August 11, 2012

Professional Punkers, you say...

I think in life I try to seek too many meanings in things. I tend to interpret the most obvious things that do not require any form of interpretation whatsoever. Double-meanings. Hidden messages. The idiocy and brilliance of oxy-morons. I try to turn black white and stone to dust. I also have a bad habit of hearing what I want to hear rather than what the information is actually telling me. In the end, it is all just bad.

One day in my on-going search for understanding of all the disparity in a despairing world, I came across a particularly poignant phrase that I haven't been able to kick. In the 80s hardcore scene, a band called stretch marks made a song called Professional Punk. Last year, who else but NOFX covered this song and released it on a covers project.

What a concept, hey? Professional punkers. I guess I heard the term before on pump up the valuum but only now am I seeing the relevance, potential in it.

To me, it can mean 2 totally different things: A) a professional punk is someone that is so punkassmotherfuckerbatshitcrazy and fits every last stereotype of a punk rock lifestyle. The beer gut, the ugly DOA tattoo from when he was 17, the missing teeth, the smell, the studs EVERYWHERE, the inverted mohawk, the "no future" mentality, the ANARCHY NOW! mentality, the smoker who finished highschool with ease but hates and ridicules the very idea of higher education, breaks the law when he can, shotguns lucky lager 6 packs at least 4 afternoons a week... or B) a professional punk is someone who has some form of professional designation in a society built (and thriving) on class war. This person could be an engineer or an agrologist. A dentist or a nurse. Lawyers? Hell ya! Harry Corn was a pretty punkass lawyer - and she's a republican! Whatever the profession may be, the trick is to continue to embrace at least the finer aspects of punk life.

To me, those aspects would include:
  • "think for yourself"
  • "question authority"
  • "DIY"
  • "brotherhood"
  • "strength"
  • "resist control"
  • and "ANARCHY NOW!" of course. 

There are indeed many incompatibilities between punks and professionals. Professionals tend to accept the "system" for what it is at face value and do nothing but reap the benefits of belonging to a higher socio-economic class and being at less of a risk of "falling through the cracks" or having a stronger safety net to catch him if anything bad ever does happen. Punks give'r hard and hope for the best - with only the knowledge that it can all turn to complete shit in a heartbeat.

The Dropkick Murphys is probably the most famous band that is clearly distinguishable from its blue-collar politics and attitude. This is likely a factor of their huge success over the past 20 years. And DIY SoCal band Pulley had recently announced that it will be playing some rare Alberta dates where the roughnecks and rednecks largely out number the professionals province-wide for sure. I don't imagine too many Ph. D's or accountants coming to mosh to Working Class Whore in December.  Did I ever mention that Edmonton has a great scene?!?

There are also individuals that are damn' good at their jobs and are called 'professionals' as a result of that. Good Will Hunting is the guy I think of when it comes to having pride in a job well done; however underappreciated that job might be. In hospitals, the men and women that mop up the ... messes... are said to work in Environmental Services. The stranger that raises your CHILDREN before and after school while you work earns $11.50 an hour and often has some form of diploma in Child Services or ... an Arts degree. I am a firm believer 
that if you can embrace and commit to some cause to such an extent that it will improve the lives of others around you, then you are truly a professional at the core.

I tell myself that I am NOT a hypocrite by working towards establishing a comfortable young professional's lifestyle while still having deep-rooted ideals in many anti-establishment philosophies and concepts. And it's funny how a guy's idea of "simple, comfortable living within his means" can change, dreams & goals can start to shine, when he gets the slightest bit of confidence that there could be someone special out there who might share some of these same ideals that he has. Chapter 120.

 "BRILLIANT? A word describing something dummmbbbbb..."     

August 7, 2012

Family Matters

 Family Matters could be in the running for one of the Top 10 sit-coms of the late 80s and early 90s: better than Who's the Boss but not quite as good as Fresh Prince. This show has probably ended up consuming at least a good 150 hours of my life. Maybe 300. But you know what? I'm not a worse person because of it. Sit-coms in general, are a mindless escape from the busyness (and more frequently: the devastations) of the reality of life. And more often than not, this chill time  watching TV gave this kid a break from running around, tearing up the neighborhood, getting involved with all sorts of melarchyand gave me something to unwind with, focus on, and even laugh at a bit before doing any homework or having a bath or going to hockey practice or whatever else it is that us kids did back then.

Thinking back now though, Family Matters really had a lot of things going for it: a large and extended family constantly dealing with a wide range of real life problems that any white adolescent boy in Canada could would have no problem at all empathizing with (I mean, how long can a geeky guy go on trying to get with a total babe like Laura!). 

And now - maybe 20 years later - I am fully appreciating the fact that family does indeed matter. 

My family has been pretty tight-knit over the years. All 2 of us. And a total of 3 dogs in that time as well (<--- I would have a hyper link to my dog Lacey if she was "tagged in photos" like you see everything nowadays. Outside of me & Mom, Grandmas made up my family: Mom's mom, Mom's friend's Mom, dad's Mom, and a few other old ladies too. Well they're all gone now. Grandpas too. My aunts are nice enough. Mom's one sister has been especially supportive these past 2 years since the diagnosis. So has her sister-in-law. Her brother has been in North America for about half the past 40 years with work. So yeah. A small, close family, with noone really to count on besides each other. **note to self: pick  up dog food before the end of the week.

Tsunami Bomb wrote "count on nobody and nobody will let you down". I have embraced these lyrics for a large part of my life. Not giving too much of myself to anyone for anything. Either just "make do", "do without", or "do it yourself". DIY, mo#$fu*@a!! And now it's become more apparent that I will eventually have even one less person to count on in life. With at least 1 other person, life, I think, is manageable. Bills, groceries, conversation... just regular boring every day stuff. But ovarian cancer is not a disease a person survives. Treatments are available, and sometimes treatments are on-going and remission of the disease is prolonged. But it always comes back. It's an incredibly tragic disease this way, and seeing just cancer in general in the way it affects the people diagnosed with it as well as those families with loved ones fighting it... just. sadness.

So now I truly whole-heartedly consciously openly happily embrace and cherish my family. I don't know who I am without it and heaven knows I am afraid to find out. 

All I know for sure is that I can live with regrets of time, money, and effort spent on doing things for myself, with friends, at work, or on girls, but I cannot live with regrets of having time with my family wasted away.