Four Minute Life

Sometimes I hear a song that makes me miss my old life. My friends and I didn't drink in high school. We didn't play sports or go to proms. We didn't do shit regular teenagers do. We went to shows: in basements; or, with Xs on our hands, in bars; at people's houses and garages. We took our paychecks directly to Resurrection Records. We blew every leftover dollar on drumsticks and guitar picks. We bought shitty amps and taped microphones to music stands. Our lives were music. Honestly, the guys we played in bands with were our only friends. We'd show up to my Dad's garage and play well after the sun quit. And when our neighbors called the cops, my Dad would tell us to turn it up. He resented the fact that the neighbors wouldn't simply come over and ask us to turn it down, and he hates authority. It worked out pretty well for us. He'd make us beef jerky and turn on the heater so we wouldn't freeze our asses off.

So now when I hear a song from Anti-Flag's first record, Die for the Government, I'm not twenty-eight living in Chicago. I'm fifteen walking across campus to the Jimboy's of McCarran with Jeff, Caleb, and Katie. When I hear Saves the Day's Stay What You Are, walking home after a long-overdue breakup and for some reason it's always raining. Cat Stevens will always be the sound of my Dad and I taking a road trip. Though he'd say I slept the whole time, and for his part I couldn't identify a single landmark we passed, you can hear a lot with with your eyes closed.

The Against Me! Acoustic EP transports me to the Yori house playing Bomb-A-Lot with Tim and keeping poor Jeff up all night. I danced with a girl in trash bag dress to Gang of Four's "Damaged Goods," broke down crying watching La Dispute play "The Last Lost Continent," and got in my first car accident to a Scared of Chaka song. Got in my second car accident to Eminem's "Without Me." I wandered the streets of New York to Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt. The girls of my life all get their own tracks, though it would be ungentlemanly for me to list them here. That's a private mix. 

I misspoke when I said that these songs make me miss my old life. I can't escape them, the good times or the gnarly ones. For better or worse, they hit me in the chest. I never know when a song is going to burn itself into my brain. I'm no good with dates, or faces, or names. But I never forget a song. It's my life, four minutes at a time.

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