One of the added benefits of going to a concert, especially a 80s band concert is people watching. People tend to get drunk at these concerts, sloppy drunk. At 80s hair band concerts people get old people sloppy drunk.
What’s wrong with my generation? We tease our thinning hair, squeeze into spanx and heels that our arthritis can barely bear to go watch old men who tease their hair, squeeze into spanx and heels that their arthritis can barely bear to sing songs for us that are 3 decades old. The lyrics are nonsensical but the beat is energtic. We gather in large arenas and scream sing “pour some sugar on me!” with thousands of others just like us. We joyfully dance horribly with strangers while secretly judging each other’s cottage cheese thighs (because some of us still think we can pull off a short skirt), saggy chins and saggy other things. We take notice of each others fake parts, missing parts or parts that should be in better working order. We stay out past out bedtime to listen to a band that is way past its expiration date.
The first time I heard Def Leppard was the 7th grade. I went to my friend Missy’s house after school to lay out in the sun in her back yard while she did everything possible to get the attention of the boy next door. Her attention ploy included putting in the Pyromania tape and cranking up ‘Rock of Ages’. I remember singing ‘Photograph’ on the track bus with Barb and dancing around Mary’s pool table to Def Leppard as we got ready to go to a football game. We sang along on the radio with Styx, Chicago and Foreigner. We fell madly in love with Prince and wanted to look like Madonna. We listened on the radio because there was no such thing as iTunes or CDs. Music brings back memories of when my sister and I listened to Q102 and played with barbi dolls. We dreamed of becoming rock stars or married to rock stars. Their music is our link to the past. I gives us a quantum leap back in time.
There is something wrong with my generation. Or is there?
Why do people in my generation make such drunken fools of themselves at hair band concerts? Why do we, while complaining about technology, use an iPad and a Bluetooth speaker to dance around the office singing every Prince song we know even the inappropriate ones, much to the dismay of younger coworkers. Why? Because we earned it. We are the last adult generation to live in a time when Americans were safe on our soil. It was a time before 9/11 and before a handful of terrorist changed the entire course of our nation. It was a time before school shootings. It was a time before public beheadings and play-by-play live coverage of global disasters. It was a time before making life altering mistakes and a time before mistakes were facebooked, tweeted and instagramed. It was a time before AIDS killed millions. It was a time before Monsanto and GMOs, when food was well, just food. It was a time when our nations leaders were respectable men who earned their title with hard work and dedication to the people. It was a time when we sat on our porches in the evenings because not everyone had air conditioning and no one had more than 7 or 8 channels on TV. Neighbor’s talked to each other and people weren’t self-centered assholes. It was a time when my parents were still alive and I wasn’t the oldest person in my family. A time before we even knew what heroin was. A time before funerals. A time where I could have written and read this with out 325 strength reading glasses. A time before responsibilities and disappointments. A time before I walked like I was drunk without drinking a drop because my hips hurt. It was a time when my muscles were like rubber bands and my hair like silk. It was a time before cry baby emo music of the 90s. It was a time when we worked for what we had and waited for what we wanted. The only things instant I knew were pudding and hair perms.
The world that my generation experienced prior to 9/11 no longer exists other than inside our heads, in memories. My children barely remember and the children younger than them have no frame of reference. Because we hold it in our hearts we don’t understand that people under 30 have no idea what we knew. It would be like describing a color or smell to them. They have never known this world to be the lovely place that it was. My generation got to frolic in safety and revel in false security. We can hope all we want but that world is never coming back.
So what is wrong with my generation? We have had to say good bye to much of what made us a strong nation. We have buried dignity and have mourned the loss of community. We have said our adieu to innocence. Generation X had to X off such nice things of the world. Our generation wasn’t perfect and we had our share of crap but these 30 years have been hard on us. There has been more and quick change in these 30 years than in the last 100. We still have cancer and diabetes but by golly we have a phone that does everything including assisting me in this blog. The bad things still taunt us and the good things are long gone.
For a few moments in these arenas, I can go back to that time. A time that no longer is. I raise my glass to my generation X. Tease that hair and squeeze into those jeans. Fall down drunk at a rock concert if you need to. Let us be accused of holding on to the past and trying to relive high school. Hell yes we are. I will hold onto what was ours as long as I can and try to tell my grandkids what it was like in my generation. I will close my eyes and sing lyrics that have lived in my memory for as long as the world was a grand place for me. A new generation of young followers are coming to these concerts. They know we have something rare and magical. They want a piece of our past. Long live rock and roll!
I pretend to go to these events because my husband wants to but the truth is, I do too. I suppose it is fitting for me that I became emotional in the middle of a Def Leppard Concert during the song Hysteria.
Our evening ended like this….
Me: “Def Leppard makes me nostalgic”.
Dave: “Def Leppard makes you lethargic?”
There is nothing wrong with us. We are just beat up, worn down and we know of a better day.