This Old House... Goddamn, I'm A Genius...

This Old House and various other amusing things…


            So, I was initially going to try and make a slightly less angry and much more thoughtful blog, but that got sidetracked right off the bat.  This morning, right as I was ready to leave for band rehearsal, I had to poop.  Normally, I would squeeze it in and just head out but it felt like one of those “eight thirty in the morning,” “quick and light” shits.  It was not.  I hate being blindsided by my own bodily functions.  It threw my whole morning off kilter.  Now, I was fifteen minutes behind schedule, had to carry my guitar eight blocks in the rain to my car, which some drunken asshole, presumably a fucking Timbers fan, had decided to kick multiple times and put several dents in my drivers side door for which I now have to call the fucking cops about(there was a police officers business card on my window, I don’t know); and, worst of all, I still had not had a cup of coffee.  I currently have a pretty nice headache from my lack of caffeine intake this morning but that’s my problem I guess.  And so is the pooping and the door dents.  Well, not really the dents unless you count living in sort of shitty neighborhood my fault.  But anyway, there goes the less angry and more thoughtful.  I now want to punch a person that I have never met, in the back of the head, Homer-style, for kicking my fucking car and have already mentioned bowel movements.  Hot dog, we’re off and running…  But, on a more positive note, I just found out that the entire series of “Duckman”is on YouTube.  So, peaks and valleys.  Some people go out and have fun with other human beings on a Saturday night.  Others have no money, hate everybody anyways,  sit at home and watch “Duckman.”  I, sadly, and to my girlfriends dismay, fall into the latter category…

            What I wanted to talk about, before the unexpectedly large shit and the door dents, was memories.  Specifically, their subjective nature and the romance that we, as imperfect humans, project onto them.  So, where might a thought like that come from?  Well, if you’ll be patient, I’ll tell you.  Last night, I was getting drunk and playing guitar(one of my favorite hobbies) and started playing some songs I haven’t played in a while.  Songs that I had written that never really made the cut or songs that the band hasn’t played in a while; which is most of them.  BWC(Bradley Wik and the Charlatans, for the uninformed) has been busy getting ready to record our second full-length album, tweaking and obsessing over the same twelve or so songs for the past two or three months.  It’s fun…  If you could see my face, it would reveal the necessary Seinfeld-like look intended and widely used for indicating sarcasm.  But, in all seriousness, it isn’t all terrible.  It is kind of fun to see how far you can push a song before it sounds stupid and you throw out all the changes that you just spent six hours pursuing and implementing.  Its all part of the process for people like us.  That is to say, people too neurotic and anal to just leave it alone without first proving that any other way is just terrible(see:  Billy Joel’s alternate, “Reggae” version of “Only the Good Die Young.”  Just thinking about it gives me the shivers).  Basically, that’s been our band rehearsals for a while now.  And, because of that, we haven’t played hardly any of the old songs in a long time.  So, I dusted some of them off last night and played “This Old House” for the first time in months.  I forgot how good of a song it was.  Man, I’m so fucking talented.  So wise and full of insight as well.  I was so taken aback with myself that when I finished, I paused for a moment of reflection.  You want to know the first thought that popped into my head?  Probably not, but I’ll tell you.  I immediately thought of that episode of Wings, also entitled “This Old House,” where Brian and Joe find out that the house they grew up in is about to be demolished.   They go through the myriad of emotions that a lot of us do when confronting a large block of memories all at once.  It’s a really good episode.  Brian and Joe’s first reaction is to be angry that the house is being torn down, regardless of the fact that the soil around it is eroding and soon the house will plunge into the ocean.  Their next thoughts are of all the good times and happy memories they shared there.  They, along with Helen, their childhood friend, decide to take a cooler of beer and head to the house to reminisce and pay their final respects.  After a few beers and some good memories, the boys head upstairs to their childhood room.  Within a few minutes of talking about how much they love and miss the old place, they quickly realize that they also had a lot of terrible memories at the house as well.  From trying to sleep through parental arguments to the eventual divorce of their mom and dad and so on and so forth, they slowly see that they also hate this place.  They then decide to start the demolition of the old house on their own.  The cathartic smashing of the house allows them to keep only the memories they want to and let the rest fall into the sea with the decrepit, abandoned house.  But the joke is on the Hacketts because Fay, unbeknownst to Brian and Joe, and clearly for our amusement as the watcher, has convinced the historical society that the house be preserved as a landmark, forcing them to deal with their anger towards it and all the bad memories it encompasses.  That’s a lot of bang for your buck in a scant twenty or so minutes of network television. 

