PART 2 (conclusion)
This Op (short for 'operation') continues with blue jeans...
In February 2012 I bought the first 'set' (or 'pair' for you newer fans) of blue jeans that I had ever bought as an adult...Well, that’s what I said at first but after looking into this a bit more, these jeans I purchased were not only the [confirmed] first set I got as an adult but the first set I have worn since junior high school. In a strange twist of fate, I also believe that now I’m the same waist size as I was from junior high... I’m talking 7th grade, which for THE PROVING GROUNDS (Deer Park, Ohio) included junior high.
How many people can say that? Rah!
I was a big little kid. Too afraid of pain to get blood test ran to see what was going on, too ashamed to reveal to my parents how walking the long distance from grades 1-7(from time to time) chaffed my legs to the point of turning away from denim britches opting for Dockers (if they weren’t Levi's/jeans they were 'Dockers'). The 80's were a big time for Dockers type pants, most of them with 'pleats' to make you look like you had a decent pants-tent if you didn’t sit down just right. All I had to do was admit my torture to my Dad, who often enough spent anywhere from 5 or 6, 10-12 hour days on the assembly line at General Motors and despite what the media or anti-union peoples may say, worked HARD too...I should have told him how my thick inner thighs were raw from friction and it hurt to walk, sometimes even just sit, but I didn’t. He could have told me the rewards and beautiful majesty of baby powder and then maybe I wouldn’t have turned away from denim as I have and wouldn’t be a 39 year old man just now buying his first set of jeans. I would grow up to become a factory worker too... I have had my fair share of chaffed days (despite my full endorsement of cotton pants) but I learned the tricks and majesty of baby powder, or better yet Gold Bonds medicated Powder and have since shared many 'whew, those were the times' moments with good ol' dad.
But alas, the first jeans set would end up being too big. Yeah, size 42 waists were too big. Eventually I would settle in a size 40 waists (30 length). This was a major victory in more ways than one because not only was I paying $3 more for larger sizes (waist size 44 and up) but also I was wearing a size 40-inch waist! I was back to my junior high size! But as the last millennium was drawing to a close I was about to enter a 50-inch waist size... Over the last several years I have modified my diet and trimmed down a tad. I like to think that I’m 'growing up' even still as a 39-year-old boy.
Let me let you in on something. It’s not about achieving victory, it’s about recognizing, and reclaiming; sometimes even redefining victory. My re-entry to the world was all three. Mid-January it was planned for me to accompany THE BUFFALO KILLERS (TBKs) to a showing of theirs in Dayton Ohio at The Canal Street Tavern, one of Dayton’s premiere places for live music. It is also a place I hadn’t stepped a foot into in well over a decade. Actually, in over 12 years. Since the 20th Anniversary show of THE TOXIC REASONS that I have captured in an epic seven-part series of poems titled TOXIC REASONING that were actually captured as part of the same sessions where BRANDISHING THE FUTURE were recorded but remain unreleased as spoken word offerings or print form (plans are in the works).
That night (October 2nd, 1999) was quite a night of true [drunken] rage. Not to give all the best parts of the epic TOXIC REASONING poem away, but it did involve puking, vandalism, fighting, over-drinking, hairline escapes and, you guessed it: reasoning with a common denominator of these 'high points' being good ol' Shawn Abnoxious.
So, as part of TBKs entourage, I would re-enter a place that I never said I would step foot into again, a place that didn’t kick me out that night despite my actions or officially ban me, but a place that I sort of figured I shouldn’t show my face again that I figured on forgetting about me. After all, I wasn't wearing a zipper-tie or sloganed-out button up shirt. I now sported a thickening beard and a fantastic set of jeans. My War Hero Jeans... My War-Jeans.
I would not only re-enter a place I felt may hold reasonable contempt against me but I would do so seeking a mild form of forgiveness. That night in October of 1999, I was fulfilling a role. I was a grand character in an unfinished story. I didn’t need forgiveness, but that guy in a zipper-tie was only part of me and on a mild night in late February, another side of Shawn Abnoxious would be seen.
So I trek northward. The back way into Dayton and after a quick couple stops I was once again gracing the innards of the gem city and The Canal Street Tavern. I quickly installed my self-made memorial inside the sink- chest-high men’s bathroom and a few moments after that found myself re-telling the a oral history version of the TOXIC REASONING saga to a more than interested crowd of spectators who all just had to see the surviving re-captured video clip that I have saved on my semi-smart (which also means semi-dumb) phone.
As it would turn out The Canal Street Tavern would be under new management (venue regimes are not forever) and as it would turn out the current management regime would share a particular closeness with myself. A relationship that I would even consider to be on an 'allied' type level. Before the night would be over I would ask, and receive (without hesitation) total and complete admonishment for my actions on the night of The Toxic Reasons Reunion show.
It would only seem appropriate that the night of my 'rage' would end up being one of the top moments in The Canal Street Taverns continually expanding history and the role that I played that night served its purpose. In life, we all have roles to play. The good times, the bad times... Someone has to shit the shit and someone’s gotta shovel it too. Were even. A strong truce was finally achieved in the saga that is a seven part poem called TOXIC RESONING that really closes the door on one of the darkest, wildest and blurry unforgettable times that is hard for me to remember that still amazes me with its final outcome of reasoning. Considering all the different paths before me and all the potential outcomes, reason still prevailed which had the most to do with honesty and truth.
