You’re Too Soft for That Hard Reality, Taylor: Part Two

In case you missed Part One, you can either scroll down the page, or if you are as lazy as I am and can’t even bear the scrolling for god’s sake, you can click here you useless so and so.

Let me tell you something else, soft-shell.  This is going to be difficult for you to hear.

You’re not Daryl.

No matter how much you think you’re the Daryl of your friend group, you’re not Daryl. 

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Judith, the actual infant on The Walking Dead, has a better chance of surviving than you do.  If someone gave you a crossbow, you would pick it up and be like, “How does this thing…where is the…how do you…” and then accidentally shoot yourself in the face with it immediately and you know it.  I can practically hear the “Fwoop!  AHHHHHHHHH!!!!” sound right now.

You know who you really are?  You’re Carl’s backup hat.  You’re not even the real hat.  You’re the hat they use for far away stunt scenes.  Know who you’re not?  You’re not Daryl.

Maybe if you had spent more time being a degenerate growing up and less time on your “thesis” you’d have a leg up, but noooo.  You decided that your late teens and early 20s would be better spent getting an education than being a dirtbag in the woods, albeit a dirtbag with a heart of gold.

That’s the thing, too.  Everybody wants to be Daryl, but nobody wants to put in the prerequisite dirtbag work to get there.  People are just like, “Oh, I have a feeling that I would be good at survivalism in the woods!” as they put a ramekin of artisan hummus into their smart-fridge and cozy up to a loved one on the chaise lounge they were finally able to track down from that Pinterest page.

You want to be Daryl?  That means you have to spend your formative and adult years living in the gutter with MERLE.  You can’t be Daryl unless you’ve done your Merle time.  It’s just not possible.  Just like you can’t hunt squirrels for dinner with a crossbow with such precision unless, prior to the zombie invasion, you actually had to hunt squirrels for dinner on a regular basis.  No amount of present-day zombie fighting is going to magically transform your liberal arts degree into 35 years’ experience of living in abject poverty – with MERLE.

What I’m saying, is that I’m looking into the zombie apocalypse future, and you’re definitely drying your tears with a diploma from a small college in Vermont, while the actual dirtbag grown-ups are trying to pull a crossbow arrow out of your face.

Also, just throwing this out there, but growing up as a dirtbag does not typically lend itself to becoming Daryl – Merle experience or not.  Daryl is an anomaly.

Daryl is, perhaps, the most anomalous character who has ever existed in the history of the world.

As a dirtbag myself, I knew many a potential Daryl in my youth.  Poor, dirty boys shredding at a flattened roadkill raccoon with their pocket knives and then chasing each other around with the raccoon dick bone.

Stinky-assed moppets covered with impetigo, with globs of snot perpetually underneath each nostril like slimy, green Chiclets hanging out of their nose, who always, always had that weird white stuff in the corners of their mouths.

Boys who were left to fend for themselves because their parents could only ever be found either at the bar or in lock-up.

Boys who ate their own scabs, who when asked what they would wish for if they found a genie in a magic lamp, would take a moment to glance around and study the squalor they lived in and then definitively answer, “I wish I could kick Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan in the nuts.”

Had the Walking Dead been on television back then, every last one of those boys would have told anyone who would listen that they most certainly, most definitely, most absolutely were the Daryl of their friend group.

***Spoiler alert! ***

They all grew up to be MERLE.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion in Part Three…

You’re Too Soft for That Hard Reality, Taylor: Part One

I saw a grown adult drinking a grape soda the other day so I ran outside, put both of my arms out to the side Michael Jackson-style and yelled, “Ahhhhhhh!” and waited for the onslaught of zombies to sweep through the city.  The world, clearly, was ending.

Hang on.  World’s not ending?  You mean you’re gonna drink grape soda with plans to live? That shit is a zombie apocalypse beverage!

Grape soda is the thing you drink either right as the apocalypse is happening because “screw it” or save for after the apocalypse when every other form of liquid on Earth has already been consumed.  You only drink grape soda if it’s your last resort before drinking Florida pond water which, by the way, is currently 90% zombie particles as of the date of this post.

I wouldn’t be around very long for either scenario, so I guess I shouldn’t really care.  That’s because any time I watch a post-apocalyptic zombie movie or TV show, the following fact is made abundantly clear to me: I have no will to live.

