Getting Old

Getting Old

Or: Get Over It, Already

Here’s the deal. If you’re reading this, odds are I’m older than you. To be precise, I’ll be 41 by the time this issue comes out.

No big whup. If I make a big deal out of it, I come off like a grumpy old guy, and I won’t play that game. The point is, when you get here (if you’re lucky, you will), don’t you play it either.

Sure, a whole lot of me “fits” a forty-something stereotype. Married, two kids (we couldn’t figure a way to make that “2.5” figure workable). Company president, listed in Who’s Who in American Law . Assistant coach on my daughter’s soccer team. Been known to go to church and even plays guitar as part of the service most every week.

Look beneath the surface, though. For most people you’d have to look further than with me. Four nights a week I’m “Mr. Mom” to my kids while my wife teaches classes. My daughter was on TV before she was two years old, when we were part of a crowd scene checking out a local music festival. Before she was 3, she’d seen Less Than Jake (back when you could still catch them in town, and for free no less). Prominent words in my two-year-old son’s small (but growing daily) vocabulary include “guitar,” “song,” and “beer.” Heh heh. A photo of the three of us is scheduled to run, with an article on “punk parents,” in the next issue of Ten Things , a Seattle punk zine of some national renown.

Read that Who’s Who bio again. Under “publications.” Those aren’t law review articles. They’re tapes the local bands I have been in have released. And that Ovation guitar that gets played in church, it’s an acoustic, or at least an acoustic-electric, right? Nope. Solid-body electric. Sky blue, with a funky non-traditional body style to boot. It’s also been played in several punk rock bands, along with a couple Telecasters, a Strat, a Duo-Sonic, and a Precision Bass.

Possibly more people know me as “Brian Krashpad” than know me by my “real” name. I’m usually the oldest person in the clubs I go to and play at. The next oldest member of Crash Pad is eleven years younger than me. I’m not sure whether our drummer has turned twenty. And I have written for this wonderful mag you’re currently reading for many years, as well as schlepping all the Gainesville copies to distro points all over town most every month as well.

The point is, my age is more or less ir-freaking-relevant to who I am and how I choose to live. In many ways, I am luckier than most in having these sorts of choices to make in the first place, but everybody has at least a little leeway in such matters. You do not have to turn 30, or even 40, and stop listening to punk rock. Of course, you shouldn’t be listening to it in the first place if you don’t really like it but are just doing it for “punk points.” So if you’re twenty-something and listening to whatever form of music that is de rigeur for the moment just because it is such, ask yourself whether you think you’ll still listen to it in 20 years. If the answer is “no” then save yourself a lot of time and just stop now.

Don’t take this for advice on how to avoid “personal growth,” either, although the author may strike you as a sad case of arrested development. I’m a lot different now than I was 20 years ago. After a 14-year old from down the street rolled up on her bike and asked for an autograph (!) because she’d heard a band practice in my garage, and with my own kids learning to read, the beer labels on my equipment cases are slowly being replaced by band stickers. I listen to lots of different kinds of music that I simply never had previous exposure to. And I truly enjoy being a husband and a dad. Even though I had to start thinking about stuff like mortgages and life insurance. Most people do. That doesn’t mean the person inside is any different than the twenty-something you may be.

So the next time you’re in a club in Gainesville and a punk rock band is playing, there’s a decent chance I may be there. Maybe on-stage. Stop by and say hi. I’ll be easy to spot. I’m the old guy.

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