Friend of the Devil

by

For Christmas, 11 got an iPod. He had his older half-brother download some songs on it for him. He did the same thing for 9, who got a PSP. To my utter ignorance, you can download music to portable game playing devices. I decided as a semi-responsible step-parent, that I should investigate the types of music the kids are listening to. The Mrs. had laid down an edict about “No Rap” on the iPod and the PSP she had shelled out top dollar for.

When 11 started throwing a fit and saying that we could just return the iPod, I knew something was up. Although not a fan of the rap, I have no problem with profanity. As some of you may have gathered by now. Let me tell you, the shit I heard on the kid’s goddamn iPod blew my fucking mind.

 

Coke and rum
Got weed on the ton
I’m bangin with my hand up her dress like, unh
I’ll make her cum, purple haze in my lungs
Whole gang in the front in case a nigga wanna, stunt

 

or

 

so gone and pack dem bags
and lets mothafuckin go
im waitin on yo fine ass
at da front doe
gurl you don kno
ima toss da laffy taffy
toss it flip it and slap it
bust a couple of nuts
and get right back at it

 

and, of course

 

Before I leave the house, i’m slizzard on a goose,
And i’m higher then a plane, so a nigga really loose,
And I can lean wit it, and I can rock wit it,
And if u gotta friend, she gotta suck a cock wit it!

 

I have no problem with those lyrics except that a nine year old child doesn’t need to hear it. After the parental outrage subsided a little, I realized I had turned into my dad.

 

In the early 1980’s, the Sarcastro Family were quite a bit more religious than they are now. There was a lot of 700 Club on the television in our house, if that tells you anything. As the folks were trying to raise us up right, they took a couple of wrong turns. Parents do the best they can with the information available. Kind of like going to war in Iraq. There was a lot of bad intelligence back then about how the rock and roll was a Tool of Satantm. I never really bought into it as it seemed, well, fucking stupid. Although, playing records backwards looking for hidden messages seemed really cool for about ten minutes.

 

The old man was convinced that MTV was pure evil. He turned out to be right, just not in the way he thought. One night, he came upstairs and there was a clip of a Van Halen concert on. “This is just as bad as being at a rock concert!”, he bellowed without a shred of logic or reality to back him up.

 

If I were as wise as I am now, I would have patiently explained that our house was far from being a rock venue. That the den of sin a rock concert represented had more to do with unsupervised teens having access to drugs and liquor than it had to do with the music and images on the idiot box. Instead, I quipped, “Well, if this is as bad as being at a concert, let’s fire up a joint!”

 

My sixteen year old sarcasm had not yet found an appreciative audience as he proclaimed that from now on, there would be no MTV in the house. Consequences would ensue. “Yeah, right. Whaddya gonna do? Get rid of cable?”

 

So, the next Sunday that I was able to skip out of church, I was kicking back on the couch, eating some cereal, watching some MTV. The folks came home. Oh, shit.

 

What happened next, I will always remember like it happened yesterday. There on the screen was the video for Black Coffee in Bed by the great English band Squeeze. I had it blaring out of our gigantic 32″ television. The folks walked in and I made no effort to change the channel. My motto has always been, “If you act like you are doing something wrong, people will assume you are doing something wrong.” Or something like that. So, I acted as nonchalant as possible.

 

“What is this?”, Dad asked with great suspicion.

 

“I dunno. Something on TV.”

 

“IS THIS MTV?”

 

“Uhhh….”

 

With that, he walked over to the television and ripped out the converter box from the wall and back of the set. He then stomped upstairs and removed the converter box from their bedroom. When he came back down, he announced that thanks to me, we would no longer have cable television in the house. “How do you like that, smart-guy? No more cable!”

 

“I guess this means no more 700 Club. Darn.”

 

The folks didn’t get cable hooked back up until I went off to college.

 

Back in the present, I erased all the music on 9’s PSP. The next to go on the chopping block was 11’s iPod. His reprieve came from a friend of his, whose mother who had called to discuss whatever kid’s moms discuss with each other. The conversation turned to the music the kid’s listen to. She mentioned a download site that you could find clean versions and radio-friendly versions of the popular songs the kids like. All the same beats without all the muthafuckas.

 

So we went upstairs and paid the fee for one year of unlimited downloads. We erased all the songs with the exception of Weird Al’s White and Nerdy. Which, if that isn’t the theme song for 11, I don’t know what is. He downloaded the songs he wanted. All ten of them. Which he will listen to over and over again, until something new comes out that he likes or that all the other middle school kids deem as “cool”.

Meanwhile, I’ve downloaded like thirty songs, so far. What was the first song I downloaded? This one:

 

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16 Responses to “Friend of the Devil”

  1. Kathy T. Says:

    Sorry to sound like I’m down on your Dad, but I don’t get how Squeeze is bad. I guess it was guilt by association with MTV. My 11-year old loves rap. I can’t stomach it.

  2. Nashville Knucklehead Says:

    What is this site with unlimited downloads for a nominal fee?And what is your username and password?

  3. Exador Says:

    You are SO lucky you’re not having a little girl.Just when I thought you couldn’t be any more of the whitest man in America.I can’t wait until I can visit and be a bad influence. I’ve got the eccentric-uncle-from-out-of-town thing down to a science. That being said, I wouldn’t let my kids listen to that shit, either.

