Monday, December 19, 2011

This Is Not A Recap of PCW 12/15/2011. It Is An Essay On Partying.

Yes, I did attend Platinum Championship Wrestling’s show at the Masquerade last Thursday night. Yes, I was entertained by a lot of what I saw.
However. For a variety of different reasons December 15th was more about getting out and partying than it was about watching wrestling, and let me just tell you the Hooligans made the party happen. But PCW certainly helped.
I had already been planning on going incognito for the event. We had a few guests from out of town as well as a couple of Hooligans that can’t always make it out, so hanging with my people was more of a priority than running around in my mask and taking a bunch of crappy pictures, as will become obvious over the course of this non-recap.

The Hooligans boasted a record attendance at the show with myself, Mrs. Troublemaker, Rescue John, Lady Evil (who I am trying to find a better nickname for. I knew her before I knew Evil, so it hardly seems fair to define her with his moniker. I’m leaning towards “Boots” because she always has some kind of awesome boots on. I’m creative like that.), Evil, Angry Matt, Darth Pete, the Grand Hoff, and Little Pond. Me and the first three all squeezed into Angry Matt’s tiny sedan. I got to sit up front since I am nigh-gigantic, but the rest got to know each other very well by the time we got downtown. Everybody else met us down there, including Evil who was already in the area.
Thursday night was a big deal to me because it is kind of the last hurrah before the end of the year. Now, there’s still one major bash left on the 29th – and I’ll get to that in a minute – but I think a lot of the crew is going to be out of town or otherwise occupied for that one and I’m working nights all weekend for New Year’s. So this was the big one. The last chance this year to get really, really loud and drunk with the people I love most in the world (well, except for Lil’ Troublemaker. Obviously he’s not going to be getting drunk for quite some time. He is very loud when he wants to be, though).
And again I reiterate – the fact that there was wrestling there made it more awesome, but was by no means the priority.
Partying has become increasingly important to me in the past few years. I’m sure it’s some kind of base, immature response to parenthood; but it’s also combined with the fact that up until a few years ago I didn’t really know how to party. So I have a couple of decades of fun backed up in my system just waiting to spurt out all over the place. Or something.
I can trace the roots of my inability to party back to my upbringing. My parents are Southern Baptists and while I understand that will suffice to explain things for many of you, I am going to elaborate further.
I may be a damnable rapscallion now, but I was brought up to be polite and respectful of people, truthful to a fault, and mindful of the swift and terrible vengeance of authority figures. I lived the first half of my life in abject fear of the consequences making the wrong choices could bring. I don’t know what, exactly I was so scared of but I was scared as shit. Both parents took their turns with spankings or whatever and I got the belt more than a few times, but it’s not like they ever beat the shit out of me or anything. I just lived in a state of constant anxiety of being discovered doing the wrong thing. I’m sure some therapist somewhere would take a lot of my money to explain things to me, but I’m pretty well-adjusted now. I get by just fine.
Living like that obviously did not lend itself to a big wild streak. I didn’t smoke weed until I was eighteen and I didn’t touch alcohol until I was twenty. I remember the first time I was ever exposed to marijuana was at a birthday party I had. I don’t really remember the party itself all that well. I probably didn’t have fun because I never had fun at parties. Too busy worrying that I was going to get into trouble. But a couple of the “cool kids” sparked one up outside of my parents’ basement. They offered to share and I declined. My dad came downstairs at some point and kind of chased everybody off. The next day he told me he had smelled marijuana and gave me the third degree. I felt like I had done something wrong just by knowing it even existed. Like I said, my parents never for-real beat me or anything, but any time my dad felt like it he could make me think he was going to straight-up break my neck. So I was terrified of drugs and alcohol.
Another problem I had at parties was that I never knew what the heck you were supposed to be doing at parties. I mean, obviously when you’re a teenager you’re supposed to be finding somebody to have sex with, but I am terrible at that and there just didn’t seem to be a whole lot of other options. I couldn’t buy alcohol until I was 21, so drinking was out because it seemed so rude to just drink somebody else’s beer. Oddly, weed was safer once I really got into doing illegal things. I mean, you’ve got a much better chance of getting away with buying a nickel bag than you do of buying a six pack. But weed was still hard to come by, so smoking up at a party was not always feasible. That pretty much just left talking and I wasn’t very good at that either until probably 1998 or so.
