Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Like everyone not employed by FTD or Hallmark I'm not a fan of today

Valentine's Day. Great. The easy route to take here would be to write a diatribe about how much I hate Valentine's Day or that it's a fake holiday made up by corporations to make money. You get the idea. While it is true that I am a pretty big hater of Valentine's Day it would be boring to write the same crap that everyone else has been saying for years. Instead I decided that I would take you on a little stroll down Memory Lane.

When I was in high school I wasn't exactly a lady's man. In fact this may be the understatement of the century. I was (and still am) a chubby punk nerd, being alone on Valentine's Day kind of goes with the territory. In my younger days I would make an effort with broads around V-Day. I guess I believed that if I did something romantic on VD that the rejection would be minimal since it was expected. Sort of like how the government will offer an amnesty day to pay parking tickets with no extra fees. The way I figured it was if I gave the girl I had been staring at in French class flowers on April 14th it was completely out of the blue and the ensuing rejection would be soul crushing. But if I acted on Valentine's Day it would be expected and I had a far greater chance for at least a glorious pity kiss.When I would picture all of the possible outcomes in my mind there were basically 2 possibilities: Fierce and humiliating rejection or a pity kiss. Yeah, I wasn't exactly an optimistic 13 year old.

When I got to high school any of my John Hughes inspired romantic notions had been obliterated through years of rejection. So I went a different direction, I embraced the shittiness. Not only did I decide to embrace it for myself I felt that I needed to share my bitterness with all of my friends in the form of a mix tape. Now, I know as a 31 year old it seems a little lame to be reminiscing about mix tapes from the past. As an adult it's easy to forget the importance of mix tapes during adolescence. If you made a tape for someone, especially if it was for a girl, it was a way of showing how cool you were. Sure, the radio hits might have been better songs but if you put on an only released in Europe Smashing Pumpkins B side it showed that you were a connoisseur. Plus you could try and mind fuck them through subliminally placed lyrics. This is why I put at least 3 Slackers songs on every one I made. I kid. We all know the scene in High Fidelity when Cusack explains all the rules for a mix tape, that scene was very formative on my mix tape creations. Despite the fact that my Valentine's Day mix tape was not attempting to woo a lady I didn't just haphazardly throw a bunch of angry songs on to it. I don't want to be a pretentious D-Bag but there was an art to it.

In high school I was really into punk and ska. REALLY INTO IT. So the majority of the music that would go on my annual mix tapes would be from these genres. Luckily when it comes to churning out depressing songs of heartbreak punk, particularly 90's punk, is second only to the blues in output. While some of my favorite bands (Bad Religion, Minor Threat) never made break up songs there were plenty of others who seemed to exclusively make bitter love songs. Hell, I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort and just passed out Mr. T Experience albums to my friends. I had to try not to use too many of their songs, I think I even managed to wait until my 3rd or 4th annual mix tape to use Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend. If that's not an epic feat of restraint I don't know what is.

When picking songs I tended to stay away from the most overtly angry tunes, although I'm pretty sure I included the classic Goldfinger tune "Fuck you and your cat." Instead I preferred the songs that told the tale of a young man with the best intentions being wronged by the object of desire. "My Skateboard" by The Aquabats is a prime example of this:

Its Friday night, I wanted to go out
I didn't want to go to no show
Didn't want to cruise main street
I didn't want to go to no disco (no no)
I just wanted you to come over
Sit on the couch and hold me tight
But you went out with some dumb jock
And left me alone
With my skateboard tonight.

While there is definite anger involved the predominating emotion is disappointment and that's how I would sum up my romantic life as a young'un. Sure, it sucked when my lady friend cheated on me on Valentine's Day my senior year and I wanted to strangle everyone, but most of the time I was just a bit bummed that things weren't different. I would collect all of the songs that seemed to be coming from the same place I was and listen to them at maximum volume while driving aimlessly through cornfield after cornfield and I wouldn't feel lonely any more. I wish I could find some of those tapes now, I would jam them into my iPod dock and hope for a miracle since I don't have a tape player any more. Think it would work? Neither do I. Since I can't do that I went to grooveshark and threw a playlist together of some of my favorites from VD Bitter Tapes past. If you want to do the same here's the playlist! Enjoy!

GSF - MxPx
All I want is More - Reel Big Fish
Old Friend - Rancid
My Skateboard - The Aquabats!
Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend - Mr T Experience
Jen Doesn't Like Me Anymore - Less Than Jake
My Girlfriend's Dead - The Vandals
Sarah - The Slackers
Kristina - Catch 22
Miss Michigan - Mustard Plug
She Won't Ever Figure it Out - Big D and The Kid's Table
Song for the Dumped - Ben Folds Five
I Don't Wanna be Friends - Screeching Weasel
Hope - The Descendents

And don't forget this classic, Used to Love Her by Guns N Roses.

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