by Ben Swank
So I've decided to spend the holidays with my girlfriend's family in her hometown. I haven't met her parents before, but I'm a musician and I know they don't approve. Got any ideas for how to make them like me? Or should I just say fuck it, be punk rock, flip the bird and stick my balls in the mashed potatoes? I want them to like me, but I'm not about to be phony about it. Little help here?
Just patiently explain to them that your “look,” “image” and “life choice” are not really the product of a short but painful life on the outside-looking-in armor of rock 'n' roll decadence (which not only hides your pain but also aligns you with a small and select minority of outcasts who understand the allure and beauty of noisy, fractured music and abandoned factories), but are instead a rather manufactured look and social-networking tool that have been crafted in the Cloud by the powers that be to convey to the Everyman that “We are now all rock stars and connected via the great social online tidal wave,” and you are actually employed by Verizon as a “Living Member” of the cast from their “We Need to Tell Our Fans About Our Gig” commercial, which is actually a quite lucrative gig in the world of social currency where you don’t actually appear in the commercial itself, but rather in Taste-Maker Markets (Go Nashville!!) where you live and breathe as a rock 'n' roller and use your cell phone in real live actual cities and are in essence a street-level marketer, and the contract only expires when you stop dressing like a Miner crossed with a Steam Punk from the Swiss Alps.
For the first time ever, I'm planning on spending Christmas here in Nashville instead of going home to see my folks. Most of my pals will be out of town, and I need some advice on what to do. What are your suggestions for a dude flying solo and looking to have a rock 'n' roll Christmas?
OBVIOUSLY you should go to Hate Life’s Unholy XXX-Mas at The Stone Fox on Dec. 19 featuring Unholy Two, Obnox and Useless Eaters with DJs Pops and Nig Champa and the Usual Gang of Idiots for only $5, because there are always tons of lascivious chicks there, and the booze flows endlessly, and it’s guaranteed to be a man-making night of liver punishment and ear damage that you can tell your kids about in about 15 years — and they’ll RESPECT you.
Besides that, I don’t really know. Go cruising at the Origins store at the mall? Spend a week in your robe eating peppermint bark? What do kids do these days?
So my 13-year-old nephew still believes in Santa Claus. I don't even know how that's possible, but his parents (my sister and her husband) refuse to tell him the truth. I think it's time someone breaks it to this kid, and I'm thinking I'm going to be the one to do it. How should I proceed?
-Claus and Effect
First off, your sister and her husband both sound like awful people. I bet your brother-in-law is the kind of dude who drives around in a Dodge Caravan blasting Wu Block from his iPod/factory stereo. “I’m just a sensitive hip dad who happens to like real rap ... So sue me."
ANYWAY, If you insist on ruining this kid's innocent dreams, thereby jettisoning him into a puberty-induced black hole of embarrassment that he'll never outgrow, then you’ll have to prepare yourself for the fact that he and his folks are gonna really hate you for awhile and probably talk shit to your mom about you at least once a week. So all that stuff you don’t want your mom to know about? The stuff you’ve done that your sister does now about? That shit’s coming out and crawling around in your mom’s brain forever, and she’ll probably stop loving you.
Once you’ve steeled yourself for this reality, it’s gotta be like a Band-Aid. Just rip it off. Sit him down, ask him “What the hell is wrong with you?”, tell him Santa isn’t real, and then point and laugh at him until tears and snot run down his cheeks. It’s the only way. We were all there once, why should his experience be any different just because he’s a teenager?