Tuesday, July 21, 2009
the 80s: waldorf goes punk
I moved to Colorado the summer before my freshman year in high school. I was double nervous. New, big town. New, big school.
For the first day of school I got dressed up real nice in my coolest Polo gear. Despite my affinity for edgy music (edgy for Northern Indiana, that is), I dressed totally preppy. I even had big, round, tortoise shell, horned rim glasses.
So I get on the bus that first day, and I see everyone with their feathered hair and Ocean Pacific shirts staring at me, and I hear laughter.
The next day I get on the bus and everyone yells in unison: "Waldorf!"
This happens for one or two more days and then abruptly stops. I think the bus driver laid down the law.
Not a good start for my new big-city life. And it wasn't helped by the waves of laughter that seemed to follow me through the halls.
I tried to make the most of it. I enrolled in challenging classes. Read Catcher in the Rye. Lettered in cross country. Made a few friends. Kept dressing preppy.
But I couldn't shake the feeling that society hated me. And you know what? I hated it right back.
And I caught some glimpses here and there of a way out. Of an identity that could help me shake the nerd image real fast. There was this upper classman who had a great big mohawk. And there were a couple of younger dudes who had their heads shaved real close. They both wore tattered old combat jackewts with words written on them, stuff like Ill Repute and I don't know what else.
So I asked my mom if I could have a mohawk. She said no. Asked if I could shave my head. No again. But I did manage to get her to give me a ride to Wax Trax and buy me some t-shirts. I got one that said Dead Kennedys. Another that said the Clash, I think. Or Sex Pistols. I'm not sure. And I bought a copy of This is Boston, Not L.A.
And I took some old jeans and I rubbed them against the pavement in front of the house until there were holes in the jeans.