It's like my grandfather always told me: Mike, when life hands you Lemons, ask for a paternity test.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Music Project: "18 and Life" by Skid Row

The Fantastically Mediocre Life of Gary

“There’s a paper jam in the copy machine again.”

The disembodied voice penetrated the cubicle wall but reached only Gary’s ears. Slowly he arises from his ergonomically made chair and exits his cluttered work area into the microcosm that is SubStandard Insurance (It’s for the people!). He goes to work on the enjambment but his mind is not in the work no it is back on a picture he happened upon on Facebook which Jake his high school friend posted and tagged from my “glory days.” This was when I had hair, luxurious locks that graced my shoulders and hid the pockmarks. I was damn hard, and all the chicks digged me and Ricky. Jake, not so much. I remember my first tape; it was Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast. This was before Nirvana destroyed my music, before I knocked Charlotte up with our first kid. Gary, how’s that jam coming? It’s coming, sir. I’m almost done. He focuses on the task, but how can I concentrate when my life’s in the shits? I wasn’t ready to be a father at eighteen, and I’ve been here ever since, scratching a life for an ungrateful family. Why can’t you make more, Gerald? She only calls me Gerald when she’s pissed. Lately she’s been that. The kids aren’t much better. They won’t even talk to me; they’re ashamed of me, the minivan, the small house we rent out because I can’t afford better. I try talking, but they just put those damn earbuds in and tune out. Gary, I have customers waiting for estimates; could you hurry up just a teeny bit? Well Carol, this jam is pretty big. You’re going to need professional help. You are the profess… No, not anymore. I need help. Gary? Gary, why are you shaking?

1 comment:

  1. Gary reminded me of Bob Parr from the movie The Incredibles, minus the shiny gloss of Disney/Pixar. Gary struck me as a sort of new-age tragic Everyman. I loved the kids with the earbuds, the monotony of the copy machine and the lousy 9-to-5, the music and the hair of the glory days. I also appreciated that you didn't try to retell the story already implicit in the original song, but took it to another place, took the rough kid who had adulthood thrust upon him too early into his adult life.

    The only thing that threw me off was the change in voice from third to first. I preferred first. :)