But in this case, I was able to follow it fairly well.
I was stopped at a light when an older Honda Civic (driven by a teenage boy, which matters) pulled up alongside me. You’ve seen this kind of car before: lowered to the point of scraping the ground, huge fin on the trunk that made me wonder if the back end would take flight, (the fin had to be compensating for…well, I won’t go there), an exhaust that was as big around as a trash can and as loud as a coughing, sputtering Jolly Green Giant.
The whole gaudy symbol of teenage-boy insecurity I could live with. I just shake my head knowing the police and/or accidents would either help the kid quickly grow up or bury him in some form or another –be it figuratively through tickets or literally.
It amazes me when teens driving a car like this cannot figure out why the police pull them over so often. Come on kids, it’s called profiling and in your car’s case, it works. But I digress…
I could live with the obnoxiousmobile running roughly along side me, but what I had trouble with was the ‘music.’
To be honest, I’m not sure it was music. All I could hear was a booming bass that sounded like a cannon going off to a 4/4 beat. It was so loud it rattled my doors and windows. The passenger kid’s head bobbed in unison with the explosions as though he enjoyed it. His hearing will be as acute as a brick’s by the time he’s thirty.
I had my window down and smiled to the passenger kid and made a motion for him to roll his window down. He rolled it down as the driver lowered the volume on the cannon. The kid looked at me.
I smiled very politely and said, “You do know your music sucks, right? And there’s probably better than an odds-on bet that most of the town would rather not listen to it with you.”
He looked at me for a second, surprised, but then his hand shot up like a gunfighter’s. I felt sorry for him then, because when he waved I noticed he was missing three fingers and a thumb. Had I known he had a disability, I might not have been so forward.
The driver hit the gas as the light turned green and the Civic coughed and sputtered away in a cloud of blue smoke. I’m not sure, but I think the passenger might have yelled, “Luck to you” as they pulled away –which was cool, because not many adults run into the good kids out there in the world and there are a lot of them.
As I drove on I thought about the kids’ ‘music.’
I don’t think it classifies as music, but then, the generation before me didn’t think my music classified as music and the generation before them probably thought the same, all the way down the line to the new guy Gog hitting a rock with a stick instead of hitting two sticks together the way it should be done, the way Banga would have done it in the old caves.
And I thought about the old Don McLean song “American Pie” and how most of the lyrics made absolutely no sense, but that everyone just knew it was about Buddy Holly dying in a plane crash. I always thought it was about those good old boys drinking whiskey and rye and then somehow drowning in a dry levee. And I wondered who got the Chevy when they were gone.
Then I had my small epiphany: The day the music dies is different for each of us.
It’s the day we realize the next generation’s music sucks. In my case, it was August 14, 1980. I turned on my car stereo and heard Devo’s “Whip It” for the first time. That all time song suckfest was quickly followed by Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration,” and the final nail in the coffin, “Funky Town” by the one-hit wonder group called Lipps Inc.
Music hasn’t been the same since. It pretty much died.
It does live on for other, younger people.
But one day, the nice kid who waved with his disabled hand and yelled “Luck to you!” will discover his own date when the music died.