Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bad Mouthing--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Monday, February 18

     I took Tom to his guitar lesson after school and looked for music to buy for Tom’s voice lessons.
     “He likes AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Cage the Elephant,” I told Phil, the music dude helping me.
     “But you want to buy him something that isn’t going to trash his voice,” he said.
     “Right. Tom gets focused on one band at a time. The first was the Beatles. He hasn’t listened to them in a while. I wonder if he’d like this,” I said, pulling a Beatles book from the rack.
     “It’s cool he jumps into a band and learns everything about them for a while,” Phil said.
     “He’s on YouTube watching concert footage, videos, figuring out songs. He memorizes band facts off Wikipedia. It’s nice we like the same music, mostly. But I’m not nuts about Green Day. That’s who he’s into right now.”
     “They used to be good,” Phil said.
     “They got lame.”
     I bought the Beatles book and showed it to Tom at the end of his lesson.
     “Cool,” he said and grabbed it.
     As we ate dinner, I told Tom Phil thought Green Day was lame, too.
     “You liked that song I played for you off their new album,” Tom said.
     “Yeah, because it sounded like their old stuff. When they were a punk band.”
     “Dad likes them,” Tom said.
     “Of course he does. It’s popular to like Green Day.”
     Tom narrowed his eyes at me.
     “Music isn’t an authentic interest of Dad’s. Until two years ago, he never listened to music. He’s trying to be a hipster, wants Greg’s dad to think he’s cool.”
     Tom nodded. “I was in Mikey’s dad’s car and his dad asked me what kind of music Dad liked. Mikey's dad was listening to Steve Earl.  We didn't like it. I told him Dad didn’t listen to music, he listened to talk radio all the time.”
     “In the twenty-four years I’ve known your father, he never listened to music—until now.”
     I was bad mouthing again. I should shut up. I want Tom to be authentic. I don’t want him to be a phony, spend time polishing a veneer he thinks others will admire. But I'm projecting my fears onto Tom. It's abusive. I need to control myself. Why is it so hard for me to do that? 

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