Rich Cicci

WILDLY FRUSTRATED: When the hell did I get old?

WILDLY FRUSTRATED: When the hell did I get old?
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Last year, I turned 30. I still felt like I had the pep and vigor I had in previous years. I’d go to concerts, movie premiers, and I’d constantly hang out with friends anywhere and everywhere. Actually, none of that has changed since turning 31 a few months ago. And yet something is very different. I don’t see the world as I once did. I think… I may have gotten “old.” When the hell did that happen?!

When I look at certain people in their late teens and early 20s, I do so with a disdain, muttering words like “dumbass(es)” and phrases like “damn kids and their [insert interest or whatever here]” as if I’m Red Forman from “That ‘70s Show.” I guess it comes down to the understanding of things, or rather a lack thereof. To quote the great Abraham Jay-Jedediah Simpson II, “I used to be ‘with it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m ‘with’ isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you!”

Music isn’t what it used to be for me. Yes, there are still bands that have been creating great tunes for ages and show no signs of stopping. NOFX, Pennywise, Less Than Jake, Bad Religion, and The Bouncing Souls are just a short list of bands that are still going strong. I mention those bands because they were mainstays on the Warped Tour for years! I recently saw this year’s Warped Tour lineup for their Scranton stop and, out of all the acts slated to play this multi-stage event, there are only three bands that I’ve heard of! Worse yet, out of those three (H2O, Motion City Soundtrack, and Black Veil Brides), I’ve only heard and listened to H2O, and that was years ago!

A tour that was built on punk rock, mosh pits, and skateboarding has somehow mutated into one filled with emo-core melodrama, tight jeans, and an overabundance of post-millennial marketing. I don’t know if it’s the promoters’ decision, the music scene in general, or if one perpetuates the other, but it certainly isn’t the Warped Tour I remember. Then there’s the cost of tickets. You used to be able to attend Warped Tour for $25-$30; now you’re lucky if you’re only paying $65 after surcharges. That’s nuts! What happened, Warped Tour? Why has something that I once loved and stood up for changed so goddamn much? Is it possible that the premiere punk rock tour may have sold out? For shame! Yeah, you’re totally being scolded. Deal with it!

Clothing is another thing that has confused me recently. And yes, assholes, I still remember how to put pants on – you jump into both legs with reckless abandon! If you are still standing afterwards, you’re left knowing it’ll be a good fucking day! Anyway, “fashion” is beyond me; it always has been and it always will be. I don’t get skinny jeans on guys. I’ll never understand it. Jeans don’t have to be so loose that they are hanging below one’s ass, but they should be loose enough to give “Jimmy and the twins” some breathing room! If you have to strain yourself to get into them and then use a sturdy pair of pliers to work the damn zipper up, that is far too much exertion to start a day.

Moving up the torso, what is going on with male skate fashion? Since when did functional clothing turn into $25 designer tank tops and $40 graphic tees for the sake of “fashion” and “style?” Jesus, bring back $20 graphic tees, simplistic and functional skateshoes, and stop pandering to useless hipsters! I walked by PacSun the other day with a buddy and a Darth Vader display beckoned to us. In front of the display, there was a selection from a new clothing line featuring “Star Wars.” Cool, right? Nope! There was a baseball jersey-looking thing with an all-over print of Stormtrooper helmets on it. Next to that was a slim tank top with more all-over prints, but this time it was Vader. Personally speaking, the entire “fashion line” felt wrong. It’s overpriced, dumb-looking clothing that is made by people who don’t understand the source material of the images they are putting on their product and are aiming it at people who aren’t among that source’s fan base!

A nice salesclerk asked if we needed any help as we were there staring at the table of clothes. I told her that the Dark Side is quite alluring, but we were just browsing. She stared blankly at me with a face one normally sees a cat make when it gazes upon you with confusion or contempt. Seriously?! Are my jokes and references failing me now too? No. That can’t be. That’s impossible! See what I mean? That line would’ve at least elicited a chuckle among my friends. However, with that salesclerk, my joke went over like a fart in church.

I guess what really chaps my ass about all of this is that something that I once loved has forgotten me. I feel lapped, as it were – although that should be a familiar experience for me. Perhaps I’m not old, though. Maybe I’m merely too old for Warped Tour. It could be the case that I’ve just matured and outgrown the show and what it stands for presently. As for “fashion” and “style,” I still don’t have a damn clue about that garbage! Honest to God, it just boggles my mind. I’d rather be comfortable than look cool.

Now I am going to do something “old people” do all the time. I’m gonna blame the kids, but I’m doing so indirectly! So let me give it a shot – stop indulging them! Yes, it’s the kids and tweens who have your focus now, people who sell products and brands, but we (adults) are making the money! Yes, their parents are giving them the money that’s being spent on your dumb shit. If these parents are OK with their earnings being spent on overpriced Warped Tour tickets or stupid-looking clothing so their kids can look trendy, then that’s their own damn fault! I just know that we have a voice, too, damn it!

Personally speaking, I may not be with “it” anymore, but for fuck’s sake, I am still with “something.” Fuck “it” and forget “it!” I am officially over whatever the hell “it” is, was, or ever has been! Perhaps that’s what it is to be older, but not necessarily old – to see through the bullshit better at my 31 years than I did in my early 20s. In that regard, I’m totally OK with that even if I have to outgrow, or lose touch with, things that I once understood.

Damn kids.

Wildly Frustrated is a recurring column that takes a lighthearted look at rage-inducing and blood-boiling topics focusing on, or surrounding, various forms of entertainment, media, and possibly the world around us. It’s unleashed on Thursdays on NEPA Scene.

  • JerTobin

    Rich, you almost hit the nail on the head towards the end of the article. You don’t get “too old” in an absolute sense, you get “too old to fall into the age range of the naive demographic who yearn to spend money to prove they are with it.”. At that point, you’re forgotten, and all the things you were into and which were hip are no longer hip because the people in those bands age, and therefore aren’t hip anymore to the young consumers. Youth is king in our society, as is the money the youth are willing to spend to affirm their youth and want to be associated with youth.

    This is why “good” aging bands like Rolling Stones and Aerosmith and such do not have a large youth base. At some point, millions of teens worldwide were in love with them. At some point the youth in their fanbase slows down immensely. it’s not because there’s something in the water that causes younger people to be born with different tastes in music, it’s marketing telling the youth that age is unhip, this your parent’s music, you want the new music by young kids!

    Marketing deems age not as something cool because you’re filled with experience and wisdom, but worthless because you now have wrinkles and grey hair. We are a superficial society. You could easily sway people in this society to revere older people and see the youth to be dumb for example, just like you could probably get people to think ice cream is for losers if you tried hard enough, but why change what isn’t broken?

    Consider also that our overlords who churn along our culture (Marketing masterminds behind the popular corporations) know that there’s a certain age range that people fall into where they are at the height of both pop culture consumption, and feeling a need to differentiate themselves from the older , uncool people, and these people will spend the money while they still have that differentiating drive more so than older people who end up coalescing into the fold and stop spending the money like younger folk do.

    Practically everyone fights to not become old.. And I mean old in terms if what pop culture deems to be old. We struggle to never become our “uncool” parents, but we will, because our overlords will forget about us and send us out to pasture to make room on the farm for the new generation of cash cows.