This morning, Emily officially threw in the towel. She said, “It’s not that you look bad…I just can’t handle the back!”
I guess the mini-mullet that I’ve been rockin’ for the last few weeks has finally forced her into submission.
So, by throwing in the towel, that means Emily will have to take me to the Burger Bar in St. Louis where I will enjoy the Rossini burger (kobe beef, sauted foie gras, shaved truffles, madeira sauce on an onion bun). I may let her shift the plans and take me to the Publican in Chicago instead…but we’ll see about that!
What does all of this mean? Well, I won’t look like Chef Keller. And, in about three minutes I’m going to the garage to shave off the mullet!
It was late in the Fall of 1991…I was a sophomore at Delta High School, located in the middle of a cornfield just outside the thriving metropolis known as Muncie, IN. There were a handful of things that consumed my time and attention…swimming, skateboarding, soccer, socializing, and most of all…music.
As a 16-year-old with a license and a car, I enjoyed some new-found freedoms. The greatest of these freedoms centered around music. I was able to drive myself to my percussion lessons. But, even better…,I had the privilege to drive to record stores!
One of my favorite spots to hit in Muncie was the Discount Den (R.I.P.). New and used CD’s filled the east wall…add a cheap fountain soda into the mix…and I was set for lengthy periods of browsing and annoying the workers with questions about release dates and their ability to get a larger selection of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention discs.
On one of my trips to the Den in that fall of ’91, I picked up a new-ish release…Ten by the Seattle band Pearl Jam. In all honesty, this would be a life-changing purchase. I had read a lot about Pearl Jam in various publications. But, being that I was living outside of Muncie, IN, I had not had much exposure to the music of the band…yet! In the days before everyone and their grandmothers had hi-speed internet…one had to depend on outlets like the radio, record stores, MTV (remember 120 Minutes and Alternative Nation), Spin and Rolling Stone to get exposed to new music.
I remember rushing home (well, I’m sure I observed the speed limit) and quickly heading up the stairs to my music room (now my fathers music room), eagerly anticipating throwing the disc into my CD player (yes, this was before every vehicle in the world had a built-in CD player so I had to wait until I got home…Listen, I was lucky to have a tape deck in that 1988 Cavalier).
What I experienced was sheer joy. The music was incredible! Intense, passionate, skillful, and beautiful. I was quick to throw my headphones on and begin learning the drum parts. I played along with Ten more than any other album for a good six month period.
And so, my affection for the music of Pearl Jam began. But, there was a moment in the Spring of 1992 that solidified the bands place in my heart. When the band appeared on MTV’s Unplugged, my appreciation for the band sky-rocketed. I believe it was the intensity of the performance of Porch that lit a little fire in my heart. I remember being overcome by thoughts and feelings that, “Yes, this is good! Yes, this is what I enjoy!”
Later, in the summer of 1992, I would travel to the World Music Amphitheater outside of Chicago and see Pearl Jam perform as part of the Lollapalooza tour. It was amazing. And, I’ve been fortunate to see PJ numerous times throughout the years!
I’ve been a fan ever since that day in the fall of ’91 when I purchased Ten. And…now, on Labor Day weekend of the year 2011, I will once again enjoy the live music of Pearl Jam! Twenty years of following a band. Wow!
Today, I will embrace my last day as a young man. Starting tomorrow, August 8th, I will no longer be able to claim the “young adult” status.
So, that means today I will embark on a journey to be foolish…to be immature…to live with reckless abandon. Because tomorrow all of that has to end. I finally have to grow up and accept my position as an old man.
Tomorrow, I will officially fall out of the “young clergy” group. In not so many words, the UMC defines young clergy as those under the age of 35. Yep, it all ends tomorrow. So, even in the work place, I will be kicked out of the “young guy” group and be one of those old fart pastors. Of course, I do work with the “youth”…so I’m not sure how mature and responsible I will have to be! And, due to the fact that I’ve always considered myself a bit of a rebel, I will have to start a revolution…one that focuses on the ageism of various institutions…Church included!
Tomorrow, I will become a crazy old man. You know, the kind of guy who wears dark socks with shorts…or socks with sandals…and wears his pants above his belly button…But, don’t get me wrong, it comes with perks. Old folks are not responsible for what they say…people just dismiss their comments by saying, “Oh, he’s just old…it’s okay.” And, even better is the fact that old folks are not responsible for the noises that come out of their bodies. People make excuses saying, “Oh, he’s just old…he can’t help it!” So, this whole getting old thing does come with some pretty sweet perks!
Of course, I have the desire to be a cool old man…The kind of old guy that still gets invited to parties…The kind of old guy that people listen to…The kind of old guy that still knows how to have a good time. I want to be the kind of old guy that young guys look at and say, “I hope I’m that hip when I’m 36!” Sadly enough, I’m only “kind of” kidding…I’m “sort of” serious!
So, while today I mourn the loss of my youth…I look forward to see what happens. What kind of old man will I be? I think I’ll ponder that question over a beverage at my all-time favorite pub in the world, the Heorot, this afternoon before I consume mass quantities of Concannon’s awesome cake!