Sunday, February 23, 2014

American Idiot

In 2004, I was 19, and Green Day dropped one of the greatest albums of all time. It was called 'American Idiot', and it was aptly timed as we had one occupying the most prestigious seat in the country. That man was George W. Bush, and he was running against another buffoon, Senator John Kerry. Falling prey to the lesser-of-two-evils argument at a young age, I became an outspoken Kerry supporter. Makes me cringe now to put it mildly, but I was a young optimist. 

My girlfriend and I created custom t-shirts with catchy phrases that trashed Bush and encouraged people to 'Vote Kerry' (on the back of each shirt). I used to wear these shirts all the time, one of which said "The Less Bush the Better" on the front...ya...think about it... so it was a bit 'vulgar' for the conservative tastes of Scottsdale, AZ. I was quite the counter-culturalist back then. I listened to punk rock and decked out my car with lots of antagonizing bumper stickers. Some moderately offensive. One of which my Pops didn't like and made me peel it off. And he's a pretty liberal dude himself. 

Anyway, for those of you who don't know, this period of my life became a bit of an epiphany. I became repulsed by competitive sports and intrigued by politics, philosophy, and (anti) religion. I was enrolled at a local junior college and thoroughly enjoyed this new foray into academia after all but neglecting it in High School. 

Green Day's album repeated in my 1995 red Volvo 850 for 9 months straight. I just did not grow tired of it. My favorite track, "Holiday" still sends a chill down my spine every time I hear it. I don't think it could've better captured the zeitgeist than it did. Rarely does an entire album encapsulate an era and Billy Joe and his crew did an incredible job. 

You may remember a couple of the more popular songs such as the title track, "American Idiot" or "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". But there are other excellent tracks like "Jesus of Suburbia" and "St. Jimmy". 

Today as part of my Christmas present, Ash got me front row...LITERALLY front row tickets to this traveling broadway show at The National Theatre. The show is basically the entire album sandwiched into one act with a couple other gems put in. It's about 90% song, but it does chronicle a journey of some young kids as the plot. It was incredible. I'm sure each one of you has one album out there that really 'gets' you. One that you can play over and over and over again. This album is like that for me. It's just has special meaning for what I was going through during that spate of my life and how it totally summed up the angst directed toward the incumbent government and the vacuous public. 

I am so grateful that Ash recognized how much this show/album means to me. Afterward at Chef Geoff's down the street, we encountered some of the super youthful cast. Some were straight out of college! We stopped and thanked them for their stellar work and how much I appreciated this particular show. They seemed delighted we stopped and thanked us just as much. They even remembered where we were sitting (not particularly difficult I suppose when you're in the front row!). 

At the end of the show the prettiest girl on stage looked me in the eye and tossed me a heart shaped pick with "American Idiot" written on it. When I caught it she said, "Great catch!" And smiled. 

And Ash said, "You are a great catch, mister." No she actually said, "Watch it Mister." 

I will. I'm no American Idiot. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the group Green Day myself-great group. You are right that most of us have our special album or group that never goes out of style for us. Hope to catch this show someday. Front row seats? You've got to marry this girl!

Anonymous said...

I like your reasoning and talent at looping together the various elements of this post. It is pretty apparent that you are no idiot, American or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I think I just typed orgastic house to comment on this blog. These clowns are bumpin' us but it is cool. I dig Green Day man but where did they go? Like evaporation. I mean look at all the groups still cuttn' great vibes that started way before these guys. Yeah there music was the best but in judging impact those cats that hang in there decade after decade leave a richer more urban soul behing. Just sayn'.

Anonymous said...

Notice how your comments have declined since Mr. ANTI-ROBOT got installed? Too bad because you write some fun stuff that resonates well with the 25-40 crowd. But are you still non-competitive. Not what I see on your blog which often has lots of events and work out #'s. Of course you are political, what rational breathing eating human isn't. I think you plow a lot of athleticism into your writing because you have an energetic masculine voice or style which can't be hidden.

Anonymous said...

Some groups leave their mark on us forever and a day. Green Day is one of them. Glad to have the reminder of this time of my life. Hope this show makes its rounds to other big cities.

Anonymous said...

Great post-especially laughed at the last comment by your girl. You really did have that one coming. Love Green Day myself.

Anonymous said...

My Dear Friend Conor,

Are we not like butterflies most beautiful and precious when we freely return to the flower of our choice... and yet are we not gardeners as well, nurturing our relationships & bringing out the best with our blossoming flower.

Here is a bit of a poem for that self righteous fellow who shows up every now and then :-)

"EMPATHY DOES SET ME FREE"

Empathy does set me free,
For “What Is” …has always been what was meant to be.
This is fate … this is eternity.
For but the luck of happenstance,
Did evolve my life and dance with circumstance.
Not born in France, Cambodia or Uganda was I,
Not sleeplessly hungry did I ever cry.
Mother, sister, era or place,
Did I get to select as I did join the Human race.
So as I understand that these things with life you did not choose,
My heart does love what you did win and care what you did lose.
My compassion and peace does grow for you …for me,
My clarity with Empathy has set me free.

Peace be with you and about you always my dear friend ..do give my best to Lady A and garden well