Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Def Leppard Saved My Life Today

I was driving down the Turnpike and getting closer and closer to this concrete wall I've had my eye on for a few weeks now. I've been thinking specifically that ramming my car into it at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour would most likely lead to sweet, sweet instant death. Eternal slumber. I love sleeping, when I can actually manage to do it, and lately I've been praying for the brand you don't wake up from. Obviously, "she died peacefully in her sleep of natural causes" is a way better obituary line than, say, "she bashed her car into a concrete wall and endured massive head trauma which killed her instantly". The former just a poem. The latter gives you way too many nasty images with which to contend. God is stingy with dispensing peaceful deaths it seems. Sometimes, you just have to do the job yourself. And as with all do it yourself projects, death can get pretty messy.

So this wall is just, well, it's perfect for my suicidal purposes. And after laying my eyes upon this gem of a bumper sticker earlier today I was so ready to go not so gentle in that good night.

This world is just crawling with ignorant douchebags, isn't it? My rage had reached it's absolute apex after laying eyes upon this elitist, xenophobic bullshit. Do I like it when people speak English when talking to me? Sure. It's always preferable for me to understand what people are saying. But to put that sentiment on a fucking bumper sticker laden with an eagle and an American flag is something only a true asshole would do. Seriously, this guy is committed to being an asshole. It's, like, his job. What's particularly irksome is that he somehow connects this mind-blowingly narrow outlook to his patriotism, to being American. That's not American, fuckwad. It's the exact opposite of American.

I snapped the picture because I didn't think my words alone could capture the grossness of this...this thing. Plus, I got his license plate in the photo. So if any of my readers are truly devious (or awesome) and could "run the plate" and get an address for me, please do so. I would love to start sending this guy a bunch of crap in different languages. Nothing threatening or anything. I'd just write him letters in like gibberish and fuel his paranoia. It would seriously give me a reason to live. I'm so fucking pathetic.

So after seeing that shitty bumper sticker, my spirits reached a new low. And I thought of my special wall and even started getting a little speed in preparation for the collision. (I need to make it a good one if I don't want to end up in a wheelchair or some locked down psychiatric facility without the capacity or means to kill myself proper). And what should come on the radio but the opening chords of Pour Some Sugar on Me. I know it's totally corny, but I love that fucking song. I had, like, this really big decision to make. I could bash my car into the wall and put myself out of my misery or I could keep on speeding down the Turnpike and sing the shit out of that awesome song. So, sing I did.

Just like I did one hot day in August, 1988. I was a freshly minted teenager, awkward and barren of rebellion. My family was at some church picnic in a public park, which was totally corny but I wasn't even cool enough to know that. It was one of those rare days when my sister didn't find me parasitic and irritating. She let me tag along with her and her pretty friend Angel as they walked around the park with one of those big portable radios. Ok, yes, it was a boom box. Fucking horrible, how big shit used to be. Out of the speakers of the monstrous boom box poured the raucous music of Def Leppard, the Hysteria album on cassette. We thought we were cool. So, so cool. Or maybe rad. Nobody could have convinced us otherwise - not Maddona, not Tiffany, and not that snooty bitch Debbie Gibson. I must have been wearing a pair of Jams and a Hypercolor T-shirt and a god-awful banana clip in my hair. Let me correct that. I must have been wearing a pair of cotton pants I cut to mid-calf to look like Jams and a knock off hypercolor T-shirt from JC Penney and a godawful banana clip in my hair. My bangs were probably teased up so high and stiff that a bird could have perched up there and I wouldn't have even noticed. I had no idea I looked ridiculous. I mean, everybody did.

Nothing important really happened that day. It wasn't some coming of age moment or anything. It was just three teenage girls hanging out at the park, checking out boys, and blaring loud music under a hot sun. And it hits me, as I write this, like a gut punch, that out of the three of us I'm the only one that's still alive. Amy died of cancer. Angel died giving birth to twins a couple of years ago. It's strange to be the sole carrier of memories that used to be shared. I mean not just of that day but of so many other moments between my sister and I. And in some way I feel responsible for them and for her as if it were my job somehow to tell her story. And maybe that's it. That's all it takes to turn a sad girl off a suicidal mission, a cheesy song leading to a chain of thoughts leading to some deeper truth: that I am a memory bearer and story teller. The wall will have to wait.