So that leaves a four year gap after high school where I just never learned how to party. You know why?
Because I didn’t go to college.
Obviously this is where everybody really learns how to party and I missed out. Don’t get me wrong – I spent my fair share of weekends in Athens and Auburn, but I wasn’t part of things. I was the weird loser guy who showed up to take advantage of the college scene my friends were involved in.
And then there were the fringe parties that I just happened across some way or another. There was this one that I got invited to by a guy I worked with at Blimpie. He was this cool guy who actually did his best to sort of big brother me while we worked together. I smoked my first bowl with him right there in the Blimpie kitchen. He explained a whole lot about the practicalities of life and is also the source of one of the very best quotes I have ever heard in my life.
Okay, when you read this, you have to imagine that Matthew McConaughey’s character from Dazed and Confused is saying it because that’s basically who this guy was. Ready?
Man, your parents… they know a whole lot more than you think they know.”
Fucking terrifying. And true. This quote will haunt me until the day I die.
So anyway, this guy invited me to a party once. I didn’t know anybody that was going to be there, so I brought dan d. with me. He was probably my best friend at the time and a relative master of partying compared to me, so he seemed like good backup. We got there and it was… shocking. Blimpie guy was this redneck. I don’t know what exactly we were expecting out of this little shindig, but what we got was several rooms of nerds playing different types of nerd games.
I should explain here that I have always been a big nerd. All of my friends have always known about the toy collection and the comics and whatever else. But I’ve never been a nerd nerd. Like, I’m not a smart nerd. I think on that one Venn diagram I actually fell into the “dork” category:
I like to think that by now I’m firmly in the “nerd”, perhaps even leaning a bit more towards “geek”.
But anyway, there were dudes in one room playing DOOM, a bunch of people in the kitchen playing D&D or some other tabletop RPG, and a group of people in the backyard wearing black and smoking clove cigarettes. I wouldn’t find out for a couple more years that these particular specimens were called “goths”.
While I would be able to have fun at that party now (mainly because I can have fun almost anywhere now), back then it was not my scene. It certainly wasn’t dan d.’s scene. So we left as unobtrusively as we could. I seem to remember one of the people that wasn’t attached to any one particular project catching us on the way out and trying to convince us to “roll up some characters” real quick. We bolted. On the way back to dan d.’s car we saw some more guests arriving and one of them was wearing – I shit you not, and this party did not take place anywhere near the month of October –a cape. This led to one of the first significant memes of my young adult life:
You know it’s time to leave when the guy with the cape shows up.”
Which brings me to my very first for real goth party.
Before I start I want to thank the person that jogged my memory and inspired me to write about this one. You know who you are. We’ll have some absinthe and clove cigarettes later. I think you’ll look great in some black crushed velvet.
So I had this buddy named Jeff in those years after high school. I can’t remember exactly how we met, but he was a cool guy and I got a lot from him; as you do from any older, knowledgeable person that isn’t enough older to seem creepy or knowledgeable enough to seem dickish. You know, within your scope.
Jeff was friends with lots of people. He seriously seemed to know everybody in Atlanta. He was even friends with this one girl I used to crush on in high school that I hadn’t seen in a few years (a few years back then was a lot less than a few years now). As a result of Jeff’s age and broad collection of acquaintances he knew lots of kinds of people too. I think he got a kick out of springing horizon broadening experiences on people. Which is why he took me to the goth party.
We rode to wherever the heck the place was in Jeff’s little Dodge Neon with the fancy seats, listening to some kind of old school punk music all the way. While Jeff knew people from all kinds of crowds, he himself was what I like to call a “fancy punker”. He listened to British punk rock and sort of dressed like a skinhead. But fancier. I fell into that whole “non-racist skinhead” thing for a couple of years and feel pretty stupid about it now. I hated the music, I’ve never looked good in suspenders, and I don’t totally buy the whole “non-racist” part of it. If you oppose everything a certain group of folks stand for, maybe you should look totally different from those folks. But Jeff was way into the whole scene and I honestly don’t think has a prejudicial bone in his whole body.
