My high school senior quote was, “We can do a hell of a lot more damage in the system than outside of it,” from the cult classic SLC Punk. Because, see, High School Me was awesome. He liked punk music, snuff films, and challenging authority. He was a free-thinker who didn’t take “no” for an answer, which is a far cry from the person I am today — Present Day Me.
High School Me once went to back-to-back Anti-Flag concerts in Detroit and Chicago, respectively. He was front row in both, fist pumping to such anthems as “This Machine Kills Fascists” and “You Can Kill the Protester, But You Can’t Kill the Protest.” He even skipped Friday classes to go to the Detroit show, while Present Day Me is scared to ask for a long lunch to go to a dentist appointment.
High School Me drank his first beer at a Flogging Molly show after they heaved it into the crowd and the crowd chanted around him to finish it, while Present Day Me had three Sierra Nevadas the other night and woke up with an earth-shattering headache that lasted until 3 in the afternoon.
High School Me had strong feelings about freeing Mumia Abu-Jamal, while Present Day Me tells people at parties, “I don’t discuss politics” because he doesn’t want to end up arguing (but mostly because he’s uninformed).
High School Me protested the war in Iraq with his older sister, while Present Day Me has voted for both John McCain and Mitt Romney, successively, all while reading every book written by a member of the Bush family since 2006.
High School Me asked his mom if he could get a gauge earring and didn’t speak to her for a few days after she vetoed it. Present Day Me almost went to the doctor in 2014 because a bruise on his arm looked “too yellow.”
High School Me got punched in the face at a Dropkick Murphy’s show and managed to watch the entire rest of the set with an unprecedented energy. Present Day Me had to leave a Taj Mahal concert early and go to sleep in his tent because the one hit of the joint he was handed made him paranoid.
High School Me stopped listening to Blink 182 because they got too mainstream, while Present Day Me almost cried at his desk a few weeks ago when he missed out on Jimmy Buffett tickets. And the last Jimmy Buffett concert that Present Day Me was offered tickets to? He skipped the concert because he was “tired.”
Last summer, a friend of mine and I went out to what we called a “Punk Rock Brunch.” We listened to NOFX’s “The Decline,” and it culminated with my friend accidentally punching a spiderweb crack into the windshield of the car which promptly caused us to rein it in. We finished out our day sailing and drinking white wine on ice out of pint glasses like little bitches. We were trying, but it just wasn’t clicking like it did for High School Me.
High School Me would hate Present Day Me. He’d hate everything from my polyester golf shirts to my Ford Fusion to my love for Lyle Lovett. He’d probably call Present Day Me a “sell out bitch” before speeding off in his beat up 1995 Subaru Legacy blasting Rancid’s …And Out Come The Wolves CD en route to make out with a girl on his lunch break. That was just the life I lived. I mean, who actually quotes SLC Punk in their yearbook?
In the same breath as that SLC Punk quote about selling out, there’s another relevant quote that I could close with to justify the man I’ve become. The dad justifies his white bread mainstream lifestyle by saying, “I didn’t sell out, son. I bought in.” And sure, I could say that just like I could say that High School Me was nothing but a poser. But, the fact of the matter is, I think I just straight up sold out.
And I’m okay with that, which is the worst part of it all. .
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