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As the song pumps through the air, my body once again aches. But not with the same ache as last time.

No, last time it ached pleasantly as I traversed the ever-tightening circle of sweaty bodies and hair dye. Swerving through the crowd, I rode the various waves of mutilation, as the tune thumped through the overhead speakers of the dingy club. A club that could have very well been called “Club Whatever You Do, Do NOT Use The Restroom Here.” Regardless, much like “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” it wasn’t the actual art that was the thing; so much as it was the community exercise that built up around its existence.

We were a family of people, all who had no family – or at least family who truly “got” us. We were Tribe. Brothers and sisters, many of whom shared benefits – often times out of convenience, and other times due to sheer lust-love. I can’t think of too many people who would turn down a beautiful, slightly overweight, shapely Goth chick with crazy “Robert Smith” hair and a smile to die for. One who was a wonderful kisser, and down for just about anything under the sun. Well, the moon would be more appropriate, I suppose. I mean, she was a Goth, after all. We were stupid, brash, brazen and accidentally beautiful, and we were going to change the world whether it knew it or not. Not by jumping into The Game and becoming The Man either, no sir. Rather, we were going to make The Man come to us.

Bow yer head, Bitch. We HAVE arrived!

I think of all this as the song plays again, years later, from my tinny little iPod. No “Man” is at my feet however, and no Brave New World awaits me as I listen. Nope, it’s just me. Speed walking on my mother-in-law’s treadmill. In my basement. The basement of the house that sits just on the outskirts of Suburbia. A suburbia that sits just on the outskirts of “Where The Rich People Dwell.” The pain this time isn’t resulting from joy of camaraderie either. No, the pain this time is of a mortal who is one year past being The Answer To Life, The Universe And Everything. A mere mortal who needs to get his non-punk rockian weight back down to a reasonable number, so that his wife might again find him attractive. Or barring that, at least allow him the good health as to live long enough to see his grandkids get married. I mean, he’s got to have at least one, right?

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The Tribe is long gone, as I walk in my basement briskly to nowhere, staying in the same exact spot, regardless of how many miles I tack on. Don’t worry; it’s a life analogy that I am painfully aware of as I write this, just one that I don’t want to address here. You know, to help me avoid breaking into tears, much like a two year old who’s just been found with a soiled pull-up, and no one to blame but herself.

The Tribe is gone, but the song remains. As do I. Life isn’t what I thought it would be. I’m sure you can say the same. Some of it is worse than I was hoping for, and there’s quite a bit that’s much better as well. I’m glad the song stuck around to remind me of a past that I enjoyed and a present that I know now I never will.

Such a power for one little song to have. And to think, all these years later, outside of the chorus, I’ve no earthly idea what Wattie and the boys are even talking about…