Steve Wiley is Jackalope Ranch's Parent Hood. He's a slightly unorthodox father of five who will weigh in weekly with his mildly-rebellious views and observations. If you'd like to see how he came to write this column, watch the intro video. This week he admits to a few things he should have grown out of by now ... and probably never will.
Common theory would be that I have spent my last 25 years in record stores because I love music. It's unequivocally true, music is way up the ladder of loves for me. But the very close, second-place motivational factor to forging a career as the Record Store Geek (my other "persona," because God forbid I could just write as Steve Wiley) was the ability to carry on like a teenager.
The music industry does have some adults, but those are the record company suits that have been fucking it up for years. The really passionate ones -- the ones that found rock and roll and all its delicious trappings in their youth and then had a hard time growing out of it (other than the musicians, who are the ultimate dream-chasers) -- are the record store geeks like me.
When we closed Hoodlums in September, there was probably some hope among some of my loved ones that I'd turn away from my extended childhood and get a real job. But it turns out the prolonged phase had nothing to do with the record store, or the music industry. The phase was me. Instead of growing up, I found another job that would allow me to carry on my stunted growth: Writing.
So why not celebrate this realization in this week's Parent Hood? Presenting: "Seven Things I Should Have Grown Out of By Now".
7. Dressing like a teenager. By far the most phenomenal thing about working in record stores was the ability to dress the way I want -- just like when I was a teenager. T-shirts, jeans, sneakers, and shorts are comfortable. Suits, slacks, button-up shirts, and dress shoes are not. When mentally factoring in my "compensation package" as a record store owner/manager, I added on about $5K per year just to not have to wear uncomfortable clothes.
6. Eating peanut butter from the jar. There was a period in my 20s when I didn't eat peanut butter at all. I'd burned out on it during my tween and teenage years, but the burn out didn't last long once the kids showed up. A snip here and a snip there, and the next thing you know I'm having a party with the whole jar (and honey or jelly ... you didn't think I was eating it straight, did you?). See also: ice cream from the carton.
5. Teen Movies. Luckily, my teenage years were excellent. I'm sure Freud would say I was stuck there as a result. However, try as I might, the realities of being an adult do creep into my life here and again. When that happens, I draw upon my big ol' collection of teen movies. I'm not just talking Breakfast Club, I mean deeper gems like Three O'Clock High. All eras, all genres. I love those kids.
4. Air Guitar on the Steering Wheel. Actually, I'm a one-man air band, but the place I really adore my own spotlight is when I'm playing air guitar while driving. Luckily in a big city, I'm sort of invisible in my car, but I have no doubt that a Tempe friend or two have seen me spazz on by while jamming on one of thousands of solos that I think I have mastered.
3. Catching a buzz. The methods may have changed, and for sure I've added the concept of moderation, but I still like to take the edge off just as much now as when I was young. I don't know how it is out there in the rest of the Valley, but here in Tempe I'm not the only one. We know how to take a good attitude and make it better.
2. Teasing my little brother and sister. I am a firm believer that most of the smart-ass side of my personality (maybe "side" isn't the right word, more like "majority") comes from my role as an older brother. In those days, there was nothing like getting a reaction out of my younger sibs. And it still holds true today. My brother's name is David, but he doesn't mind if you call him Dave. What he doesn't like is to be called "Davey". That's partly because I used to say Davey in a drawled-out Scooby Doo/Astro voice, just to get under his skin, and it worked like a charm. Now that we are adults, I don't use the voice anymore, but a look at my phone screen (right) reveals one simple fact: I'm still Davey's big brother.
1. Seeing breasts in the movies. I'm not searching 'em out. I'm not building a website like those guys in Knocked Up. I'm not watching crappy movies all the way through just to see 'em (I didn't do that at any age). But I still enjoy seeing a fine set of actual breasts on a movie star. Judging from the amount of hits on that Jackalope's "The Five (or 10) Best Breasts on Movie Stars ... NSFW" blog, I'm not the only one.
Bonus: Swearing. You may have noticed this earlier in the column. Or you may read last week's column, A Profanity Lesson with Frank Zappa and Grandma. The bottom line is that while my vocabulary has increased over the years, and I try to state all my thoughts as clearly as possible, I just don't talk like a respectable adult. The hell with 'em if they don't like it -- adults never did understand us psuedo-teenagers.
I could have easily doubled this list, but I've got to go get involved in whatever games my kids are playing. We'll all have fun, fun, fun until our Daddy takes our T-bird away.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.