As a teenager, I liked to play video games. Duh. I also liked to play video games without any sound and listen to music. Duh. Anyway, when my parents were around I listened to things that I thought my mom (because my dad, who worked nights, was usually asleep) would like. That meant R.E.M. instead of Slayer or Hüsker Dü instead of Corrosion of Conformity. Except my mom hated R.E.M. and Hüsker Dü. They gave her a headache apparently. To me it sounded like The Beatles or The Byrds. And kinda like Herman’s Hermits (they were melodic, you know).
One day mom came home from work and asked, “What is this you’re listening to?”
“Hüsker Dü,” I said.
“Oh, I wish you wouldn’t have told me that. I was liking it.”
(love ya, mom. thanks for putting up with me and my music.)
I’m sitting in a meeting discussing performance evaluations using a forced bell curve that is to be used at our little satellite created and enforced by the mothership office. I’m not involved in the discussion because my department is even more splintered than the rest. Here’s the deal (without explaining too much): I directly manage a group of 2 (used to be 3) people who belong to a subcontracted group in a workplace that has “actual” workers for this company and “contract” workers (and subcontractors!), which means I can make suggestions for the evaluations–even write them–but it doesn’t matter. The main company I contract to has me oversee three separate offices that contain other subcontract employees, but, once again, I can only make suggestions as to what they should do with their time (luckily, I don’t have to write performance reviews for these people since they’re spread throughout the country). Each office’s situation is different, therefore whatever works in one office must be adjusted in order to work with the others. Any suggestions I can make must be filtered through at least three organizational managers and then upheld by people I’ve never met. So, basically, I do a lot of shit; catch a lot of shit for both doing and not doing too much or not enough; and no one cares or even knows what my job means. I’m like a ghost that can get blamed for a house fire, but mostly just gets the reaction of scared surprise when I rattle chains or make myself known.
So what does this mean for this song by Hüsker Dü? A song that can be viewed as either an 80s version of a “My So Called Life”-ish ad for teen angst or as a cynical look at high-school-as-life (or is that redundant?). Is it a “golly gee whiz life is hard but there’s something better” or is it more of a “I love my dead gay son!” statement about teen years; a time that most people I know thought to be the most horrible and easily forgettable time in their life. It’s because the above situation is a lot like high school for many people and that irony isn’t really lost on me at all.
I really don’t know at the moment. I guess what I’m saying is that the shit you deal with in high school drags on much longer than just those four (sometimes three) years. You should stop to smell the roses every day.
*I was let go from this job pretty close to when I wrote this. I don’t think that’s related to anything–and in fact I know it’s not–but it seems like a relevant point.