Punk rock can teach us all a lesson. Take Philly hardcore band Paint It Black for example.
While sitting in rush-hour traffic "researching" the CD reviews I had due, I slip the band’s sophomore album, Paradise, into my player and prepare to take some mental notes. I look at the back of the CD, milling over song titles like "Election Day" and "Pink Slip" while carefully stroking the twelve hairs on my chin I’ve convinced myself are the seeds of what will one day become a mammoth beard. I absorb the album cover, a mix of green and black paint droplets highlighted by a man in a suit with a smokestack for a head. It hit me. I look up, my eyes drifting toward the city skyline and the businesses responsible for polluting the water I drink and the air I breathe. I look back at the CD, only to catch a whiff of irony about as transparent as a fart in the shower. I knew Paradise had nothing to do with an island retreat inspired by a recent discovery of world music. No, brother, this was fight music.
After hearing lead singer Dan Yemin, formerly of Lifetime and Kid Dynamite, belt the final howl in "Memorial Day" for the third time, the last straw of liberal oppression inside me snaps like a twig. I throw open my door and survey the cars around me. Horns come blaring from the corporate sheep I share lane space with but quickly bounce off my ears like bullets to armor. I size up my options and find a suit yakking on his cell phone, probably to his mistress. With one hand raised into a fist and the other clutching Paradise, I shatter his side window, push him to the passenger side and take over his SUV. He screams something about going to see his wife in the hospital in between pleas for the lives of his children, but I shrug it off as neocon banter. I end up punching him square in the face 461 times before crashing his gas-guzzling terrorist assault vehicle into a government building, which then catches fire.
My rebellious fun didn’t last. As I write this, I’m hoping Prefix publisher Dave Park will be able to put up my bail. Sure, he says, as soon as you turn in those CD reviews you owe me.
Just another cog in the man’s wheel.