Sweet 16: the Chase!

The first time I ever stepped foot in a movie theater was late 1994. I was 16 years old. One of the many rules my parents had for our family (these weren’t rules anyone else in our church we bound to follow, just our family) was that we weren’t allowed to go to the movie theater. I’d be allowed to make that choice for myself (if I wanted to be a movie attender or not??) when I was 18.

I’d started reading Henry Rollins’ poetry books and journals like “See A Grown Man Cry” and “Black Coffee Blues” over the previous year, and when I saw the trailer on TV for The Chase, and that Rollins was one of the actors I knew I had to make this happen. I told my parents I was going to the mall with Nick and instead we went to the movies!

The movie wasn’t all that great, but it sure felt good to have finally set foot in a theater! A couple months later I even went to a school dance! That’s about as crazy as I got for awhile, but considering how many things I wasn’t allowed to do or participate in that were normal insignificant experiences for my peers and classmates, these were huge steps for me! That’s almost certainly why experiencing new things is still so important to me, why I still get so excited about things I want to do, and why I find it impossible to follow or respect pointless rules or authority. It’s why I’ve got an unblinking thousand-yard-stare and find it effortless to ignore conventions I feel no connection to. That’s why I’ve got a soft spot for the underdog. I DON’T think I’m “all that”, but I do know who I am, what I’ve been through, and where I’ve come from. I remember. If you dig my vibe, if you’re indifferent, or if I weird you out but you can live-and-let-live? Great. Peace be with you. HAPPY FACE! But if you’re offended simply because I looked you in the eye, and you feel compelled to put me in my place, or push me down? FUCK you. I’ll put a fucking hex on you, and your whole family will be dead in a year. Metaphorically speaking of course. Dead to ME, and that’s what you want anyways, right? I don’t touch black magick no more. It’s alllll white magick these days.

The next summer in July 1995 my band Wonkavision played our first show at the Acapulco Delight and my dad drove us there. We played 36 all-ages shows over the next year-and-a-half, and my dad drove us to and picked us up from 32 of those shows. He had some bizarre fucking rules for our family, but then other times he’d really go the extra mile, and do stuff for me that my friends’ parents would never do for them. Strange guy. Like father like son.

This is the poster for that first show. Nick cut out the Wonkavision and Sun Devil Sister lettering, I drew and assembled the rest of the poster. The Calvin and Hobbes panel I included on the side makes me laugh. Foreshadowing of the future.

Like it or not? Care or not? Respect it or not? I’d like it a lot if the answer is yes to any or all of those questions (I love hearing “yes”) but either way, all this shit is my life’s work, and I think I’ve still got lots of work to do. I don’t consider Staples to be my life’s work. Sometimes I say to myself “I could still be living in my parents basement, going to church every Sunday and working at Staples in Windsor” and it makes me feel better about whatever it is that’s going on in my life right now. That reminder and statement has gotten me through a lot of hard times.

Me, 1997. 19 years old. Living in my parents basement, going to church every Sunday and working at Staples in Windsor. Photo by Ava Clark.

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