North of the future Via Popearosa, I strolled to then fro from Disc Connection & its proprietor who bore an uncanny resemblance to a brutal Skynyrd or 38 Special roadie but was actually a swell guy beneath the perpetual shades. 55° that late September day the papers say, remember it being warm, was 82° as close as the 17th & hit the high 70s the following week. What's with the heat mapping of doddering memory? 'tis more than its cracked orange cover image. Heat births sweat which in turn births conscious acknowledgment of something awry, at least for me.
Here, i.e. then, I was 19 with no skills save a local Tecmo Bowl mastery & hashish-less heshering & I haven't expanded my repertoire much since, no loot past meager "work"-"study" [ed. note: verily, quote marks are apropos to both] scratch, & a new wife whose oven was bunn'd. Stupid adults aren't ready, so stupid kids sit behind the 8-, 9- & 10-balls. Despite having no first-, second- or third-hand experience with the ravaging stampede of white horses, Dirt became a security blanket.
To the non-idealist drowning in a sea of
Got me wrong
This was the original pressing with the proper song order, i.e. Down in a Hole as penultimate track. Such scene cred was important, I imagined, for those carousing & chording in a scene. When Bowling Ball Keith (liked to & looked like) & Rabid Mike whose woman done him wrong like a country music song [ed. note: no joke, crazy attracts crazy I guess] refused the shape of things to come, the former high school scene shrinks to two though feeling more like one, oft darkthroning before I knew what the hell that was. Candles pissed upon, proof of who's a fake. Exaggeration? For a time, just a time, the river was dammed indeed, comfort found in claustrophobic spite spackled over with its sonic expression & a predominantly forest green flannel & USC sweat pants [ed. note: beats me, so don't ask; wish I still had that Marijuana Pickers t-shirt handed down from gramps], the ensemble a walking vomitorium that I of course wore on my first day of student employment inside the Towering Slab.
I wasn't high on that chilly October afternoon, merely gorging on inattention to surroundings & others, a theme recurring to this day. Selfishness or safety? As with all things, a bit of both, & part of the problem.
Shocks to the system make one feel like a fly trapped in a jar, & those ghostly tracks plus the slow-burn death spiral on the self-titled a few years later sealed the hermetic deal. Frogs still pierces without remorse.
So, ten years later give or take, today in fact & the reason for this post, Layne's a syringe masquerading as a corpse, & ten after that, I'm still here, the bun out of the oven & into the frying pan-on-low-heat of misleadingly-labeled higher ed, just like yours truly was when Dirt first spun, a timely coincidence of marking out invented miles along an artificial road.
Looking back on all that, the causes of antisocial behavior, characters tuning in, dropping out as a tree's April buds (some have stood out, still do, & will because they're the rarest of creatures), wondering whose fault(s) was/is this spooling aftermath lip to silent lip, a thousand words for every one, more than one supporting or no, I've my suspicions which are probably less fault & more it is what it is, what shall I do, rooster snuffed yet animate?
If I would, could you?
To mope, to mope, sawed-off shotgun riffs choking dead meadows, fetal in the curling smoke of primal brooding, necks arcing, whipping, bending in the wind of dissolution, never breaking in time, this kind of crumbling takes time, rebuilding even longer. I have never felt such frustration/Or lack of self control. Aural scrawlings on repeat about drug addiction & darkness & the attendant figurative holes left after each step on a mine still harrow twenty years on in their hallowed comfort. There are other kinds of addiction, of that I'm versed well. So, desert island gaming at gunpoint, the works of this band. There can be no other choice, because there's always something to rebuild, preserve, & put off till later both home & abroad & what better fuel for hopeful lungs than an air of destruction?
We humans are storytellers, sure, & most are boring, mine included. But it's the only one I know well. & Down in a Hole is still the most beautiful song ever. Thanks, Layne & Co. Could've done it without you, but it would've sucked a little bit more.