  1. Don't you dare think of inconveniencing me like that again. After all, who else am I going to read??

  2. Those bumper stickers are everywhere in my neighborhood. Joey Vento is the guy that owns Geno's Steaks, and he's taken to not serving anyone who can't speak English. Despite the fact that his side of our neighborhood is almost totally Asian and Mexican.
    Jerk off.

  3. Maybe you should buy the CD and keep it handy, like IN THE FUCKING CAR WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES?!?!?

  4. If memories are what you have, then cling to them tightly. These people live in you, my friend . . .

  5. What Rob said. And SciFi Dad. Stay away from the wall.

  6. Whatever keeps you with us, darling. I second SciFi Dad: We'll all pitch in for a CD, mmm'kay? And then we'll translate the lyrics into Tagalog and mail them to the asshat with the bumper sticker.

  7. I love that song-- makes every girl wish she was a stripper when it comes on. That and I want to sit in one of those big champagne glasses, only mine would be a fat goblet.

    Glad you made it through the day. Sometimes that's a bigger feat than people could ever know.

  8. Music has such power over memory, doesn't it?

    I worry about you, hon. I wish I could give you a hug and buy you a drink and then shake you senseless. I mean that in a good, loving, supportive way.

  9. We could use BabelFish to translate every song in Def Leppard's catalog into every language other than English and mail the jerkoff a different version every day! :-)

    Too often people underestimate the life saving qualities of Def Leppard's music. I'm glad they were there when you needed them most. I'd noticed you hadn't posted in a couple days and that coupled with no comments over at Ask had me wondering how you were doing. Sincerely glad you're still with us.

  10. I think Margaritaville is my song that makes me happy. That or anything Bob Marley. Brings me back...

    Glad you're still with us, babe

  11. This is why I don't go to Geno's.

    Pour some sugar on meeeee...

  12. The universe is indeed, mysterious.

    Because Pour Some Sugar on Me reminds me of the last night of camp, and the dance, and the year I got together with the Hot Guy, and we danced to that song, and I was on top of the fucking world, and then he shattered my little teen heart, subsequently.

    So if that had been me, today?

    There's a real good chance I would have sped up.

    (I'm terribly glad you didn't.)

  13. Gwen you can't leave your little girl without a mother.

    Have you seen Sunshine Cleaning? I think you should

  14. Gwen, you are so fantastic. Excellently crafted post.

    And I know we're the internet and don't really have much of a bearing on your real life but there is that way you get to know people through blogs and profiles and sites and I would be sad and probably cry if you ran into a wall.
    So don't.
    Plus Liv.

  15. Listen! red light, yellow light, green-a-light go!
    Crazy little woman in a one man show
    Mirror queen, mannequin, rhythm of love
    Sweet dream, saccharine, loosen up

    I was going to say that this bumper sticker is one of the many reasons that I'm happy not to live in the US anymore. But I saw a nearly identical bumper sticker on the road here the other day. We have our fair share of morons in Australia.

  16. You know, if English were actually the national language...then that bumper sticker would still piss me off.

    But the fact of the matter is, Americans move to France and Germany and Japan and shit like that all the time and don't learn the native language. Bumper Sticker Guy is the type of guy who goes on vacation in Mexico and doesn't attempt to speak Spanish.

    But in the end, you know what? I get pissed off when people don't speak English, and they get frustrated with me because I don't speak Spanish. Which happens all the fucking time, working with parents in the inner-city. If you want my help, you must communicate with me. Don't swear at me in your language because I don't speak it. You're calling an English-speaking company.

  17. You can't die, because then, the assholes win, and they already outnumber us. We need you to live, and punch them in the face.