stevedeace

Hope I Die Before I Get Old

In Humor on February 14, 2011 at 12:43 am

Few things in life make me feel older than The Grammies.

That’s because every year they are a constant reminder of how cool I no longer am – or maybe never actually was – and I’m conflicted about that.

On the one hand getting older can also mean growing up, and unless I want to turn out like Matthew McConaughey’s regrettable character in Dazed and Confused that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For few things in pop culture are more detestable or more desperate than the aging hipster. On the other hand, getting old also means inheriting from my parents and elders all their uncool clichés that drove me crazy in my youth.

This may be hard for some of you who are used to listening to and reading my opinions from a certain worldview to believe, but growing up I was one of the “cool kids” when it came to pop music. I had a monumental CD collection. I knew the words to all of the cool hit songs, even those gangsta rap records that couldn’t get mainstream radio air play because of the offensive lyrics (you know, back when we had standards and MTV still played videos—like 1991).

I could lip sync Garth Brooks one moment and N.W.A. the next. Like every other college-aged kid in the early 1990s, I was also a connoisseur of what eventually became known as grunge as well. I’m pretty sure my freshman orientation packet included my class schedule, dorm assignment, and a copy of Pearl Jam’s Ten and Nirvana’s Nevermind complete with commemorative flannel shirt.

I could effortlessly go from classic rock to alternative and country to hip hop all in one CD shuffle (this was the Stone Age before IPods, kids). Heck, I could make a pretty mean mix tape back in the day, too. Just ask my wife. I had that puppy down to a science. I even knew right where to strategically place The Cranberries’ Linger in the rotation for maximum emotional impact.

Hey, laugh all you want, but it worked on her and 15 years later we’re living happily ever after married with three kids in the suburbs.

So what changed? How did I go from The Grammies being must-see-TV each February in order to validate my musical snobbery to not having watched it in I don’t know how long?

Two things—and neither is necessarily my fault.

See, a funny thing happened on my way to being perpetually cool. I sort of, well, I guess you could say I ran into God. And it turned out He had this totally different plan for my life that didn’t include self-loathing or self-indulgent music anymore. He strangely wanted me to have a life of hope and redemption and other stuff totally different from how I was rolling at the time.

Weird, huh?

That’s not to say if you enjoy contemporary or pop music in general you’re on the Highway to Hell, although likely some of the people who produce it are. I’m simply saying that what this music represented in my life was a connection to a problematic past that I need to be delivered from, and it was going to be hard for me to live in the Promised Land while I was still remembering life in the desert.

That’s also not to say that I staged some massive CD burning in my backyard in the name of Jesus. Trust me, the folks who typically do creepy stuff like that freak me out as well, especially since they almost always are married to a chick with Technicolor hair as well as eye liner to spare and talk with a drawl that makes Haley Barbour sound like The King’s Speech.

Instead, one Saturday morning several years ago a great peace came over me, assuring me it was time to move on and leave that hopelessness found in too many of my CD cases behind once and for all. So I calmly removed that music from my repertoire and like any good capitalist I made some cash selling it back to the used CD store down the street, and I managed to do all of this without consulting Benny Hinn.

I can still remember my wife coming down the stairs that morning stunned at what I was doing, because frankly when we met I cared more about my music collection than the future mother of my children, so she knew what this meant. Nevertheless, I did the deed and I haven’t looked back.

So with my Creator encouraging me to be more creative in what I was listening to, He also allowed me to live long enough to see myself cease being cool. I will turn 38 years old in July, and while some of you reading this would kill to be that age again in the world of The Grammies it makes me close to null and void as a consumer. This means regardless of my spiritual awakening at the very least I still would have become an uncool pagan at this age anyway.

This is why The Who sang “I hope I die before I get old.”

But before I lament that youth is wasted on the young, I am reminded every time I recall what I thought mattered most at that age that I wouldn’t go back across the other side of the Jordan for all the platinum records in the world.

Let alone all The Grammies.

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  1. Steve,

    I could mirror this story in my own life, having been birthed in 1972. I lived out the same saga, saved by grace in ’93.
    What a musical roller coaster ride it has been since.
    : shakes head slowly from side to side at this years Grammys :

    Bring back the guitar solo !

    ~ Michael L
    Columbia, MO

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