Are You Listening to This?

Mar 24, 2014 by

With the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death looming on the horizon, I thought I’d mine the archives for something I wrote in the 90s.  “Are You Listening to This” is one of a series of conversations I wrote between a man and a woman.  This one involved music, name dropped Kurt Cobain and is a great example of the slippery slope one climbs when name spewing pop culture references.  Sure, everyone still remembers Kurt Cobain and Robert Downey Jr., but  Morton Downey Jr., does anyone remember him?  It’s also a great example of why my wife is a saint.  Imagine being married to me and having this same conversation every time the radio is turned on.

So put on your comfiest flannels, play that rare vinyl edition of God’s Balls and enjoy the following piece written by a much younger me.


Are You Listening to This

“Are you listening to this?  First he jumps to the chorus before he even completes a decent verse, the chorus itself is a rotten piece of melodramatic tripe, and now he’s spewing this pitying downtrodden world weary malarkey as if his college years were really that bad.  What is it with this stuff?  You know there is a huge difference between being sensitive and just being a pussy.  This man and his band have definitely crossed that boundary, and with gusto I might add.  Just listen to this… Are you listening?”

Rachel mumbles an “Uh-hunh” while she fumbles between the seat and the door.  Her head pressed hard against the window as she strains to see into the darkness of the car floor.  I better not have lost that fucking joint, she thinks.  How could I have?  It was just in my hand.  I’m in the car, the joint is in the car, the windows are rolled up.  It’s obviously down here somewhere.

“I mean really, what is up with all this shit on the radio.  Is this poor Kurt Cobain’s fucking legacy?  Is this really what he spawned?  From all that beautiful noise, comes a bunch of excuses for 12 Step therapy sessions set to atonal crap.  God, do you know what this is?  It’s a fucking Power Ballad, a god dammed power ballad worthy of Journey them fucking selves.”  When he said Journey he spit it with such venom; Rachel was glad he was facing the windshield and not her, because she was sure he would have sprayed her with his critique.

She had her fingers squeezed tightly between the metal sides of her seat, and the floor.  Just enough room for a pencil, or a joint, or a pencil sized joint to fall, but just a little too tight for even her small fingers.  Her mom used to always say she had piano players fingers.  Long and thin, more so than one would expect from her small frame.  She looked like she would have short stubby fingers, but not so.  The tip of her finger was grazing something, it had to be it.

“You know, Normal Mailer said it best, when he critiqued “American Psycho”, art is not about exercising your demons.  Leave that shit to your fucking shrink.  It’s forcing us to be a part of your therapy session.  Who wants that?  Hell your shrink is even bored by your session, what makes you think it’s interesting to the rest of us?   What’s worse is people BUY THIS SHIT.   It’s fucking crammed down everyone’s throat on the radio and MTfuckingV.  A bunch of useless plastic teen wannabes, as insightful as your local meteorologist, flap their fat gums about the intense vocals and powerful guitar to a league of vapid white kids with disposable income who’s lives are so empty they have nothing better to do than wish they were depressed, but in an artistic way.  They clamor over themselves to buy this schlock.  You know what they remind me of?  The kids I mean…They remind me of the Morton Downey Jr. Show, remember that?  He always talked about the Pablum Puking Liberals. That’s what these kids are:  Pablum puking Modern Primitives.  They think art is about tattooing your neck and piercing your eyebrows.”

Rachel had just pulled out a stick of lip balm, much to her dismay, as she said, “Morton Downey Jr., that guy was fucked up.  Remember when his neighbors found him asleep in their 7 year old daughter’s bed, after he’d been out partying all night and wandered into the wrong house?”

“That was Robert Downey Jr.  He’s actually pretty cool.  Morton Downey Jr. was the guy who had that horrible shock jock talk show.  He lost any momentum he had when he faked an attack by Nazis.  Motherfucker was so stupid he painted the swastika on his face while looking in a mirror, so he put it on backwards.  He went down so fast he had to walk away from the limelight with his conservative dick all shriveled up and limp.”

Rachel applied the lip balm with her left hand while she continued to reach under the seat with her right hand. With a triumphant exclamation of glee, she finally withdrew the joint.  Far from a pinner, this was as big an accomplishment as she cared to complete; her day was done.  She pushed in the cigarette lighter, then hit the scan button on the radio.

“What are you doing?  I was listening to that…”




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