Goodbye, Grand Rapids

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This weekend I drove two and a half hours to Kalamazoo, MI to see Eyehategod, which was super fun, except for the part where Mike Williams looked considerably skinnier since the last time I saw him and like he was about to nod out right onstage.  Anyhoo, the following day I drove north on 131 to check out my old stomping ground, Grand Rapids, both to go shopping at Vertigo records and to pick up four more boxes of 16mm films, which were part of a set of fourteen boxes and two projectors, that I purchased several years ago from the Corner Record shop.

When I arrived in town, I got pretty nostalgic about all of the people that I’ve met and subsequently discarded or was discarded by during the course of my time there.  I thought about all of the countless hours spent at the few local hipster hangouts, the amount of dough I blew on booze, records and gigs and, above all else, all of the pussy I got.

I swear, to a man, there wasn’t a better pussy paradise than Grand Rapids.  But, then again, I was five to ten years younger, probably about twenty lbs. lighter and had considerably more hair on my head.  I dressed like a Sid Vicious/Johnny Rotten clone with spiky hair, black denim and a cut-off t-shirt, which 99% of the time, had Motorhead on it.

I remember when I first got good looking; it took a whole Summer of starving, weight lifting and a lot of fucking running.  But, it paid off and I was skinny, toned and super good looking.  I banged a few girls here and there before I dated Melissa for about ten months.  During that period I experienced my first true “taking it for granted” era of my life.  If I knew then what I know now, I may have acted differently; or maybe not.

I mean, we’re older now and she still gets to run around with reckless abandon because she’s an attractive woman and, in spite the fact that she’s in her 30s, is given carte blanche to shack up with hapless guys with too little sexual experience to see her for the train wreck that she is.  If you read this, Melissa, I think you’re cool as a friend and pretty funny, but as a romantic partner, you suck.  Not least of all for fucking Dave “Oderus Urungus” Brockie from Gwar back in ’04, but also from the many fun stories you told me later, like the one about how you cheated on your boyfriend who you just started dating while you were at a party because why not?  You did call him and tell him, so that’s commendable and, like a true mangina, he completely accepted it with no problem.  What was his other choice?  As far as you knew, he was a virgin.

But, back to Grand Rapids.  After the run with Melissa was done, there were like so many others.  Well, there was Melissa’s friend Becky, who I actually had two runs with, about three years apart, but I think she’s a Lesbian now.  And there was adorable little Emmy, who was 4’9″, and had one of the best asses ever; I remember dropping roughly $50 to get the morning after pill.  But, I think I learned the most about who I was from Jo.

Man, where do I start with her?  Let’s see.  I went to the Drink Ultra Lounge on a Thursday night to check out 80s night and, within the first hour of me arriving there, while sitting next to my former friend Tiffany, this hot, blow-up doll-ish bimbo just sits on my lap and gives me a lap dance; turns out she used to be a stripper.  It was so bizarre because I had never experienced someone being so forthright with me.  I feigned disgust or at least confusion because that’s what you’re supposed to do, rather than express joy or excitement.  I mean, ya know, hipsters.

Then, we chatted it up for a few before she blatantly asked me if I wanted to go home and sleep with her.  We went home and did the thing, and that’s when I learned that girls no longer care whatsoever about using protection.  Okay, not totally true.  Some of them will act slightly more responsible and ask if you have a rubber, but, in most cases that I’ve experienced, they pretty much just wing it.  Whether you pull out or not is completely negligible, and many aren’t even on the pill.  They just think, “eh, well, what’s the worst thing that could happen?  I mean, isn’t a child a miracle and aren’t abortions still legal?  Is AIDS even a thing anymore?”  What’s crazy is that, when I broached the topic, Jo responded with, “Are you asking me if I have AIDS?!  That’s crazy!”  Not sure how she figured that I would just assume someone who so willfully sleeps with someone right away wouldn’t have AIDS, especially since women are eight times more likely to get it than men and since she was far from insistent that I use protection.  I wonder how many gallons of semen a year a woman allows into her body via oral, anal or vaginal cavity and how often she makes sure that semen doesn’t give her potentially life threatening or womb destroying diseases.

