Last Chapter: “Rat House”

“YOU’RE CONDEMNED TO ETERNAL BULLSHIT!”

Ronald Reagan stole my birthright. I knew we were the last generation to have a chance at the American dream, through hard work and merit, intelligence and fortitude. We had now become, after eight bruising years of raiding the coffers, a nation of “who you knows” and “have nots”…we’d gone back to the 1880s and the robber barons and government giveaways to those with enough cash to buy it. The only way to win was to fight the capricious wheel of fortune and trust your friends because that was really all that they left you. You could be fired for threatening to use your rights as a union member, like the air traffic controllers, or just because the company’s profits weren’t high enough to suit the shareholders.

The Sex Pistols were right, there really was no future for us…we’d be working until our dying day, scraping crumbs off the table. So, I did what I knew best. I survived, and I planned my escape.

We fought back with art, or attempts at art, but that was also compromised with money. Do-it-yourself was all well and good, but when it comes down to it, a wad of “fuck-you” money worked a lot better. In these backward times, in the backwaters of Ronnie Reagan’s America, in these dark ages, money was all that was worth anything. Love, art, music, passion, civil rights, and trust were worthless. But money! That was worth something: it was a house, a car, a family, college educations for the kids, success, and a future.

We weren’t good. Were we as good as Meat Cigars, Sunbats, Art Farts, or Coltrane Wreck or any other bottom tier band? No! Discouraged I took solace in Red Hooks and Camel straights. I sat and drank until I felt bilious and full of piss and vinegar, well, at least piss. Nothing comes easy. Life was a cliché readily used and easily disposed of. I thought about selling my gear and moving to Portland, that’s how bad things had gotten. Still, no matter where I went I was still me, faults and all. You can’t run away from yourself, this I knew. Instead, I bought a pair of shoes that hurt and looked at the want ads in the Seattle Times.

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