Sometimes in life there is a moment that occurs that changes the direction of your life. Back in 1982, I had my first and only heart to heart with my Uncle Rick.
You see, I spent many years thinking that I was the only guy in the world that liked punk only for the music. Meaning, there was nothing wrong with me, I didn’t have any issues, personally, that drew me to punk. No anger, no frustrations, only a love for the music. Once I hit my forties I started doing a bit of a self-evaluation, and it dawned on me. From the age of six I was raised in a single parent home, money was sometimes non-existent.
Now, did I have it worse than half the punks out there? No. Did I have the makings of a serial killer? No. But I had enough of an unbalanced life that I sat up and took notice when punk hit the scene. Black Flag and Bad Religion said things I couldn’t. When I couldn’t spike my hair, or was forbidden from getting earrings or taken to a shrink because I liked punk, Henry Rollins screamed for me. When I’d skateboard home from school, and a truckload of losers would hurl beer cans, Greg Graffin would scream “Fuck” as loud as he could for me.
I told you all that to tell you this: In 1982, I was sitting in my Uncle’s garage and I was afraid to talk to any adult really, but I felt he’d understand me. He was four years older than me, and he was deep, deep into punk. I started telling him how disconnected I felt towards everything. I didn’t feel anything.
I explained how my mom took my brother and me to see ET, I didn’t want to see it, but she wanted a family outing. I sat through it and the whole theater was bawling their eyes out. And I sat stone-faced, thinking something is wrong with me. Rick understood, and related. He said the more this family stuff was pushed on him, the more disconnected he got. I didn’t feel so alone.
I didn’t feel anything for almost five years. And I’m not sure my uncle ever did.
Now that I’m older I realize that punk helped me through a troubled adolescence, there was nothing wrong with me. I was just a kid, without a dad around much, trying to figure out how to be a man, and who the hell I wanted to be.
Punk gave me a safety net. Punk didn’t care, that I was from a broken home, my skin was broken out, and I was dirt poor. It was the voice I didn’t have, and my uncle verified, I wasn’t the only one feeling like this. Rest in peace Rick.