  4. Evenson! Says:

    "The old man was convinced that MTV was pure evil. He turned out to be right, just not in the way he thought."You are cracking up my shit.

  5. john h Says:

    man, I miss Squeeze. Not that THAT is the point of the post. Actually you have unleashed a torrent of memory bits here. My mom confiscating my record collection when she heard ABOUT Louie Louie (not that anyone actually understood any of the lyrics…I was really disappointed when I finally read the lyrics..the line I heard as ‘I felt my bone in her hair’ was actually ‘I smelled the roses in her hair’). My collection got confiscated roughly twice a year, with the crescendo of confiscation during the ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ era.The ‘dirty’ lyrics and double entendres of the past seem pretty quaint compared to the lyrics you posted above. It really blows at first when we have to turn into our own dads, but sometimes you realize that at least part of their nonsense was actually love (of course, pulling the cable out was punishing a whole lot more of the family than just you).My smart-assery during my teen years was not as funny as yours, but I’m suspecting it met with the same lack of applause and appreciation.

  6. Ginger Says:

    geez, I’m locking Amanda in her room until she’s 18.I totally bought in to the whole Tool of Satan(tm ) bullshit. I actually broke my AC/DC "Back in Black" VINYL album, for which I beat myself about the back everyday for…That thing would be worth something now…I was so naive.

  7. Scott Smith Says:

    "The stain on my notebook remains all that’s left."If you never got to see them live, track down one of the live recordings of that song. Glenn Tilbrook said he didn’t know why they recorded it as a dirge, but they played it much faster (and bettter) in concert.You might not want it on your kid’s iPod, but Tilbrook’s last solo album included a wonderful song called "Hot Shaved Asian Teens." Worth a listen for any Squeeze fan.

  8. Sarcastro Says:

    Hot Shaved Asian Teens?I think there’s an email around here somewhere with that subject line.

  9. SistaSmiff Says:

    Your dad sounds as bad as mine was. He took our Back In Black album away when he found out there was a song on it called "Hells Bells." That ain’t no lie. Luckily, my kids don’t listen to rap, but, I’ve taken a totally different approach to parenting when it comes to music and stuff. I basically let them do their thing when it comes to music. Call me Mother of the Year. Course, mine are a little older than yours.

  10. john h Says:

    one of our greatest pleasures on car trips was MAKING the kids play their rap mixes on the car CD/tape player. We always gave them two ‘mo-fo’s (i’m bowdlerizing here) and we had next to zero tolerance for ‘bitches and/or ho’s. Needless to say, we skipped a LOT of tracks.

  11. Mack Says:

    My dad liked to play the drums. So, for much of my young life, I had to listen to him play along to Herb Alpert and the tijuana brass. Eventually, i grew to appreciate that music. He never developed any love for mine, which was shaped by my older brother and sister’s collection of albums. Back then, there was no way to make music portable. We had a state of the art reel to reel, and i remember making "mixes" and then using our old movie camera, and making music videos long before MTV was around. I often wondered what would have happened if my dad had been more supportive of that interest…perhaps i would be taping shows from the beach, surrounded by 17 yr olds in thong bikinis who desperately want to be in a rock video. Sigh.I played alot of Steely Dan around the house when my kids were small, and alot of DaDa, so they like rock, and they like whatever one would call Steely Dan’s music, (help?) They loathe rap, though i still pop in "Straight outa Compton" once in a while when i’m home alone. I knew a guy with a voice just like Easy E’s. I guess i’m lucky, the other day my 9 yr old was listening to Neil Young’s "Every Man needs a maid." The 10 yr old had B-52"s going full blast. i can live with that.

  12. saraclark Says:

    Ha Ha. This makes me think of when my cousin brought his new AC/DC album over to my house and we huddled in my room listening to "Big Balls" play very quietly on my record player while we giggled. My Mom was clueless about the words, while my Dad told me not to sing them outloud.There wasn’t any censorship at our house, but we were supposed to be considerate of others and not play obnoxious music with my parents in the car. It worked out pretty well, since I found their music obnoxious too.

  13. Scott Smith Says:

    My dad learned to like Queen and Pink Floyd. Even bought some of their records after I moved out. Imagine your father singing Fat Bottomed Girls and you’ll have an idea of how surreal my life was. My mother once heard me listening to Frank Zappa’s "Shiek Yerbouti" and asked if I understood what he was singing about. (Sample lyrics: "I can take about an hour on the tower of power as long as I gets a little golden shower." Or more direct, "I’m gonna ram it, ram it, ram it, ram it up your poop chute.") I said yes, she shrugged and said okay.

  14. Bill Fisher Says:

    Scene: South Florida, 1971, Sunday morning[A family–Mom, Dad, and two young boys–is driving home from church. The radio is playing. "Come Together" by the Beatles begins to play.]Dad: What do you call that?Boys [in unison]: Music! The Beatles!Dad: If you say so.

  15. newscoma Says:

    My parents let me see The Exorcist when I was 9 years old.After that, they took the rest of the night as I sat in a catatonic state explaining there were things to adult for me at that age.Of course, music was different. We sang Bad, Bad Leroy Brown to the top of our lung because we like to sing Damn.They didn’t care, but there could be some explanation about my poor behavior now.P.S. Mack, The B52’s at top speed. Sweet.

  16. Jay Says:

    I guess listening to 2LiveCrew and NWA in middle school warped me forever.

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