All the reminiscing about the “good” old days lately has set my thoughts wandering into some weird and uncomfortable territory. Dredge a stagnant pool and all manner of stink is going to surface. In my case, it’s a lot of painfully embarrassing crap reeking of ancient regret. It’s stuff had been resolved — for better or for worse — a quarter century ago, yet still aches when prodded.
It’s not a huge deal, and there are still some lessons to be learned by revisiting these experiences. The process began, after all, when I had to rehash my personal history as part of the pre-adoption process. A heightened awareness of my own adolescent traumas will be invaluable in approaching those of a kid who has gone through similar ones.
Some of these rekindled embarrassments have been more goofy than horrifying in nature, like “was my punk rock style sufficiently cool?”
I didn’t have an extended peer group in the subculture. The folks I did hang with tended to be of the same DIY reverse-engineered mindset, where you threw together or tried to replicate bits and bobs gleaned from various conflicting sources. In hindsight, that was probably truer to the original punk spirit than falling behind some established script, but I never managed to pull off the look I actually wanted — especially on the hair front, where I really wanted to copy the shaved sides and long forelock sported by Carter USM’s Jim Bob. (No barber understood what I meant and no friend felt confident enough with a razor to make it happen.)
I find myself wondering if I looked sufficiently outlandish. Did I truly convey a proper rejection of prevailing norms? It shouldn’t bother me, but it does.
And then I flip through the 1990 JC Penny catalog and all my doubts are instantly dispelled.