Jan. 16th, 2011

janradder: (watt)
A Song That Reminds Me of Someone

"Valentine" by the Replacements doesn't remind me of any one person. Instead, it reminds me of nearly every girl or woman I've ever had a crush on, and it's because of these lines about halfway through the song: "Are you strung out on some face?/Well I know it ain't mine." With the exception of Haddayr, I probably could have said that to all of my crushes. For whatever reason, I've tended to be attracted to people obsessed with someone other than me. I'm not sure what that says about me, except that maybe I'm an idiot when it comes to these things. I know, boo-fucking-hoo. Anyway, one of the things Paul Westerberg does perfectly is capture that feeling of what it's like to be the loser who knows he's only second best, or maybe just an afterthought, or maybe just someone who never seems to get any breaks in life, but still hopes that maybe he's wrong. It's not a fun feeling, but it's honest, and I've certainly felt it many times myself.

janradder: (Default)
When I was twelve what I wanted more than anything in the world was to be Jim Morrison. He was cool. He was sexy. He was godlike. He didn't give a crap about anything. And, like me, he was a misfit. Or at least that was the story according to No One Here Gets Out Alive, which my neighbor had loaned me so I could find out who exactly the Doors were.

As a kid, Morrison had moved around a lot because his dad was in the Navy, so he didn't have a lot of friends, or at least not a lot of friendships that lasted. He was also kind of fat. When you look at the photos of him from before he moved to LA and joined the Doors, you don't see the Lizard King staring back. Instead, you see a chubby, friendless teen that looks a little bit scared. To think that only a few years after those photos were taken, he became a lithe sex symbol wanted by millions, made a scared friendless kid like me think maybe that can happen to me, too.

After I read the book, my neighbor sold me his old, scratched-up Doors' greatest hits record for a couple bucks, and after school, when no one else was home, I would put it on my Bee Gee's record player and pretend to be Jim Morrison. Holding onto the microphone that had come with the record player, I'd leap, and writhe, and stalk through my room as if it were a stage. In front of me were thousands of fans, all of them in my thrall. I'd sing, and scream, and shout, and howl, while the rest of the Doors played behind me. There I was -- the Crawling King Snake, Mr. Mojo Risin himself. When I was Jim Morrison, I was invincible. I wasn't the kid no one sat with at lunch. I wasn't the kid who girls laughed at. I was a god. And it felt good. As the song said, the music was my special friend.

Of course, when the music was over, I was back to being plain old Jan Radder. And when I went to school, I walked through the halls with my shoulders slumped, trying to make myself as small as possible so that maybe I might go unnoticed. And the idea that I could ever go through a transformation from loser to rock star was laughable. For that brief period of time when the record spun, though, and I imagined myself dancing on fire, I could pretend otherwise.

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janradder

March 2012

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