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.

The Real Shannon Hamilton of Orange County

We have a neighbor who has a gigantic car that spills over into my reserved parking space to the point that I can’t even use my space or get into my car sometimes, and he also likes to let his overtanned, meathead jock friends and day-shift coked-up stripper castoffs park in my reserved parking space, you know, whenever.

He has actually parked his car half in my space, and half in his, so that the line is right down the middle of his car.  He has parked his car parallel across four people’s parking spaces before.

He once told me straight-faced that this was not an issue, because I could just go park in a guest space.  You know, instead of my clearly marked, reserved parking space.

I could just go park in a guest space if I had a problem with him parking in my clearly marked, reserved parking space.    

We can’t seem to break him of the habit, no matter how many “discussions” we and the other neighbors have had with him about it.  He’s probably too busy reminiscing about all the towels he snapped at other dewdz’ asses in high school locker rooms to focus on things like “being a decent human being” or “putting on a shirt for ONCE”.

Ohhhh.  Oh, I hate him so much.  To borrow a Jason Lee line from Mallrats with regard to Ben Affleck’s character, Shannon Hamilton, “The guy’s a walking hard-on just looking for a hole!”

In case you think I’m being unfairly harsh, this is a man who has actually referred to his car, out loud, as “sexy”.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  He should totally fuck his car.

So for the past year, every time I’m in my apartment and I hear his stupid gigantic car start up outside, I hold my middle finger up in the air, good and high.  Even though I am inside and he is outside.  Even though he can’t see it.  Even if I’m in the middle of eating or watching a movie and it is inconveniencing me to do it.  Sometimes I jump up and down and do a little dance while doing it.

I am dedicated to flipping him off every time I hear his gigantic stupid car, because even though I don’t believe that there is such a thing as “vibes” that I can shoot like lasers out of my middle fingertip, I like to cover my bases just in case and send a big ol’ batch of “fuck you” to him every chance I get.

I figure maybe one of those vibes will get through and he’ll come back home later with a haircut he’s not pleased with, or gonorrhea test results that are, yet again, not in his favor.

Maybe he’ll find out the hard way that just one too many tanning sessions causes irreversible wiener shriveling.

Or that someone he bullied in high school just bought out his company and now he’ll have to go work at that store in the mall where they keep the air-conditioning at like 85 degrees and blast House music all day, and he’ll get fed up with it and quit, and then eventually fall into a bottomless pit of despair as well as an actual bottomless pit, never to return.

Or they’ll change the formula of the wing sauce at Hooters and he’ll have an allergic reaction to it where his fingers will get all swollen up and his pinky rings won’t fit anymore.

Maybe his girlfriend, instead of calling out his name, will call out “Maroon 5!” the next time they’re doing it, and he’ll lose his boner because he’s the one who usually gets to call out “Maroon 5!” when they’re doing it.

Oh.  Ohhhhhhhh, I hate this guy.  Ohhhhhhhh,  STOP PARKING IN MY SPACE, DICK.

Shout-out to my one neighbor lady who called him a man-baby to his face.  ❤

Update since I originally wrote this post:  Someone in his building (I assume him) caused a plumbing backup at the property, the maintenance guy decided to try to fix it with a garden hose instead of calling a plumber, and flooded our entire apartment with raw sewage, so all our furniture and everything on our floor was destroyed and we just had to move to a new apartment and replace all our furniture at a moment’s notice.  Our landlord called us when we were out of state on vacation to tell us about it.

In short, on top of everything else, this guy shit on our house and our vacation.

At the very least, he is no longer our neighbor.