in high school i left it alone and it left me alone. we cut that deal with each other back in grade school after the teachers stuck me in the back of the class with bobby d and diane p because they said we were smarter than the rest.
i didnt consider that a reward. in fact i considered it a punishment.
i had no problem with bob who was my best friend, or diane, who was a hot peice of ass, even before i should have known what a hot peice of ass was, but i did have a problem not being able to sit next to the people who i also liked who were “falling behind” who couldnt do math in their head, or who couldnt read or write as good as they were supposed to. and of course all the normal kids, which i was dying to be.
i adored my mother and as you can see from this picture that she took of me on my first morning of high school my shirt is tucked in, i am wearing a belt, a watch, my fro is semetrical, and i have a notepad with a pen in the spiral.
what she didnt notice was i didnt have a book bag or any loof leaf paper or highlighters or a ruler or anything an a-student would need or want. that was because i didnt want to be an a student. i didnt want to be put in the back of the class again, i didnt want to be put in any rooms away from the stoners and the rejects and the kids who would teach me about led zeppelin and pussy and all the real things that i really wanted to learn about.
the little notebook? that was to write stories in. to then fold up and give to the pretty girls in hopes that they would enjoy them and then kiss me under the bleachers. success and i hadnt made any deals about that shit so it was cool.
our high school had one of the best marching bands in state, if not the world. i wasnt sure what i was supposed to do about that one, so i stayed away from band until my senior year after i had met pretty much everyone in school except the band geeks. of course i knew a few of them, but i figured if i joined senior year and did well there wasnt anything that they could do bad to me.
of course it was in marching band that i learned about metalica and billy cobham and iron maiden. and i learned about giving 100%. and i learned for the first time what real success was. it was about practicing on the hot pavement in illinois from 8am till 8pm, it meant practicing on pillows in your basement, it meant not just trying to be better than every drum line and band in the midwest but being absolutely perfect for the band director who was the first perfectionist that id ever met. the first weirdo who i ever respected. the first guy who said that he didnt care about our past, that if we just gave 100% that we would be champions in a few short months.
naturally, those were the longest few short months ive ever experienced, but the best. and whenever i feel myself giving 100% i think about high school and my bass drum. and about how i had given 1% at everything else because i was afraid and how i gave 100% at marching band because they had set up an environment where it was ok to succeed. nothing bad was going to happen. you were already in the back of the class. but you were there with 150 other freaks. and you wouldnt be able to go to homecoming because you had to perform at soldier field but you would get to perform at soldier field instead of having to go through that bullshit at homecoming.
the next time i trusted giving 100% was years after high school graduation. i had fallen in love with a big boned girl named tracy while i was an ice cream man in mundelion. she had nice tits, soft hands and a waterbed. she had a record player and didnt mind if i flipped the record over during our long sex sessions. when i went home to california i wrote her a very long poem that i tried to perfect. when i showed the poem to a college professor she offerred to allow me into a tiny college at uc santa barbara called the college of creative studies.
again i was being rewarded by being taken away from my friends, the hippies, because i was quote unquote special. i didnt want to do it until the professor told me that i wouldnt have to take any more tests and that the little college had no grades. so i did it, i transferred because i figured without that pressure i would be able to start working at the college paper, a dream because i loved that paper so much. it happened to be the best in the state if not the world.
there i also gave 100% and i was rewarded by being fired within a year and then rehired and then banned. of course i racked up several awards along the way, and because of my little stories that were being passed out to the pretty girls, several of whom followed me beneath the bleachers, but success reminded me that we had a little deal that i was breaking.
this might be the reason why i dont spell check on the busblog, or edit things, or read what i write after i write it, or dont write about politics, or dont write about sports, or do anything that would get me over the hump and into the technorati 100. im very comfortable at 353 or wherever i am because if success ever says wtf tony i can say i aint giving 100%, if anything im shooting myself in the foot every chance i can. i lie. i say things wrong on purpose. i write when im drunk. i quit smoking pot which really did help my creativity. i quit dating teenagers which did help my plot lines. i quit writing about the xbi which is my real job. i quit putting my rock show reviews on the busblog and in many ways ive turned this into an advertisement for the glories of buzznet, hollywood, and being a bachelor – three establishments that dont need any help
a few months ago i was interviewed by a college girl who asked me to compare gen x with gen y and i said i was really happy that i was gen x because i am the embodiment of the slacker generation. but what i didnt tell her was in my mind the best thing about gen x is we’re like a snake or better yet a scorpion who sits there in the shadows. small, beautiful, tiny, but protected. just waiting for some asshole to try to bite us and out will come our stinger and unlike the ridiculous bee, we dont die when we sting. the only thing that can stop us, is ourselves. and when people say they dont understand nirvana its because they dont understand gen x or punk or the multi dimensional aspects of success.