It’s not from an underlying case of depression, although my built-in, super deluxe, ultra luxurious, wall-to-wall nihilism is a fun quirk that makes me a real hit at baby showers.  Everybody loves it when they open a pack of bibs and some asshole says, “You should keep those around for when you’re old and frail and unable to feed yourself after this kid has zapped 10 years off your life when they decide to skip college in favor of selling hacky-sacks at Dave Matthews Band shows.”

The main problem can really be traced back to straight-up laziness.  Back when I used to watch The Walking Dead, before it got SO GROSS that I had to stop watching it, I was always amazed at how much work people were willing to do to stay alive.  And not “work” to stay alive in an awesome world that’s like a permanent disco with free waffles.  “Work” to stay alive in a world that thoroughly sucks.

A sucky world that’s like, “Oh, I hope I survive through this day of bashing in zombie heads and barely escaping with my life and eating rats and fighting factions of cannibal survivors with bad teeth and foraging for expired antibiotics…so that I can do the same shit tomorrow.  And the day after that.  And the day after that. And don’t even get me started on Carl’s hat.”

Did they kill Carl’s hat yet?  Please tell me they killed Carl’s hat.

Honestly, if you’re still alive on that show it’s only because you’re some kind of shitty, overly-optimistic Pollyanna.  You took that “Which Sex and The City character are you?” quiz in Cosmo and it said, “You’re a Charlotte!”  You refuse to accept reality.  You’re living in a dream world.  Everyone is tired of your shit.  Just die already.

And I tell you what else – I don’t do well with jump-out scenarios at all – and I imagine zombie world is chock full of jump-out scenarios.

Ask Bobby.  Even if I know he’s home, and he walks into a room and quietly says, “Oh, hey…” I scream and nearly jump out of my skin.  Then I have to sit down from the head rush.  The possibility of post-apocalyptic jump-out scenarios alone would be enough to make me go leap off the top of a tall building at the first zombie I saw, even if the zombie was just on the evening news and I was otherwise safe inside the building at the moment.  I’d be too jacked-up to deal with any of it.  I know this about myself.

I’m too soft and I’m too lazy and I startle way too easily.  I’m not going to burden you with rescuing me.  I will take myself out to save you the trouble.  It’s a gift to you.

I’d see the zombie on the TV screen, all wrangle-jangled up tearing the entrails out of someone, and I would be like, “Huh.  Well would you look at that.”  Then I would chug a bottle of copier toner, or whatever was nearby, and pitch myself off the top of the building, because no.  Not dealing with that.

Even if they said there were zombies in Guam that were nowhere near mainland U.S., I would still go sit on the roof of the building and pop open the cap on the copier toner just in case.  The moment the evening news said “At least one zombie has gotten out of Guam,” I’d yell, “It’s Go Time!” and begin my last meal of copier toner and eventual dessert of high-speed sidewalk.  Because I know my limitations.

Plus, on top of everything else, my sensitive skin would never survive the zombie apocalypse.  If I didn’t have access to clean water to wash my face twice a day, I’d be all splotchy and fugged just like *that*.  So besides dealing with zombies, now I’d be hideously ugly, too?  I’d have to start using my “personality” to make friends and influence people?  Fuuuuuuuck.  GREAT.  JUST GREAT.  This post-apocalyptic world just keeps getting better and better! Why don’t you just have a couple zombies chomp off both my ass cheeks while you’re at it and make me learn how to do math to survive?!

Stay tuned for Part Two…

In Defense of Hair Bands

This, dear friends, is the exact moment that a frontman in a hair band locked eyes with me for the very first time.  (Please note the super boss Metal Edge magazine t-shirt.)

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This particular frontman is CJ Snare from Firehouse.  A great triumph of mine in recent years was finding a karaoke list that included Firehouse “Don’t Treat Me Bad”, and I sang the shit out of that song.

I’ve drifted apart from many things of my youth – things that I thought I’d love forever.  Winn-Dixie Superbrand individually wrapped cheese slices, white Fayva high-top sneakers, respect for Corey Feldman as a dancer, but the one thing I’ve never parted ways with is hair bands.

If you’re wearing red and black tiger-striped spandex leggings and suspenders with no shirt and preening around a stage singing songs about (a) strip clubs, (b) the Sunset Strip, or (c) strip clubs located on the Sunset Strip, then hell yes.  Count me in.

If your band name is filled with deliberate misspellings and needless accent marks, names of cities in east Asia even though you’re from Scandanavia, or is simply the last name of the person who has the coolest last name in the band – I’m all about it.

I was thinking about it last month when Anne and I went to see Poison for the tenth time, or as most of my “cool” musician friends refer to them, “Do you seriously like those bands?  I have lost all respect for you.  Don’t ever talk to me again.  Ever.”

