Parenting Blog

You’re Never Too Old

It had to be in the fall. The year? That I know for certain: 1993. I was 17.

I had graduated, barely, from my college prep high school back in the spring and was now the only one out of an 82 man graduating class not sitting in a college classroom. I was working instead, in retail, wearing mandatory khakis and a polo shirt the color of swimming pool water after a winter of neglect. ‘Twas the kind of job you take after spending the last 12 years in the school system only to emerge without a single clue as to what your future should look like. This kind of low level employment provided me with baseball card money and cash for many a chicken cordon blue sandwich at Burger King. That was enough at the time. It is also the kind of job a 17-year-old kid will occasionally call out sick from without being, you know, sick. I swear I didn’t do this often mom, but on one of the days I did play hookie from the daily grind of stocking shelves and lingering at the snack bar with my buddy, I saw a music video that changed my life forever. It wasn’t on MTV. The video was shown on the short-lived pay-per-view cable music station called The Box. I wish I knew who ordered it. They unknowingly played a role in shaping the remainder of my life. Everything matters, people. Everything.

I am fond of reflecting back on near misses, on the fate behind events that shaped me. That I called out sick, that I happened to be in front of the TV (okay, that was extremely likely back then, but still), and that I turned on The Box at the exact moment The Afghan Whigs’ “Debonair” video began to play was about as luckily-formative as anything before or since. My indie life started right there, ironically with a song from a semi-legendary cult band’s major label debut.

New music isn’t supposed to impact you past the age of 36. Or so said some study I heard about once. It went on to say that the music in your library at that age is the music that will make up your library for the rest of your days. From what I have seen and heard of people at or near my age, this theory is awfully close to true. Musical discovery does seem to cease in the middle 30’s if not sooner, and the music of your youth becomes the soundtrack too of your future. Fortunately for me, that is not the case. I am still on the search for music old and music new. And like The Afghan Whigs on The Box on that fateful fake sick day 20 years ago, destiny has intervened again, this time on Facebook.

You don’t often get a 2nd chance to fall in love, but I’m so glad I did with Frank Turner. Bill Childs had posted a video of Turner’s last year which I watched and enjoyed but took no further action. He posted another earlier this year, the one below, and my life has been altered once again. The lines of communication with the angry yet hopeful boy inside me have been opened thanks to the “guitar, drums, and desperate poetry” of the british punk folkster. And while I discovered and enjoyed The Afghan Whigs alone, my love of Frank Turner is being shared with my wife and my daughters, which makes it 200% better. I took my oldest girl out of school last Friday to see Turner play a free mid-day show broadcast on the radio (meaning no cursing) and then the wifey and I were out until 1am screaming along with him in Philly later that evening. We were drenched with sweat, voices scratchy, and loving every damn minute of it.

You are never too old to fall in love. To be moved. To feel inspired. To cut & paste lyrics into texts sent to the ones you hold most dear in the world. Or to bounce around with a fist in the air shout-singing along with every.single.word.

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