I was driving in to work this morning, bleary eyed and pretty much completely on auto pilot. Mornings of late have been a huge struggle for me. Long nights of restless sleep and days that seem to be filled with everything and yet nothing at all make for a very tired me. I go through daily routines such as my morning commute like some sort of zombie. I am comforted to see that my slightly slack jawed, blank eyed stare, is reflected back to me by the drivers in other cars.
This morning though I was snapped out of my haze as some very familiar and well loved chords came piping out of my cars speakers. It was the opening to Santa Monica by Everclear. I love this song. Without a second thought my finger was pressing the volume control on my steering wheel as fast as it could so that soon my car was filled with the almost deafening sound of my youth blaring out at me.
I sang along poorly to the lyrics that I know ohh so well. There was head bobbing and awkward car dancing. I totally was rocking out to a tune that put a nostalgic smile on my lips and in my soul. I didn't care who saw or what they thought. It made me happy and that is all that matters.
Everclear holds a special place in my heart. They are the only band I have ever seen in concert. Well technically I saw Fastball and Marcy's Playground too, but I was there to see Everclear. I was a junior in high school when So Much for the Afterglow came out, and the concert tickets were a present for my 17th birthday.
I am not going to say anything like their lyrics spoke to me, or their music defined me, or any of that nonsense. I am not that musically based. Quite simply put; I loved their music. I listened to all of their albums until I knew them by heart. I watched every one of their music videos (back when there were still music videos on). My best friend and I just gushed over them. It was typical teen fandom.
I remember though that I was a little ashamed of this. It is hard to explain why. It is not that I felt ridiculous for how much I liked the band, I didn't care about that. It was the fact that I liked THAT band so much. Saying that now sounds so incredibly stupid, because Everclear was very popular at that time, especially with people my age.
That was the problem though. They were very mainstream popular and that is never really cool. I remember one day one of my brothers friends, who were so much cooler than I was (in my head), rolled their eyes and made a derisive comment about the band when it came on the radio. They referred to them, and all music of that kind, as cock rock. It wasn't real rock. It was rock for posers and wannabes. It was better than things like the boy bands that were running rampant, but only just a little better.
I remember being more than a little mortified of this revelation. I didn't want to be one of those people. I didn't want to be seen as some poser. I don't even think I really had any idea what the hell that guy was talking about. I do know that after that point I kept my opinion on music to myself so as not to be judged.
Man was I dumb back then. I mean that guy really wasn't cool. I wasn't cool, but neither was he, or any of my brothers friends really. My brother wasn't even cool, my brother was infamous, that is very different. They benefited solely from being my brothers friends. Otherwise I can say, looking back on them now, they were just as uncool as I was.
The thing is I can't say I am any less dumb now. I don't think any of us can say that. I mean we all have those things that we love and don't talk about for fear of being judged on it. No matter how much we claim to not care, there is always that one thing that our friends won't understand.
We have all made such strides in the last few decades of embracing our weirdness. Letting your freak flag fly is something you do with total pride. You play table top RPG's? Cool. You love Star Trek? Awesome. You do historical reenactments on the weekend? Nifty.
I mean if I can say things like I love Doctor Who, and Star Trek TNG, and Sailor Moon, and Firefly, and Buffy, and any number of other geeky shows, why is it I can't say I love American Idol and Duck Dynasty too? I mean I do. Those crazy bearded rednecks are hilarious. The husbeast swears he has family like that.
As for American Idol? Yea I watch it and enjoy it. No I am not trained in music but I know what I like, and I like some of it. I didn't watch this season because there was no one special on it, but there have been some seasons where I never missed an episode.
So why do I hide it? Why do I never talk about it? Because I don't want to be judged by my peers for it. I know that if I say anything I will get looks of horror from people and then they will feel the need to list all the reasons why it is such an awful show. They will tell me all about how the music is bad, and the producers are corrupt, and how it is ruining tv/music/future artists and so on, and I just don't want to listen to it.
Here is the thing guys, I like it and that is all that matters. We all have things we like and don't like, and they won't always line up with what other people like and don't like. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. That is sort of why there is such a wide variety of stuff in the world.
I have one friend who is notorious for loathing movies. I mean it is to the point that we won't sit with him in a movie theater and pretty much have banned talk on movies around him because he always hates everything we like. He has a million reasons from hating the writing, the acting, the continuity, to the breaking of cannon. He can go on and on and on about why they are terrible movies. Even when he says a movie is good he will still say something like "It was a great movie except for the fact that they said it was part of <insert popular franchise>".
The thing is he doesn't actually hate all movies. He actually likes some movies. What I find funny is that the movies he says are good I can't stand. I mean he likes some stuff that makes me want to stab out my eyes. The movies he enjoys I would typically describe as being as intellectually stimulating as wet vermicelli, and a humor level appreciated by simpletons and drunk frat boys, with insipid juvenile story lines, wrought with over acting, poor plot development, and no redeeming qualities.
In the end I sound like him which is why I don't discuss movies with him. I hate what he loves and he hates what I love. I can totally accept that. I mean obviously some portion of society enjoys that drivel or they would stop making it. He can say the same thing about what I like (and does).
My point is, that I think you should be unapologetic about what you love. I think if you love American Idol, or Star Trek, or Will Ferrel movies* you should feel free to scream it from the top of your lungs and not care what anyone thinks of you. People will agree with you, or they won't, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that you love it. You are not wrong in what you love.
Also remember when someone starts talking about what they love don't discount them. Don't be that guy who comes back and tells them that their choices are invalid because that just makes you a douche canoe. Be able to look at them and say that it isn't your cup of tea but you are glad they like it. Appreciate that people like different things and that is alright.
Be unapologetic for what you love.
*For the record I can only think of one Will Ferrel movie that I like; Stranger Than Fiction. I love that movie. If I enjoyed anything else he was in it was because he was only in a small part that I could ignore. I think he is wasting his talent. Of course if you like him, which obviously is a lot of the world since they keep letting him make movies, then more power to you. I am glad he can entertain someone.