In my recent post about whether I was going through a mid-life crisis I mentioned that in a couple of weeks I was going to be going to my first metal show in a long time. This got me thinking. We have floor tickets for the show. General admission near the stage.
I know that once those base drums hit my old instincts might kick in and I will be tempted to once again get caught in a mosh (do they even call it that anymore?). But realizing that I am now over forty gives me a bit of a pause. Is it really such a good idea, in my condition, to be thrashing around with a bunch of teens and 20-somethings?
So I give you the top 10 reasons why moshing while 40 is probably a bad idea.
- The reflexes aren’t what they used to be.
When caught in a mosh, fists and boots and flying bodies are coming at you at lightning speed. At my current age would I survive if Big George, over on the right there, came flying off the stage and I didn’t notice until I was underneath him. That is in fact how Big George and I met (photo: Sam Black Church, Paradise, Boston, circa 1990). My younger self was able to get back up after my almost 300 lb friend did his flip off the stage. I don’t think I would peel as easily off the floor now.
2. We had manners back then.
The rule used to be that if anyone fell in the middle of a mosh pit it was your duty to help them back up. Pits were violent, but rules applied. If someone falls now does anyone even bother, or do they just keep dancing? Or worse yet, just keep recording the show on their phones?
3. I have work the next day.
How would I explain the bruises on my face to my students? And their parents once the calls start coming in? Talk about a post-show headache.
4. The hernia. And the shoulders. And the back.
Do surgical meshes have a chance of failing when kicked in the groin? If they do, then the chances of my guts actually falling out during the Slayer show are fairly high. I am also 4 months past a second shoulder surgery. The dance style I use in the pit requires a lot of windmilling. Would my repairs actually hold? Damn I’m old.
5. The only thing my kids know how to cook is rice and beans.
If I was to be put out of commission for an extended time, would I be able to tolerate a diet of nothing but rice and beans? Maybe I should teach them how to pan cook a steak and roast some potatoes before I head to the show.
6. I will embarrass my former student who is going to the show with me.
I have always said that embarrassing myself in front of my students is part of my job. A “we shouldn’t take life so seriously” sort of thing. However, embarrassing myself in front of my students in the classroom is one thing. Embarrassing a former student while out on the town might get a drink poured over my head. SO not metal.
7. I can’t see.
When I was younger I didn’t wear my glasses to the shows, and my eyesight was good enough that it didn’t matter. I can’t see much without them now, and I don’t have contacts. In fact these glasses cost me so much that I will most likely be buried in them. Someone once told me that Trump wears the same glasses I do. So, so not metal!
8. Have I said yet that I might be too old?
Back in the late 80s and 90s Ian MacKaye, of Minor Threat and Fugazi and Dischord Records, began being a vocal advocate against mosh/dance pits and violence at shows. Maybe one of the reasons was that he knew that eventually we would all get old and face this dilemma. Ian was a music pioneer, but maybe he was a soothsayer as well. Maybe he was trying to save the rest of us from our own middle-aged stupidity?
9. Insurance and attorneys
Many of the clubs that hosted these shows in the 80s went out of the business partly because of the insurance liability the shows brought. Many of the metal and hardcore bands from that time are now on their nostalgia tours. It is very possible that the majority of the people at the Slayer concert could be my age or older, and if a pit does exist it will either be very vanilla, or all of us will be too worried of the liability to join in. I have a kid starting college in the fall. I can’t afford to be paying another dad’s medical bills if I break his nose.
10. Oh who cares. Maybe I am going through a mid-life crisis.
Maybe I will join in. It may be a bad idea, but having spent the last three years being brutalized by my litigation-happy ex, the pit might be nothing in comparison.
It might actually be a happy kind of nostalgia.