Posted by jdg | Wednesday, June 10, 2009

For the second time in a week I found myself this morning in the difficult position of explaining the concept of a 'douchebag' to a Gallic audience. Quel est le problème avec un sac pour la douche? I heard the lovely French visitor ask her friend. "You know," I say, "Like with a spray-on tan. . .or frosted tips?" Veut-il dire l'homosexuel? Oh, never mind.

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I stopped in an Ann Arbor record store after doing the u-pick strawberry thing yesterday. I like this one because I can usually put the baby down to crawl all over the owner's mild-mannered black lab while I thumb through records and pretend I remember what it feels like to care about something other than the purported merits of child leashing. My son had so much strawberry juice streaking down his jowls he looked like a chupacabra freshly yanked from a goat carcass. The dog felt sorry for me and decided to make me look like a better parent by licking the juice off my son's face and I was all, What up, dog! giving him a heartfelt thumbs up.

The record store was crawling with college-aged hipsters and I had no business being in there. It has been many months since I even looked at any of the music websites I used to spend whole workdays reading before kids, scouring the net for much-ballyhooed upcoming releases and trying to schedule as many live shows into every week as possible. I don't have a demonoid account. I don't even know where to begin illegally downloading music anymore. So instead I buy Check Your Head on 180-gram vinyl, drop the needle, and lose myself in the soundtrack of my fifteenth year on earth.

In the record store, I gingerly clutched a couple re-issues of beloved old albums, and some hipster holding the new Dirty Projectors record looked at the vinyl in my hand like I was waving around my wife's dripping placenta. You'd better watch out, pal, I thought. Don't ever lose your sense of irony or fall in love and become enslaved by biological imperative. Keep smoking your American Spirits and wearing those sperm-killing jeans and maybe you'll get lucky and die a poetic death before fate ever transforms you into a sad sap with strawberry juice all over his t-shirt buying an album released before you were born. Then I brought my reissues up to the counter and faced that character even more intimidating than the judgmental-aisle hipster: the record store clerk, whose job-mandated scrutiny of your purchases is flavored by minimum-wage bitterness and followed by guffaws indicating failure, or, if you are deemed worthy, a gruff, "That album's pretty decent."

But this guys says to me, Do you still have any use for CDs, buddy?

Not really, I reply. I'm trying to replace my old CD collection with vinyl.

Oh well, he says. I have all these promo Dave Matthew CDs, thought you might want one.

Just then a flaming minivan pulled by hellhounds clatters into the store and a dozen shrieking hellwraiths wearing pleated khaki pants and tucked-in polo shirts grab me by each of my limbs and drag me screaming and howling into the everlasting hellfire engulfing their Town & Country which then drives into a vortex of writhing sinners venting the cackles of Moloch in Pandaemonium and the barking of hellhounds returning to the womb of sin to gnaw at her entrails. . .

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There are more French visitors coming next week. Apparently the French appreciate me, the same way they like Jerry Lewis and the parts of animals that no one else wants to eat. I prefer to think they just get me, except, that is, when I'm trying to explain what a 'douchebag' is. Next time, I'll know just to point at myself with both forefingers, up and down, and say:


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Sandisk just bought a bunch of ads on this site and sent me one of their tiny new slot radio music players to give away. Apparently it comes preprogrammed with 1000 handpicked songs in prearranged playlists so you never have to bother with record stores or downloads or iTunes. You might just find out what the kids are listening to these days. I will give it away randomly to anyone who comments on this post and announce the winner on Friday (for father's day). No comment requirements, but feel free to correct my French or call me un sac de douche vaginale.

Warning: anyone who defends a certain musician whose name rhymes with Gave Dad Snooze will be immediately disqualified (It still stings, you see).