Ok, I was more of a metal-head growing up. I listened to bands like Six Feet Under, Cradle of Filth, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse… But I did listen to some punk and many of the bands I listened to, like Slayer, were highly influenced by punk music. Punk represented pretty much one thing: Anarchy. No systems, no future, just disorder. Middle fingers raised to the government and any other authority-heads.
A movie I watched all the time when I was at the impressionable age of 13 called, SLC Punk!, is and always will be a movie that holds a special place in my heart.
The movie followed the story of punkers, SteveO and Heroin Bob (they called him that because he actually never touched drugs). I hadn’t seen the movie or thought about it in years, but as I was looking at where my life is now and what my near-future plans are, the end scene popped into my head.
If you remember the first Scream by Wes Craven (no relation), you’ll remember one of the main characters of the film, Stu. The character was played by Matthew Lillard. He also plays the lead role of SteveO in SLC Punk!.
*Spoiler Alert* Heroin Bob dies at the end of the movie unexpectedly. He and SteveO are at a party and someone gives Bob a bunch of Percodan for a headache and he dies in his sleep from an overdose. Remember, Heroin Bob never touched drugs. Heartbroken and shaken, SteveO screams at Bob, “Only posers die!”
This is the turning point for SteveO as he puts the punk lifestyle to rest and continues on in his father’s footsteps with plans to attend Harvard Law School.
SteveO says at the end of the film, “There’s no future in anarchy, lets face it… But when I was into it, there was never a thought of the future. We were certain that the world was gonna end, but when it didn’t, I had to do something…”
He concludes his reflective monologue with this; “I guess when all was said and done, I was nothing more than a goddamn trendy ass poser.” Though he says it with a smirk and a hint of sarcasm indicating that punk never really dies. As he already mentioned, only posers die.
. . .
A good friend and I were talking yesterday about the fact that he and I both followed the same recipe for chasing dreams and listening to our hearts. Yet we were still facing a cold reality. That of, we need good jobs. Good jobs that don’t suck and can allow us the ability to continue to pursue our passions.
We also embraced the reality that the term starving artist exists for very good reason.
I don’t think this means to give up on your art or the dreams you have, but it means to accept that life is life. Like I’ve said before, living within your dream doesn’t mean life stops being life. Shit still happens that you and I really wish wouldn’t happen.
So, can you still go to Harvard and not be a poser? I think so. Can you work for someone else without feeling as though you’ve severely failed in the department of creating your own future? What the hell does that mean anyway? To create your own future. The future doesn’t even exist. The only thing that exists in time is right now. Right now I know the things that I love to do and I do them often. I’m doing them right now. I also have the opportunity to earn a wage that affords me the lifestyle I enjoy living. And I can do it without selling my soul. Or living on a street.
There was a time that I was willing to be homeless for the pursuit of a dream, and I was. I don’t really feel like that anymore. And I’m pretty glad that I don’t.
Here’s to all my trendy ass posers out there still doing your thing, even if it’s in a very different arena than the one you originally imagined.
. . .
My friend Sarah came to my most recent book release/signing event and wrote this on a social media post…
“So awesome seeing you in your element (again). I was a fan of yours back then and still am now… even though the audience and venue couldn’t be any more different Haha! Love you!”
Sarah was at most, if not all, of our band’s shows back in the day. Even before she dated our bass player, she was at the shows. I think her comment really encapsulates the heart of this post as well as the inevitability of change. And I love you too, Sarah!