See, I was NEVER cool.
I’m having serious computer issues today – and yes, the Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard – but as it happens, I have a semi-relevant flashback handy: It’s been 20 years since the April 3, 1990 concert at the Phantasy theatre in Lakewood, Ohio at which I utterly failed to be anything close to cool. (I actually wrote about this back in 2006, but hey, nothing like two decades’ passage for an excuse to revisit A Tale of Amazing Dorkness.)
My friend Erin and I had bought tickets over the phone. We borrowed a car and drove from Bowling Green, Ohio to the west side of Cleveland, where we saw Nine Inch Nails open for Peter Murphy. At that point, NIN was much more a regional draw, and I kept pointing out every natty-haired, leather-jacket-clad guy I saw and saying, “Look. There’s Trent Reznor.”
So, after the show, we’re leaving, and Erin says, “Look. There’s Trent Reznor.”
Good one, Erin, good one. Almost gotmebutholyCRAP it IS Trent Reznor, leaning up against a wall hanging out. So we say ‘hi,’ he signs our ticket stubs (don’t ask, I lost it years ago), we mention a tenuous friend-of-a-friend connection with his then-guitarist Richard Patrick, and then Trent asks if we want to come to the after-party.
And I can’t believe this, but we say no.
Oh, fine: I say no. This one’s totally on me, and I’ll cop to being a total wuss. My reason was that it was already midnight and Erin and I both had 8 a.m. classes and I had an exam the next morning and it was a two-and-a-half hour drive back to BG.
So we leave.
On the bright side, we get to the car and find that I’ve left the headlights on, and we needed a jump, so if we HAD gone to the party, the battery would not only have been dead, but it probably would’ve been pre-dawn-dark outside, and there certainly wouldn’t have been anyone around to give us a hand.
Yeah, that’s what I tell myself, even though it’s lame. Still, my wife and I will be at the grocery store sometimes, and see a checkout girl in her axle-grease-think eyeliner and purple-dyed hair and her hardcore metal/punk-band-of-the-week wristband and think, “She’s got no idea.”
I actually saw Trent Reznor later that year, in line for the Blue Streak at Cedar Point – the people I was with didn’t recognize him, but I went up and say ‘hi’ anyway, and again, he was pretty cheerful and ordinary, enjoying a summer day at the amusement park.
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