What you remember at four in the morning

MxPx concert.
The day started out with me skateboarding to his house.
After beating his brothers at Smash Bros for a while to put them in their place, him and I drove over to our friends house to play Goldeneye and Diablo. One $5 Little Caesars Pizza and a 2-liter of Mountain Dew later, our other friends arrived. Within minutes, seven guys in a backyard with PVC pipes covered in foam and wrapped in duct tape were cheering and beating the shit out of each other for no reason whatsoever. No fictional narratives at play. No knights or wizards or elves. Nothing mystical about it – we just loved the competition.
At sundown, we all piled into our friend’s truck, and hit the road to see MXPX, our punk rock heroes. Someone in front reached under the seat and pulled out the massive, square, CD case full of burned discs – each one covered with incoherent sharpie scribbles – and pushed one in. Volume knob spun clockwise to 63, the seven of us sang the entire album 1998’s “Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo” with the windows rolled down, every word chanted into the night sky, all with the infinite verve of youth, and the harmonic pitch of a pack of rabid wolves on cocaine. We were full of unrequited hormones, relentless innocent energy, a confidence that the world would soon be ours, and the invincibility that only naïve 20-somethings can possess.
Lights flash. Feedback. Rumble. Noise. Drums. Distortion. We moshed the pits. Elbows flew, stumbling in circles, picking up people who fell (as the sacred code of mosh pits commands). A security guard body slammed one of us – to this day I’m not sure what he did to deserve it, but I am sure he deserved it. We drank things we shouldn’t have. We jumped on each others backs and shot our fists in the air to every chorus. We draped our exhausted arms over each others shoulders and laughed. Our sweat smeared all over bodies of hundreds of other people who did the same to us in that blur of carefree chaos and bruises.
With the final encore over and our shirts soaked, we walked outside; the night air wicking away the heat from our bodies, seven bulletproof boys walking in a line, all wearing matching green paper bracelets. Driving back, we put in a Less Than Jake CD, threw fireworks out the windows, lobbed sweet and sour sauce packets into cars, and pulled all of our coins from our pockets together to get as many drive thru 99 cent tacos as we could. We were kings of nothing – but kings nonetheless.
Some of us had plans of going to college in another state.
Some of us were looking into joining the Coast Guard.
Some of us had ambitions of being rockstars one day.
Some of us just wanted to marry the girlfriends we were with.
None of our dreams came true. Life forced us get older, move away, get into friendship-breaking arguments, and take jobs that turned us into the exact kind of adults we swore we’d never become. God knows where everyone is now.
That glorious night of music and abandoned freedom would be the last time all seven of us would ever hang out together again.
…we just didn’t know it yet.
It’s funny what you remember at four in the morning.



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