Okay, sorry. We got to this house and I don’t remember what the exterior looked like, but the interior was like a fucking movie. Seriously – it was like what Hollywood would portray a goth lair as. It was a two level loft-type thing with black drapes and lace all over the place. I think there was even some kind of furry black rug in the middle of the main room. There were a few pale people lounging about wearing black pleather, vinyl, velvet – whatever. Too much fishnet. There was the stereotypical goth couple – a skinny, malnourished looking guy and his girlfriend who was conspicuously… well-nourished.
Two of these people were arguing over whether the new nine inch nails song was any good. I think this was within a few days of when the video for “The Perfect Drug” was released, so January of 1997. Whoever was on the side saying it wasn’t good should get a cookie because Trent Reznor agrees. Personally, I thought it was pretty awesome, but at the time I clearly did not have any business discussing such things with such people. I was out of my league.
So we’re in this dark, gloomy loft-type place that I could swear even had stone walls. Think of Angel’s place from Buffy, but with more black. There was a screen playing “The Perfect Drug”. It was on a PC, which blew my mind. Watching music videos on a computer. Fucking crazy. The place smelled like the head shop I used to work next to. More black-clad people just kind of spring from the shadows. Jeff was not alarmed by this, so neither was I. They all drifted about, being vaguely catty and silly and I’m doing everything I can not to laugh. Not so much at the goths because hey, I learned different strokes for different folks at a young age (thanks, Arnold Drummond) and I think everybody should do their own thing. I’m more trying not to laugh at Jeff for suddenly blending right in with these folks like we weren’t in his car listening to the Business five minutes ago.
At some point I realized something utterly astonishing: this is not where the party is. I didn’t understand how this could not be the party house, because there were already a bunch of people there and music and obviously it’s a heck of a setting for an event. But no – we were just picking up a couple of these folks and going elsewhere. I couldn’t imagine what sort of exotic, Butterfield-esque locale would trump our current location.
It turned out it was a little two-bedroom house in Midtown Atlanta. But absolutely stuffed with goths. To get back to my original point that I left behind so very long ago, I didn’t know what to do. The only person I knew was Jeff and obviously he was busy talking to all 3,732 people he personally knew. I need to look on Facebook and see how many friends that guy has. I bet he’s at the limit.
So the goth party did nothing to open my party horizons.
There were other parties. Evil and Darth Pete had a party that would have been kickass if I hadn’t been there with my crazy girlfriend. There was a New Year’s Eve party that just did nothing for me. Can’t remember who was there or anything, but I remember the party sucking. A Halloween party that would have been pretty cool except for this one chick who I just now realize was a precursor to the Jersey Shore shitheads. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but people were apologizing for her for months after.
A few successful parties happened along the way. Notably a couple at my parents’ house when they were out of town. Yeah, I got ballsy every once in a while. There was one that was a blast because my terrible band The Irresponsibles played with The Tone Deaf Pig-Dogs and I cherish every single show we got to play with those guys.
There was another one that was a very fateful night for me. Event #1 was that some little douchebag broke my ashtray. I know that doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but it was this huge one I had stolen from a restaurant in France and it said “PRIMUS” on it in the exact same font the band used to use. I was fucking furious. I still hate that little pecker. He even sent me a friend request a few months ago and I TOTALLY DENIED IT. Fuck you, Thomas.
The other major event was much more major. I set eyes on the beautiful redhead that would be the first love of my life. Out of all the shit that has happened in my life and all the people I’ve met and things I’ve done, I’ll never forget that lady walking through the door of my parents’ porch and absolutely blowing my fucking mind. I still get weak in the knees and turn into that teenage kid when I think about seeing her for the first time. She made all the other girls at that party seem irrelevant.
But that’s a story for another day.
This story is about how I just didn’t know how to party for a long time. And just so you know, the big event that unleashed that inner beast in me was, of course, Dragon*Con. But I’ll save that one for about nine months from now.
Back to my actual original point – last Thursday’s PCW show.
Which I am going to have to cover tomorrow because my increasingly fractured mind has once again veered me so far off course that one topic has turned into another entirely. I promise I’m going to try not to make a habit of this.

Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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