christ, you’ll think this is total bullshit but I swear on my mortal soul I took a fucking Gillette FACE RAZOR to my teenage head and went to town. By the next time my mother saw me I was a bloody mess of scabs and blood, and I’m sure all my other less-naive friends were laughing behind my dorky-ass back- but I felt cool so fuck EVERYONE. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m fucking awesome. And, apparently I have a terrifying level of determination and a completely frightening threshold for pain. Bonus!
  • The less we talk about the 2-3 months I had dreadlocks that ended up being too tight at the bottom, thus making me look like “Goth Sideshow Bob”, the better. Moving on.

It’s frankly mind-blowing how many times I’ve heard the phrase “Jesus Christ, Aaron” in my life.

  • I once dated a girl who completely forgot we dated. You read that right. We dated, years passed, we met again coincidentally, and she had NO FUCKING IDEA who I was. And thank fucking Christ, cause she was…”interesting”. That’s the most polite way I can spin it without being socially inappropriate. Things started out well enough, but the cracks started showing when she told me the story about how she got abducted by aliens. Yep, you’re still reading shit right. She told me that she had been abducted by aliens, and in a stunning turn of events her parents BACKED THAT SHIT UP. It was legit terrifying, but her brother was covered in prison tattoos and looked like Todd from Beavis & Butthead so I had to play shit cool and not run out of the trailer screaming. Yes, you read that right too. One time, she had some sort of episode and tried to drive us off a bridge so that essentially ended the relationship for ME. I should also add that I was kind of a mallrat kid at the time, I think we met there in fact. So one Sunday a while after the “bridge occurence” I was loitering around the mall and I had ended up a hickey on my neck. I don’t remember how it got there or who did it but it was there. Luckily, time let me forget about that one. The “bridge bandit” showed up and asked to talk to me, and upon taking a look at my neck she got a very murdery look in her eyes. To her, we were still together and I had cheated on her. In her estimation, trying to kill me and herself wasn’t “breakup material” and I was now the pond scum who had broken her heart. She said if she didn’t kill me her prison-bound brother would do the job, and I wouldn’t know when it was coming. Why didn’t I marry that one? So charming. Anyway, she drove a purple Ford Aspire, which was only made in the 90’s thank God, and every time I saw one I would break out into a cold sweat. Apparently people in 1997 Illinois REALLY got on board with the Ford Aspire, cause the fucking things were all over the place. All it would take was a glance over my shoulder and if my eye caught purple on wheels it was instant fight or flight mode. One time I even dove into the bushes outside the mall cause I thought she was rolling up to do me in, but luckily it was just some other teenage sociopath coming to keep mall security busy. Here’s where this shit gets weird. Ok, MORE weird. About 2 years later, I was playing in a band and one of our friends mentioned that he was gonna bring his new girlfriend over to meet us and her name sounded SUPER familiar. Then, it hit me. I realized it was HER. I pulled him aside and explained to him that we had dated, it did NOT go well, and it would be in my best interest if he did NOT bring her over. He seemed to think I was overreacting so he brings her over and she looks at me, introduces herself, and puts out her hand for a fucking handshake. I said, “are you fucking serious?!” and she stared at me dead-eyed. I told her my name, I told her where I lived, and it was like I was speaking Mandarin. She legitimately had NO IDEA who I was. My skin went COLD. This was a display of psychosis that I STILL can’t wrap my head around, but I figured “fuck it”- I might as well go along with it, and maybe drawing more attention to the past would just trigger a memory that would get me fucking killed. So, like any rational person, I hung out with them multiple times. She was around for a few months, and then (as many children of the corn tragically do) they drifted off on a meth vacation and I never saw them again. If I ever have the ability to fully process that turn of events it’ll be in like a thousand years, but I didn’t get murdered and hopefully those two crazy kids ended up OK too.
  • The less we discuss how my friends and I went around door to door collecting cash for weed under the guise of “taking donations for the crisis in Rwanda” the better. My kids might read this shit someday and I wasn’t formally charged so you can’t prove SHIT.

You can stop shaking your head, I’ve done plenty of it myself ABOUT myself.

  • One time an acquaintance of mine decided to set me up on a date with his cousin. She was coming into town for a few days and her parents were thinking of moving to our town, and somehow he elected THIS little criminal to sire her about. I agreed, he said she was very nice, and pretty, and what the hell else was I gonna do on a Tuesday night? Sit in my room, listen to Mudhoney, and be mad at nothing in particular most likely. He & his date picked me up, we picked her up, and I think we went fucking bowling or some shit. That part doesn’t matter in the slightest to this particular story. She WAS perfectly nice, she was very cute, and I was thinking happy little Bob Ross thoughts. Stupid me. Everything was fucking fine until we got back in the car to take everyone home for the night. We’re driving, everyone’s quiet, and next thing I know-COMPLETELY out of the blue- she turns to me and asks, “You wanna huff some gas?”. Stay with me here, a perfectly nice, perfectly cute teenage girl who I had just had a perfectly nice time with asks me to HUFF FUCKING GAS. You couldn’t pay Kevin Smith a billion god damn dollars to make this shit up for a movie, but it fucking happened to ME. You’ll be happy to know that I respectfully declined, we dropped her off, and I went home to once again sit in my room and listen to Mudhoney- but at least I had some concrete shit to be angsty about this time.

You’d think that would be more awkwardness & humiliation than one human being could ever take- but there’s MORE. I must be part superhero.

The alternately sad AND hilarious truth is that there is WAY more where those came from- seriously, you could fill a respectable area of the Smithsonian with all the teen-angst horror movie shit I lived through and I’d hate to give it ALL away in one shot. What fun would that be? You guys need to be able to laugh at me for years to come, so I’m gonna cut it here. Rest assured, I’ll need a break from all the shit that’s on my mind soon and I’ll give you another taste of the gumbo of fear and disgust that is my origin story. For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my teenage Midwestern nightmare and I bid you GOOD DAY. Also, don’t huff gas. Apparently that message doesn’t reach everyone. 🙂

AFH

A blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration

The Ghost Generation

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