Hosing Down

Scary Sharing

Hose, this is your conscience. You’re getting too far out there. Try to share. Try building a rapport with your reader. After all, when it comes to reality, we’re all singing the same song.

You know, you and I have a lot in common. One of the greatest things is our shared good fortune to have triumphed over S.I.D.S. in our respective early years. Don’t ever forget that.

So next time we meet, I’ll expect to share a congratulatory hug if you’re a girl, or a mutual pat-on-the-back if you’re a guy. If your gender is ambivalent or undecided, a smile and a hearty “Hey, fellow S.I.D.S. survivor!” is acceptable. We have in common the unassailable fact that dammit, we are survivors, so similar in at least one important way. Even if you hate me for any number of reasons, this similarity should make you want to put down that sword for awhile at least and reflect on the ultimate pathetic value of your animosity…. be aware that it’s just another useless emotion stemming from jealousy. No, it’s not that I’m better than you or cuter than you or sexier than you; it may be all three together and more as far as I suspect, but that’s not necessarily the point. It might all boil down to the simple fact that after my personal S.I.D.S. battle, I was among the 1.5% of infants to have emerged with 100% of my baby brain cells entirely unaffected. Get over it. Now fetch me my slippers and I’ll tell you a story, be-ahtch.

You know how, when you’re watching some band’s performance on your favorite late-night talk show, a certain shot is sure to be included? The camera will cut away occasionally to a couple of hot babes in the audience, each of them obviously enthralled and singing along to the song. Know what I mean? Good. Let’s continue.

For several years in the eighties, I was intimately involved in the infancy of that shot, well before it grew into the vicious fiend it has become. In more than a few videos made and destined for MTV, I’m the dude you can see between the girls, a little bit blurry and supposedly one row back from them. I was a sort of visual balancing act as were the chicks on each side of me, whose own features were cruelly obscured by the Groupiemint pair up front.

The girls all came from a group of about 14 or 15 from a certain growing agency, and each of them would eventually have at least two videos where they were one of the pair up front. The guy bopping along behind them and usually checking out their butts was always me, in various suits, costumes, styles of facial hair.

They used us and reused us again and again because I guess we came relatively cheap, despite my own delusions of incredible versatility at the time. We’d do these shoots usually the day after the band’s closeups during “performance” had been shot; two days after all the long shots of band and audience were in the can. Never were we even in the same room as the group we were supposedly watching. Just actors, essentially, reacting to audio playback.

Over time, I got to know these young models well. Most were sweet, overshaved, and there were tiny stars you could almost see dancing in their eyes. All the time. Even when we’d play some nasty jokes on that day’s front-and-center featured babes.

That featured pair would have had about a week to learn every nuance of the featured song so that they knew it like their own privates and could convincingly mouth the words along with the playback. (There was a lot of money to be made during the week or so the yet-to-be-released song was in their hands, but that’s another tale.)

I bring up these video shoot memories not because I was part of them and you weren’t – haven’t we all gotten past that yet? – but because I now realize that in my own modest way, I was a part of the creation of a social trend that is truly vile … and you weren’t.

I can never survive this one. But you can. Perhaps you already have; if so, let me bow to you and the womb from which you slid.

The original intent of these inserts or cutaway shots had been to show that two hot young fans of the group on stage loved them so much that they knew the words to all their songs by heart and would silently mouth them as they were being sung “on stage.”

Unfortunately, for the public, probably stoned out of their minds on the dangerously addictive drug marijuana with its mind-rotting THC, the bubbly pair of babes in the video were actually singing along to the song and oh wow, they’re so c–l, singing along, aren’t they?

And there I am behind them, not a care in the world except deciding the best way to get into their hot pants after the shoot.

The public, in their own perception, had just been handed the okay to explore a new way of enjoying a concert. Now they would sing along to every song they knew. And it was their duty as fans to know every song they possibly could.

The concert-going experience quickly devolved into the torturous beast it has become today: one big gawdawful singalong!

It used to be that the frontman might dramatically hold his mike out to the audience once or twice during a show (as if the mike would really pick up their voices – sheesh, buncha idiots) during the iconic part of a chorus or more often during the real high part he’s never been able to bring off outside the studio. It was always a nice shared moment, a feeling of community, regardless of purpose. Nowadays, it’s an action of comic redundancy.

Now you pay your 200 bucks for a decent seat at a Bloodfart concert and end up listening to several thousand fans who think they’re at some American Idol cattle call. Any verbal objection and you’ll need a lot of luck to leave the arena alive.

You just can’t enjoy the show anymore if you’re like me (but you’re not and never will be and what part of leave it don’t you understand?) and I can’t even think of them as concerts anymore – just moronic campfire singalongs on a massive scale.

Coming soon, no doubt, will be mass humalongs or la-la-la-alongs at symphony concerts, and the noxious greetings as everyone finds their seats, just like at those agonizing Greatful Dead shows of long ago: “Hey, man, have a good show!” Pardon me, I think I’m about to hurl.

I reflect now on my vanquished foe, S.I.D.S., feeling a sudden, slight twinge of something – admiration? Respect? Maybe it had the right idea all along, my mind suggests, and I’m ashamed, sickened, in need of a pat-on-the-back or a hug I don’t deserve and won’t obtain.

But I’m still happy for you. Now fix me some dinner and keep your mouth shut while I listen to this new CD.

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