As for the show... Well, simply put I have really missed out in the 12 years of my self-banishment of The Canal Street Tavern and any of their shows. The place was comfortable, well kept and actually pleasant. There was a bunch of people sporting PBRs and others with while pictures of beer (with pussy glasses to drink from). One of those choices I respect, one of those choices I don’t (which is which you think?). I was majorly impressed with the sound system and its execution and the generously forgiving staff seemed to give the Tavern patrons what they needed when they needed it, without delay and with a friendly disposition.
Cincinnati natives, WUSSY began the show and set the pace for an awesome nights soundtrack. I have been in the presence of other Wussy performances in the past bit as I explained to Chuck (guitarist/vocalist) it was always when some other nightly drama or rage was occurring. On this night I would give Wussy attention like I never had before. I ask Chuck and the rest of the band to hereby forgive me (also) and accept my apologies, not for exactly ignoring them, but for not giving the band their just deserved attention! Each song was better than the last and I’m left, at sets end, not only wanting to hear more but also being downright humbled by their overall presence. Wussy are a band that others, including myself (especially me) can learn lessons from concerning every aspect of what it means to be in a band, watch bands or even listen to bands. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t own any Wussy CDs and too ashamed to buy them in front of the band. I will pick them up discreetly when no one is watching.
The lessons in humility continued with THE BUFFALO KILLERS. Who all smelled like a pile of [next level] burning leaves. It had been a while since I had seen the boys and in that lapse they have went on a couple tours and did countless shows and the growth and experience gained is surely noticed. TBKs are pros on every level that exist. I would be impressed with them even if I didn’t share the levels of closeness that I do that also allows me to ask, and learn personal information directly related to their public displays of rock and/or roll. I genuinely respect these guys from back-in-the-day™ until now, and to beyond. The thing is, TBKs are on the level that they were just as excited to have be around and were equally respectful of me. That’s some genuine level shit. Their set started off with a couple new and yet unreleased songs that were verily much on the level. Their set progressed to include a sorts of 'greatest hits' exposition from all three of their fullies and as Zach discussed on the back road ride to Dayton and through Dayton, a few of their numbers included some of the more rarely played selections from their latest fullie, "3". TBKs set built on itself song by song and I really wanted to go crazy with the camera and really flex out with some multiple shottage but I didn’t want to loose the prime spot I had next to the stage, which just so happened to be the same spot I stood for TOXIC REASONS Way-Backwhen®. Besides, I was mesmerized by their set. It was a fucking match; hit after hit in there and I didn’t wanna miss a moment. You see, also, one of the things I noticed about TBKs that I didn’t noticed before was how when they are setting up their equipment the on looking crowd will vacate their Tables, stools and in Canal Street Taverns case, pews, so they can jockey for a good spot next to the stage for the performance. In the Canal Street Tavern they’re are really no bad spots to watch the band but that still didn’t keep people from homesteading an even better spot. So I held onto my spot as opposed to fetching my 'real' camera...
On the back-road ride home which did not include a late night burger romp at a 24 hour McDonalds in Germantown (oh, how I have changed since '99) we talked of old times and new ones and of times yet to be. The return ride took me past three of the five locations that I recognized from specific dreams I have had during the ride up there and no great revelation why these certain places that I could not remember ever being near or visiting during my waking hours, were so visited during my sleep but I didn’t spend much time being lost in that marvel. I just accepted it for what it was, which in itself is a great mystery.
At one point Zach had seen an impressive shooting star and asked if I had also seen it. This back-road ride was an unfamiliar route to me so my attention was on the road and the navigating machine attached to the window telling me where to turn. I did not see the shooting star ad Zach had. I told Zach that he should make a wish upon the shooting star, which is a tradition surrounded in debate and doubt as to its origins... Zach began answering my suggestion before I could add the silent space for unseen punctuation signaling my sentences end proclaiming that he already had, secretly (as the tradition dictates), expunged a wish that the shooting star could carry back down to earth fir dissemination.
Many people would ask someone else during an instance such as this what they wished for... despite the tradition that you are supposed to keep it to yourself or the wish may be nullified. I don’t know if Zach would have readily relinquished what he wished for and risked the possibility of nullification but he did not share his wish, and I did not ask... Sometimes tomorrow might never cone so you should just let it ride.
So I let it ride.
Then, as if prophecy... The next week I would have to hold up my head and make a stand (re: the 20th Century Fox deletion commands of The Last American from Mediafire). It’s hard to sometimes note prophecy in such odd places and by bits and pieces and what will exactly happen until it actually does happen. But its all out there, we just got to open our eyes wide to it.
"Hey! Your wearing jeans..." I pointed out to Zach who had jokingly promised me earlier in the week to also wear a set of jeans the night of the show.
"We're jean-bothers brother" I added.
"It's really not a big deal" he said "I pretty much wear jeans all the time"
Zach would go on to randomly sing the chorus to "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" by Mel McDaniel throughout the entire night. Zach could really 'hit the notes' too.