On a personal note, it was not even one year ago, so it’s still quite fresh in my mind, that the bank repossessed the house that I grew up in from my mom.  I have to say, I went through the same series of emotions as the Hacketts.  The anger, the fond reminiscing and eventually wanting to destroy the house with my  own hands.  Unfortunately, I did not get the pleasure of smashing the house to bits nor do I have the satisfaction of knowing that it will soon fall into the sea.   The hardest part of going back to the house was knowing that it would be the last time that I would.  It’s nice to be able to keep those chapters of your life open because sometimes you need the comfort of nostalgia and the remembrance of simpler times.  I lost that.  And I miss it.  I really do.  And, since the house still stands, whenever I go back to visit Wisconsin I see it; and I still remember all the bad stuff.  When I was going through all the old shit that I had left there, I found a bunch of old notebooks wherein I had written terrible song after terrible song, from when I was still trying to figure out how to write a song that wasn’t a total piece of shit.  Needless to say, almost every song was a complete failure on that end.  There are only a few songs that I wrote in High School that aren’t completely unlistenable.  But, as I flipped through the pages, I noticed how much sixteen to eighteen year old Bradley hated living in the tiny, redneck town he grew up in.  The anger, the depression and so on was hard to read.  I wanted it all to disappear.  I wanted to remember it differently.  I might’ve thrown out all those old notebooks, but the house is still there as a reminder of it all.  Slowly, as an adult, I have begun to accept and appreciate the childhood that I had.  After all, a lot of kids aren’t allowed to spend entire days going wherever they want, doing whatever they want with no adult supervision.  We left the house in the morning and didn’t come home until supper and then went back out til the streetlights came on.  Not too many of the people I know now were afforded the same luxury as kids.  The places they grew up didn’t allow for that.  So I got that going for me, which is nice.  Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to reconcile the bad with the good and realize I quite enjoyed my childhood.  Or, at the very least, call it a wash.  I don’t know, however, if I’ll ever be okay with my teenage years.  But, then again, who is…  Also, since we’re on the topic of going back to the shitty towns we grew up in, I recently re-watched “Young Adult” and somehow, as if by magic, I have some pertinent thoughts on that as well.  God, it’s weird how this shit comes together…  I must be a fucking genius or something…  On a side note, I’ve realized there are actually three types of people in the world:  those who go out and have fun with other human beings on a Saturday night, those who have no money, hate everybody anyways,  sit at home and watch “Duckman,” AND those who have no money, hate everybody anyways, sit at home and learn how to play “All for Leyna” between episodes of “Duckman.”  I, sadly, and to my girlfriends dismay, fall into the latter of the latter categories…  The last one…  If you couldn’t tell, I’m going through a bit of a Billy Joel phase…  Anyways, Young Adult…

This is a very strange subject for me.  There are a lot of conflicting emotions and thought processes happening all at once.  Most of the time, I’m not quite sure how to feel about it.  There’s a lot going on.  But let’s see if we can sort it out.  First off, there’s my fairly intense hatred of Diablo Cody.  I watched Juno for the sole purpose of being able to make fun of it and the people who like it.  People always like to throw it back in your face if you haven’t actually seen the movie.  I always hear “How can you hate it if you haven’t even seen it?”  Which, is dumb.  I know what I like and what I hate by now.  I’ve refined my Tick-like abilities to sense this shit as it happens.  Also, I wonder why whenever I think of an annoying person they always have a Long Island accent.  “When is Jerry going to see the baby…”  Anyways, with Juno sucking so much, I was unsure of how to proceed with Young Adult.  I liked the blurb on Netflix.  It sounded like a movie I would probably watch.  It was depressing enough.  It was set in the Midwest.  The character was going back to the shit town she grew up in.  And, best of all, it had Charlize Theron in it.  BUT, it was written by Diablo Cody.  So, that was all kind of a wash.  Then, I saw Patton Oswalt was in it and that intrigued me.  Now, I’ve never watched him do his standup, but I have seen him in a number of things that I like and he was always funny.  I’m talking about Reno 911 as the weird, nerdy guy, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee as the weird, nerdy guy, King of Queens as the weird, nerdy guy…  So, what the hell.  At the very least, if it sucks, and I mean sucks my dead grandfather’s hairy, German nutsack, it’ll at least add to my arsenal of Diablo Cody-themed hatred…


But, it really wasn’t that bad.  In fact, I might even venture to say it’s pretty good.  Not great, mind you; let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  It made fun of the fake superiority people gain when they leave a small town for a big city.  It poked fun at the notion that those people still living there would have to be miserable while everyone who got out is so much happier; which is also not true.  Most people who leave places for other places seeking happiness are doomed to fail.  Happiness is not a place, nor can it be found in one.  Now, to be sure, this rule does not apply to people who are being discriminated against, in shitty towns across this great country.  Like where I’m from, that would be a gay person or anyone whose skin is not white.  In that case, leaving is definitely the right move and they will certainly be happier almost anywhere else.  But the happiness that most people crave, when they leave a place in search of it, is usually a happiness that they have denied themselves.  I’ve found this out the hard way.  I’ve put my theoretical “happiness” in a “lock box” where the only way in is the loosely-defined “musical success.”  It’s tortured me for years.  I’m slowly, again, as I get older, beginning to reconcile this with my actual life and what’s happening to me.  Believe it or not, I’ve actually become less bitter and angry over the years.  My girlfriend has a lot to do with that.  I’ve found a lot of lost happiness in her and the way she makes me feel about me.  It’s nice.  Hopefully, someday, that will be all happiness that I need…  Whew, and all this from a Diablo Cody-penned flick.  Who would have thought?  But the major takeaway from the film was that hardly any truly shitty people get what’s coming to them.  Even after Charlize Theron’s character was terrible to everyone that she came in contact with and was beaten down and hating herself, as she should, Charlize’s character still gets an esteem boost from Patton’s character’s sister.  Patton’s character’s sister tells Charlize’s character that she is a good person and that they sort of idolize her back in the shit town; and Charlize’s character gets to not hate herself as much as she should.  Which is, oftentimes, the way things work out in real life.  It’s bullshit and I should really pay more attention to character names in movies…  Also, I really want to punch the asshole who kicked my car in the back of the head.  I’m kind of obsessed with that.  Oh, right, I’m less angry and shit.  This is my “less angry” and “more thoughtful” blog.