I've been thinking about my younger me a lot lately. More than usual. And that's saying something.
I like to believe that I am still pretty similar to my former self, other than my hair and my physique. I was cursed with male pattern baldness. I'll admit it. I'm not too proud. I'm sad when I think of all the things I used to do to my hair, but I'm not angry. I don't shake my fist and scream at the gods for taking my hair away. At least I still have my health.
I have horrible eating habits. And I drink more than I should. Oh, and I don't exercise. But other than that I'm the same as I used to be. I could kick my younger self's ass for wanting a pot belly. That pot belly turned into a beer gut right quick and it hasn't gone away since. And now I'm too lazy to do anything about it. I'm lazy because I'm fat and I'm fat because I'm lazy.
Other than my physique and my (lack of) hair, I'm basically the same as I was 20 years ago. I listen to the same music. If my iPod was buried and dug up in 2111, the people who found it might at first think it was buried in 1995. That is if they didn't research the fact that iPods weren't around in the 1990s. But still. I could totally DJ a "90s Night" party with just my iTunes as the record collection. Part of me is sad that I'm still not that guy who is on the cutting edge of music. That guy who knew the cool new stuff before everyone else. The guy who scoffed at the kids who called cool music "alternative" in 1994 and bought their flannel shirts at the Gap. But I'm not that guy any more. At some point I decided, subconsciously I think, that the music I was listening to was the greatest ever, and new bands weren't worth my time. That's not entirely true, but by the time "new" bands get to my ears, I have a feeling they aren't very new anymore.
I don't even know you any more, chaz.
Younger me would hate me now. Younger me would walk right past me on the street while making rude comments about the bald fat dude wearing ties to work. Younger me would probably kick my ass if he knew he ends up growing up to be me. I still have my very first driver's license. I barely recognize that kid. Other than his record collection. If I saw younger me on the street I would envy him. I would be jealous of his jean jacket covered in safety pins and his olive green Chuck Taylor's. I would silently hate him for having a full head of red or green or blue hair.
Why am I shell of my younger self? Why am I such a grown-up? Eww. I hate it. I don't want to have responsibilities and a career and bills to pay. I want to be hanging out at record shops and going to shows and forgetting what day of the week it is. I want music to speak to me. I want to have deep conversations about the liner notes of the "Singles" soundtrack. I want to stop being such a complainer.
Maybe I need to just stop bitching and just finish growing up. Maybe I need to stop listening to Mudhoney and Pearl Jam and Nirvana and Black Flag and the Pixies and Mother Love Bone and Nine Inch nails and Green River and Soul Asylum and Ministry the Smashing Pumpkins. Maybe I should just ditch all these old CDs and tapes and move on. Maybe I should wear a suit to work everyday and forget about my younger me. Maybe I should just kill my self.
I think it's too late for that. I can't end it all any more than I could get rid of my record collection. And even if by some Act Of God my record collection burst into flames, it's still inside me. It's a part of me. I'm still that grunge kid. I'm still that kid dumping a bottle of Clorox on his head in the shower. I'm still that kid with his head in the clouds. I'm still that kid scratching NIN lyrics into the desks at school. I'm still that kid lying to his parents about where he's going or where he was.
I don't own a pair of Chuck Taylor's any more. I haven't been to a rock show in months. And I wear a tie to work almost every day. But nine times out of ten I have an old concert tshirt on under that dress shirt and tie. I still have that safety pin-covered jean jacket to remind me of younger me. No matter how much he may hate me and no matter how jealous I am of him, we are the same.
Other than the hair.