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Many of the men I’ve admired have come to a point, usually late in life, where they felt the fun was gone and they just weren’t able to do the things that brought them joy. Hunter and Hemingway “opted out” at that point. As I sit through yet another band who’s name I can’t remember on a tour that used to bring me so much joy and see the ever widening gulf between who I have become and what I once identified myself as, I ponder. It’s not the same desperate point those greats faced, but it lends me an inkling of the panic and the despair they must have felt at that point.

It’s hard when you’ve identified yourself for so long as a part of a group or movement only to find that it no longer applies to you, that you’ve lost your credibility as part of it and that somehow you are now part of the diametrically opposed group that you once rebelled against. That’s something of a mind fuck when it finally becomes something you know is true rather than just saying it because it’s what logic dictates. There’s something of a disconnect in the knowing of something as a fact and the believing it, truly understanding that it is so.

I’ve walked around this show with my disdain for all these things I consider childish or superficial. I’ve watched these bands playing music that seems uninspired and lacking in conviction. I’ve looked around with distaste at the most convoluted and unoriginal displays of individuality. Then I look back at me from 20 years ago and can see no difference. I guess this is that uncomfortable part of the transition from youth to age.

So Warped Tour has ended to me as a thing. It’s part of a world that I no longer can be a part of without sacrificing the perspective I’ve gained through years of living. I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of this contemplation of identity, transcribing it into words, and sipping this cold (but overpriced) beer than from any of the time I’ve spent today watching the sheeple bray along to another uninspired (and uninspiring) ballad of discordant growls and in-cohesive instrumentation.

Life’s not over, but that chapter certainly is.

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Hello Suburbia. I’m your unashamed lover.

I’m not going to rush you out of the bar I never go to when I realize one of my real friends is here and might see ME with YOU. Your not my secret lover. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I bask in the shamelessness of your consumerism. Your morbidly obese sheeple are a comfort. I want to fall between the folds of their butter and greasy back fat and be held gently as I’m rocked to the sleep of the blissfully ignorant herd.

I’m sitting here, staring out the front door of my three bedroom slice of American dream (read: “coma”), listening to some relaxing third wave ska and I’m wondering about my place in this life. The music takes me back to a time when the world was a party and tomorrow didn’t exist. Everything was about today. Feast or famine, I always seemed to be happy with the moment.

Intervening years weren’t quite so pleasant. You go through that period where you try to fit into someone else’s picture of the perfect world. It might be family, it might be a significant other’s, it may even be just what you think the rest of the world wants. Why shouldn’t you want it to? So you do a bunch of dumb shit, you go through the motions, you convince yourself you’re happy and you strap on your smile before you go out to fake it for another day.

At the end of the day, when the prying eyes and opinions of all those people that don’t really matter are shut out by your front door, when you are alone and still in the small hours of the night in your safe little twin size under two blankets and a duvet, then…then you lay awake and see yourself untainted by those other influences. This is when the wheels start to turn. You start to wonder why you aren’t happy. You’ve got all the accoutrements of a happy normal life. You have that picture perfect life. Only it’s painted by Norman Rockwell and you know what? I’m more of a fan of Mark Ryden and Banksy.

Then you make a decision: Do you keep compromising what you really want to do for yard sales and potlucks at work, or do you go off script and spray paint your own version of utopia on a freeway overpass?

So here I am, years down the road from the night I made that decision, writing, playing music, getting more tattoos, but still sitting down to watch How I Met Your Mother. Because that’s the great thing about life. It’s not an all or nothing situation. You get to make your own version of reality. Mine just happens to be a little on the artsy and unconventional style…but with a boner for the tragedy of the true American horror story: Suburbia.

Love,
Mr. Wolfe

Photo

Skullcandied. #acrylics #skullcandy (at Andy’s House)

Photo

Just finished my first painting ever, “Tom Waits, Misery is the River of the World” #tomwaits #acrylics (at Andy’s House)