I Was An Alcoholic Straight-Edger

Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat.  Photo from www.kerrydean.com

Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat. Photo from kerrydean.com

How come songs about being sober are so great to drink to?

I grew up loving straight-edge hardcore bands like Minor Threat, Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits and the rest.  Some people thought they were bossy and judgy in their songs about not drinking or doing drugs, but to me they were fun.  The lyrics weren’t rocket science.  Every song was about “going for it” or “finishing what you started.”  So instead of heeding their advice to be sober, I just imagined that it was about going for that fake ID or finishing the beer bong that I started.  Maybe it was a touch hypocritical or insensitive to chug Milwaukee’s Best Light to songs about being “True ‘Till Death” or “Nailed To the X”.  Like blasting Bad Religion at church or Snoop Dogg during an anti-pot rally.  In my defense I grew up in pre-internet, small-town Iowa.  Your options were either staring at a cornfield or having a keg in it.  I’m fairly positive some of those bands got into heroin later, so screw ’em anyway.

There’s the irony.  Some of these big preachers of soberness ended up being drunks or drug addicts, like Rick Rodney from Strife or Skip Candelori from Turning Point, who died of an overdose in 2002.  I drank to all these anthems and now today I’m sober.  Was there some kind of spiritual switcheroo like Freaky Friday?  If I join PETA will they start strangling cats?  Not that I strangle cats.

90% of the time this nonsense is spewing out of teenagers’ mouths.  You can’t proselytize about life, or embrace and promote an ideals based lifestyle, until it’s had a chance to fully slap you in the face with soul-crushing disappointment and failure.  Or you turn 21.  There are few things in this world more annoying than a preachy teenager and they are as follows:

1) People who spell “lose” as “loose.”

2) A pedestrian that waves a car through an intersection when they already have the right away.  I have the two ton projectile and you’re in skinny jeans.  How about I make the calls here, Pushy-Pants?

3) Chelsea Handler.

Imagine you’re in high school and some douche of a kid is totally against pickles for some reason.  I guess that’s just his business, right?  Nope, because every day he’s in your face yapping about how cucumbers are more pure and shoving his anti-pickles tattoos in your face.  Then at your 20 year high school reunion you see him chomping on a Vlasic and you’re like “MOTHERFUCKER!”

But I can forgive all that, because the music was so great.  Give me the bands that stood for something, then changed their mind later on and tried to forget about it.

Whatever.  We were all 17 once.

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