Year In Rock Challenge (my life)

the year in rock, 1991

Year In Rock Challenge (my life)

He was ten years younger than me, and my manager. He was still a skater dude at heart with full sleeves and their accompanying attitude. The year rock changed everything was 1991 he said, with confidence.

Now that he’s fired me, I’m going back over our conversations about music. Did he fire me because he was threatened by my musical tastes, my skills, or my experience? Maybe he didn’t like anyone who challenged him. We had some fun around the year in rock challenge. I was playing, he might have been getting offended. We asked new team members what their year was. It was an icebreaker, musical influences.

My year was 1977. The Talking Heads album by the same name, my touchstone. ’77 has also got the Cars’ first album, The Ramones’ first album. AC/DC – Let There Be Rock, Rush – A Farewell to Kings, Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bullocks, The Clash -self-titled, Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True, Pink Floyd – Animals… And so it goes.

I understand that my musical tastes were a gift from my older sister. The Beatles were always on. I recall a lot of time pretending to be a lead singer in my own bedroom just down the hallway from my sister’s room. James Gang – Rides Again, Incense and Peppermints, House of the Rising Son, and so it goes. The earliest musical influences, that I can remember, were established while I was in elementary school. What was playing on the radio when we drove in the car, and mainly, what my sister played on her record player. The 45s could be put on infinite repeat. So “Hey Jude” blasted for weeks after it was released.

We were a singing family around the house. Well, except for my dad. He was convinced that The Beatles brought down the fall of our country with their long hair and dope smoking. He might have been right, now looking back. But at the time, he was just a bigoted old man with opinions. I have no context for *Bhodi.* (The nickname from his Slack profile – drawing of Patrick Swayze from Point Break.)

This one.

my bad managers slack profile

It’s too rich. I couldn’t have made that shit up. I’m assuming that he’s a lot more like Bhodi than he comprehends. Hard to teach a surfer dude about emotional intelligence. But he’s the boss, so he’s got the power.

Fair enough. So, if it was 1968 at the start of 1st grade for me, my young *friend* hit first grade in 1978. He didn’t have any of the historical greats in his youthful dreams. The Beatles broke up in 1974. He never had a “Hey Jude” sing-along. Probably didn’t have any 45s. I don’t know if he had older sisters and brothers, or if he was bopping along to whatever his parents played. If not for my hippy sister, I would have been raised on Bing Crosby, Elvis, and Sinatra. My mom loved music too, but my dad owned the hifi equipment in the living room.

Three of those albums from his HIT LIST are bonafide classics. Remove Metalica, G n R, and the Peps. And it was a great year in rock, don’t get me wrong. But…

Taking it a step further. Anyone who has Guns and Roses on their greatest hits image is not only a fool but has poor taste in music. Axel is not my favorite. Sure. To each his own. But when I think how much music had changed during my ten years on the planet before my former manager was born. It’s more about the confidence with which argued his perspective. The same confidence he called me on the phone on the day he returned from a weeklong vacation to say, “Your performance is lacking.” That’s not exactly what he said (pardon the quotes). But he must’ve had a dream during his time off. That dream involved him firing me, and replacing me with a young contractor with “user experience” in her job title as well.

And that was it. There was nothing I could do to get back on his good side. I even asked. “What can I do to keep my job?” He let out a disgusted sigh and proceeded to wander through some vague ideas. The real answer, “Nothing.” It took a bit longer to get rid of me, though he eventually won that round. The second might come back to haunt him. My lawyer has advised me against talking about it much further.

Bhodi if you’re listening, your musical taste sucks. You are an expendable cog, a middle manager with no skills. Not a single creative idea from you. I guess that’s what you have us for. Well, them.

Read more Short-Short Stories from John.

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