An open letter to the “Punk” girl who wanted a cigarette from me
Oh you San Francisco punks. I’ve never said it as elaborately as I am about to, but you annoy me. And here’s why.
You’re punk. Every morning, you rise and shine from your Select Comfort bed, pass the other 1.4 children’s bedrooms your lawyer/teacher family has produced, heading down to reject a bowl of cereal and see your mother’s worried eyes as you tell her to shove the capitalist shit where it stings. You throw on your “Exploited” leather jacket, the one with the 27 studs you bought from Hot Topic, and grab your “Rancid” schoolbag, which you ordered from a shop in Oakland.
Today is not the day to go to school. Screw school, school is for lame normalos. You’ll be at the mall, with Witch, Sid, and a girl called Spiderbride, who is more Goth than Punk, but Sid, who is 16 and goes by his real name, Abraham, whenever ID showing is involved, loves her and wants to marry her. You’ll be in the food court, looking for guys like me to give you a cigarette, spend your allowance on black lipstick and a bagel dog from Wetzel’s Pretzels. You’re extreme, you’re peak extreme hardcore, and one day you hope you’ll die like Nancy, Sid standing over you with a shotgun. That’s punk.
Fekkin’ eh! It’s not. When I was your age, we skipped school to hang out at the condemned building at the end of town. No way would anyone have caught us dead in a temple of capitalist commerce like a mall. We drank, but few smoked. Smoking was so not us, giving money to the capitalist pigs whose lobbies made more money than all of Africa had to feed her children (or, so we argued). We listened to music, drank beer, and told tall tales of the one day we’d been fighting the Skinheads one town over. Only one of us, Richard, had a band label on his jacket, and he earned it, eloping at age 16 to go tour with KarmaKiller. We read Nietsche and Marx, discussed Pol Pot and then went to pogue out at some club. When we went home, we didn’t respect our parents either, but few of us insulted them. And we weren’t even Punk. We were normal, angst-ridden, teenagers. We had hangovers, sex, and fights with the Skins. We tried drugs, some got it, some didn’t. One guy ODd a few years later, others went on to become cops, lawyers, or surgeons. We had our teenage years, and we’re better people for it, I believe.
You, San Francisco punks, are a lot like the City you live in. A facade, fake and based on your idea of what a Punk is. Substance matters less than style, you wouldn’t dream of reading Marx, and who cares, you have the ‘hawk and the studs, you’re an extreme teenager.
I saw a few of you down south in Santa Cruz, burning a few US flags. That’s hardcore? No, that’s stupid. When you drive home in your mother’s Minivan, think about the hypocrite you are and will most likely stay for a long time. Ask me for a cigarette again, and I’ll tell you what I think of you. Or I might not. After all, I am just an old fart, who’s never been as extremely hardcore as you are.