Fact:  The only reason I ever took my Poison door poster down was to put up a Skid Row one, that I promptly covered with red lipstick kisses.  The Skid Row door poster was surrounded by posters of Kip Winger.  I bear no shame, and I shame no bears.  Related, Kip Winger is an unapologetically hairy man.

My cool friends will often accuse me of just trying to be “ironic” by liking these bands, even after I assure them that I’m not, and pull out my collection of Winger t-shirts, much to their horror, as proof.  My love for all things hair band runs as deep as the swimming pool in the L.A. Guns video for “The Ballad of Jayne”.

It blasts forth from my heart like a fire hydrant in the Slaughter “Up All Night” video.

It is as pure and platinum as Matthew and Gunnar Nelson’s long, blonde locks.

That’s right.  I’m at Nelson level hair band fandom.

Nelson.

I feel like you really need to know the depths to which my feelings lie, or else this entire conversation will be for naught.  I don’t want you walking away from this thinking I’m talking about rock bands like Van Halen, a band that managed to be the perfect hybrid of wicked fun and incomparable talent.  I don’t want you to think, “Hey, that Maggie sure does like AC/DC!  What a cool lady!” and then call it a day.

Motley Crue is, in fact, the most cerebral band I like from the 80s.

I want you to know what you’re getting into here.  If you put on an Enuff Z’Nuff video, my eyes will glaze over and I will sing along.

Hair bands came along at a time in my life when things really couldn’t have been worse.  Poison, in particular, came around when I was in middle school, the literal worst.  The god awful, miserable, worst of the worst.  The onset of the hideousness that was puberty, living in a house with caved-in bathroom walls and falling-down ceilings, carpets blackened with ground-in cigarette ashes, and piles of old furniture rotting in the yard.  Where when you flipped on the kitchen light, you could be assured that at least 200 cockroaches would scatter for cover, and at least one of them would stand there, defiantly, like “Fuck you, kid.  This is my house,” and you’d know that, deep down, they were right.  Getting shipped off to live with out-of-state relatives when the shit really hit the fan at home.  Getting groped in school nearly every day when the going attitude was, “Ignore it.  Maybe all these guys with their hands all over your body just like you!”

Having a goddamned perm at the exact same time as 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner became popular.

Mr. Belvedere being cancelled.

Middle school in the mid-to-late 80’s:  It was a real crap festival.

No matter how shitty things got, when I turned on the television, I could be assured that Bret Michaels would be there wearing leather chaps, fingerless gloves and a bandanna, literally humping his way up a microphone stand while singing about bops that were unskinny and dancing with laser beams in the shape of ladies.  You could always count on fun times with those bands.  And as a matter of fact, as a singer my entire vocal affectation can be directly attributed to the thousands of hours I spent singing Poison songs as a tween/teen.  I wanted to be Bret Michaels.

Fun was always part of the package with hair bands.  They were like a candy necklace around the bag of garbage that was my life.

I’m not telling you this to get your sympathy for my troubles.  I’m telling you this to get your sympathy for hair bands.

Hair bands provided me with an escape from the misery of my life, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  I know it because I can see it on the faces of the thousands of people who still show up for the reunion tours, who still scream like it’s Beatlemania when Kip Winger walks out onto a stage in his leather pants, and to women like me who feel proud to see Lita Ford still tearing that shit UP.

It’s the pageantry.  The wink-winkiness of it all.  The pointy guitars and choreographed moves while ripping out scales at nearly supersonic speeds.  The men in frosted pink lipstick and thigh-high red boots and the women in flamey leather jumpsuits pouting for the photographer in Circus magazine.  The frontman wearing a pair of cow-print chaps and doing high-kicks onstage.  My god, how could you not love it?  How could you not love every single second of it?

I mean, it’s just rock ‘n roll. Why you “cool people” gotta be so uptight about it?

And I’ll tell you this much, smartypants, the fact that I love hair bands doesn’t detract from my love for “ooh serious bands” like Wilco and Dinosaur Jr even one little bit.  Just because you love sumo wrestling doesn’t mean you can’t also love greco-roman wrestling, or professional wrestling, or mud wrestling.  The love for one thing doesn’t detract from the love for all the other things.

That being said, if Jeff Tweedy from Wilco and CC DeVille from Poison were both tied to train tracks and I could only save one of them…

I’m just saying the guy doing the high-kicks in the leather pants is probably not going to be the one who ends up becoming train meat.