Things could be worse…

I know after the last two weeks everybody is angry.  Everybody is at battle stations.

But things could be worse.

On the way home from church Sunday morning Mom and I were listening to the radio station that airs replays from Casey Kasem’s American Top 40’s from this week in some distant year.  Truth be told, assuming it is a year from the 80’s, I like to show off by being able to name the year by hearing any song within whatever Top 40 is featured.  Nobody is impressed.  Except me.  Whatever.  Today was this week in 1981.

I was 11 in October of ’81.  My main concern was the Steelers recovering from an 0-2 start and what I was going to be for Halloween.  What should have been a top concern for all of us was the fact that Eddie Rabbit, Ronnie Milsap and Juice Newton all had songs in the top freaking 10!  The top song in the country and evidently for 8 consecutive weeks back in the late summer and early fall of 1981 was – brace yourself – Endless Freaking Love.  I know, I know…there are no words.  How did America survive this?

If you jumped in your Chevy Chevette on your way to the local watering hole because tonight was kinda special and you wanted it to be a Lowenbrau, and you flipped on the local top 40 station, you were tortured with a loop of Pablo Cruise, Kenny Rogers and Air Supply.  I’m not certain how the new Reagan administration recovered from this headwind of suckitude.  I mean the hostages had been home for almost a year and we welcomed them back by forcing them to listen to Al Jarreau?  Geez, Al Jarreau?  Al Jarreau wasn’t even remotely cool until he sang the theme song to Moonlighting in 1986.  How did this happen?  The early 80’s were evidently a dark, dark time…

BoDukeIf that wasn’t bad enough John Schneider, yes Bo F’ing Duke, actually was moving up the charts.  Seriously, what in the sweet hell was going in the early days of the 1980’s?  Thankfully MTV was born in August of ’81 and quickly and mercilessly annihilated all this easy listening, countryesque soft rock bullshit from the airwaves.  It wasn’t long until Genesis, Pat Benatar and Rick Springfield were dominating the Top 40…along with under appreciated one hit wonder No Time to Lose from the Tarney Spencer Band.

So rest easy America, things have been worse.

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Full Disclosure

Gotta admit something…I’ve watched both episodes of the new Magnum, P.I.  Both of them.  And here’s the thing…I don’t hate it.  I sorta like it.  It’s not nearly as cool as the original but it really isn’t bad.  But that’s not really what I wanted to write about.

High school yearbooks and the remarks contained within are evidently the latest thing we all need to worry about.

With this in mind, I took a look at my high school yearbook from senior year.  I don’t remember the last time I did this.  But after the last couple weeks, all of our senior year high school yearbooks have become the code breaker for our DNA.  They are evidently filled with clairvoyance.  These amazingly prophetic crystal balls foretell our activities and conduct for the rest of lives.  Which is weird because after talking with some friends, it turns out nobody wanted to be judged on what was in their yearbooks.  Regardless, let’s examine mine.

Turns out, at least according to the wise teenage sages who detailed my senior year through written notes in said yearbook, beer and parties were our main interests.  Now I’m just spitballin’ here but that qualifies me for exactly one job…an 18 year old high school senior boy.  Weird, I know.  In fact my senior picture was adored by a hand sketched arm holding a beer.  Still not sure who drew that.  But judge away I guess…

Second sentence of the very first note written in the yearbook on the inside front cover was by a guy who is still a great friend and has gone on to become a respectable husband, father and public servant.  Nonetheless, he thoughtlessly wrote – “Now we have to get out and party all summer but we can’t get in any more trouble with the cops or we’re toast.  We need to get wasted!”

Just so there’s no misunderstanding of the terms used – when we say “cops” we mean local law enforcement.  When we say “wasted” we mean drinking to the point of being inebriated.  And just for some context, we considered getting wasted a worthwhile pursuit of happiness.  That pursuit of happiness often led us to participate in drinking games.  It was through these games that we were able to satisfy our toxic masculine desires to drink beer, compete in games of skill and yell movie quotes in loud voices.  Such is the life of the 18 year-old recently graduated high school senior.  But I graduated from a small suburban Catholic high school so judge away…

In another note, one of my buddies told me not to forget to ZEUS.  We used zeus as a euphemism for farting.  So two things here: not totally sure what Zeus has to do with farting and I’m not clear why I needed to “remember” to zeus as I’ve never really thought of farting as being a memory issue.  But that’s just me.  There’s also references to “blowing chow” and “booting” and “Q.P.T.” and a short note from my senior prom date who wrote that she just might take me up on the offer to pour a beer on my head.  Again, facts remain cloudy as to why I allegedly made that offer.  Again, just to be clear “blowing chow” or “booting” means throwing up.  In college we called it “honking” and it sometimes happened because you drank too much over the course of an evening.  Other times it was likely the result of a beer bong.  And I’m sure you’ll agree that not all stomachs react the same way to quick consumption of beer using what is essentially a hose.  “Q.P.T.” means quality party time.  It was also noted that Q.P.T. lasts until well after midnight.  The stamina for partying amongst high school seniors is astonishing.  Almost as astonishing as the amount of references to throwing up in my yearbook.  It’s almost as if we thought it was cool…

But these weren’t the only terms we used that became colloquialisms within our group.  I know, I know sounds like crazy talk.  For example, when something unfortunate would happen to one of us, the rest of us would derisively say “Dude, you failed to avoid the goon rush.”  Sometimes it was further slanged into “failed to avoid the GR” or to simply “gooned.”  I haven’t doubled checked its meaning in Urban Dictionary…

One of our favorite movies was Heartbreak Ridge.  And we dubbed ourselves the Recon Boys and the platoon that was featured in the movie.  Which, now that I write it, is astoundingly lame.  Nonetheless we came up with 46 Rules for Partying with the Recon Boys.  This list of unenforceable decrees was, and this might surprise you, laced with our preoccupation with beer and parties.

Rule #1: If you are there, then you drink — no exceptions.

Rule #7: Blowing chow is a positive experience — it makes room for more beer.

Rule #11: Never under any circumstances leave a half-finished beer sitting around.

Rule #21: If you spill, you clean it up.

Rule #30: If a keg is present, assume you are spending the night.

Rule#39: We are not totally worthless, we can always serve as a bad example.

It’s as if we thought beer actually gave us superpowers…

We even gave each other nicknames.  Our friend Rich was called “Sid” one year because another guy on the baseball team thought he looked like Mets pitcher Sid Fernandez when he pitched.  Another dude was “Gouk.”  And it was pronounced the same way a racial slur for Asians is pronounced.  But that’s not what we meant and our friend wasn’t Asian.  His first name was Matt.  Turns out that at the time we were in high school the head coach of the 76ers was Matty Goukas.  So we started calling our friend Matt “Goukas”  or “Gouk.”  I wonder how that would be interpreted in a Senate hearing?

There are references to parties at my house and parties at my friends’ houses, parties in cornfields, parties in an unoccupied house owned by a friends’ parents, parties in an undeveloped cul-de-sac we dubbed “The Circle.”  Lots of references to drinking at Prom and parties in hotel rooms we somehow were able to get.  A reference or two to the liquor store in the town north of our high school which thought our fake ID’s were good enough to sell us 30 packs of Stroh’s and cases of Milwaukee’s Best.  By fake IDs I mean small laminated cards with our actual pictures accompanied by made up names and addresses.  We used them to buy beer.  Because we were teenagers who liked to break rules and were impatient to be 21.

So current and future high school seniors…choose your words carefully I guess.  You never know…