Jo was a lot of fun to date even if she didn’t have too much going on upstairs.  With her fake, but bouncy boobs, slender, yet curvy physique and open mindedness to virtually any sexual activity that crossed my perverted little mind, she pretty much wiped away any notion that I or any man really cares about much more than whether a woman can offer  contentment and sexual satisfaction.  All that intellectual mumbo jumbo, whether she reads a lot or knows fuck all about what’s going on in the world is just window dressing.  Only I didn’t want to admit it then.

Anyway, aside from sex, there were other things I remember about Grand Rapids.  There were the punk shows, really mediocre basement and house punk shows.  One of the bands was the Drunk Upstarts, who epitomized punk rock stupidity, complete with mohalks, tie-dye jeans and Doc Martins.  I did not like these guys at all.  They were such arrogant pricks who thought they were the hottest shit ever, and many of the people they hung out with were some of the biggest idiots I’d ever met.  Just dumb.  I mean, “beer crushing on the forehead” dumb.  I mean “Hey! Watch this, guys!”, “whack!” dumb.  Three of them are dead now; two hung themselves and one was killed in a motorcycle accident.  There were other bands and other shows, but I don’t really give a fuck about remembering all of the bands I saw.  Let’s just say some were better than others, and I’m glad that the British punk rip-off thing from the early 00s is dead.

I also watched a fuckton of movies in Grand Rapids.  That’s where I developed my love for old films; classic silents, Hollywood tawkies, French New Wave, Italian Neo-Realism, you name it.  When I wasn’t bangin’ sleazy hoes or going to mediocre punk shows, I would join my smart friends at the house of Scott Rosendall, whose big “claim to fame” is playing Hank Preston, a character in the 2011 Hollywood comedy Horrible Bosses, which is the only roll in a major Hollywood picture he’s received since moving out to L.A. in 2007.

I remember it like it was yesterday; we’d show up at Scott’s house, usually with some booze and another movie and he would always ask the same exact questions; “Is it in black and white?” “Are there subtitles?”  “Was it made before 1960?”  Answer “yes” to any of these questions and you knew that the movie would be torture for Scott.  But, we made him watch them anyway.  Why?  Because we’re dicks.  I remember getting hardcore belly laugh when Scott said, “The lady vanishes as my patience vanishes.”

Did I mention Scott is disabled?  Yep, he’s relegated to being in a wheelchair because he has that disease that Samuel L. Jackson had in Unbreakable, where your bones are very brittle.  Scott also dated this ugly, fat cow named Michelle, who hated my guts, partly because she thought I was taking Scott to parties, where he’d bang other women.  Don’t have to worry about that Michelle.  Scott’s big bitch about Hollywood is how they employ able bodied actors to perform rolls of people in wheelchairs.  There’s a cause for you to fight, liberals.  Why weren’t any disabled actors honored at the academy awards?

One time, we took Scott to Grand Valley, where I went to school – did I mention I got a degree in statistics? – and had him pretend to be a quadriplegic.  I was pushing his wheelchair and pretended to let it go down a hill while shouting, “oh my god, I dropped Scott!” as the people around us stared in horror.  Then, when Scott stopped himself, we all had a good laugh at freaking everyone out.

Anyway, I retrieved four more boxes of films at Corner Record shop, then went to Sparrow’s coffee shop to kill some time time polishing off The Redneck Manifesto (yeah, I’ve been reading it for a week, I have a job, go fuck yourself) and just happened to meet a Trump supporter named Anthony, who was from Boston and happened to know Jim Goad.  Didn’t expect to meet one of my guys at a place like that!  Funny how, when I was younger, I got super excited when I’d see another kid wearing, I dunno, a Stooges t-shirt or a Misfits t-shirt.  Now I get excited when meeting someone who knows all the Takimag writers.

After that I had a couple beers with my friend Jenne (yep, spelling is correct) and went to Vertigo, where I bought Mystery to Me by Fleetwood Mac, Forever Changes by Love, Looking Into the Future by Journey and You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw by Spooky Tooth and, with all of my official business done and no more friends left in Grand Rapids – either they left me, I left them or they’re in another part of the country/world – I hightailed it back home.

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