Ok, I have to first say that I am obnoxiously proud of my brother in law, Evan. He's quite possibly the raddest 18 year old I know.
A few years back, he got into the "punk scene" and adopted the whole image, etc. Pretty cool. (Reminds me of a young me... awww...) Of course, it didn't take too long before he was getting himself into trouble. Mr. Anarchist Himself probably believed he was the first kid to ever flip off a teacher. After falling behind at school, he was sent to a "continuation" school to try and catch up. Continuation school is the black hole from which bad students and pregnant high schoolers never return...
Ryan dearly loves his brother and so he sat him down for a "talkin' to" and did his best to explain why school is important, even when you think it isn't. The spiel about getting an education and good job and all that... I just don't think it interested a 16 year old guy. He was too busy gettin' frisky and running amok all over town. I told Ryan to explain it from the other side... something he could relate to : punk rock.
I told him to look at Henry Rollins or Jello Biafra. Go read some of their books, see their spoken word. Read the lyrics to some of his favorite punk songs. What were they about? Getting drunk on a school day? Getting laid when you're dad isn't looking? Um, well, some of them were... BUT there is so much more. The Punk Movement isn't about being a dumb ass. It's about being smarter than "them" and standing up for what's right. It's about wearing your hair in some freak-out tri-hawk to get people to notice. It's about releasing your frustration in a mosh pit (or Pogo, if you've seen the Dead Kennedys). It's about freedom of expression and making your voice heard.
I know that Ryan did his best to relay this to Evan and open his eyes a little. Then, we just sat back and hoped... humming the song "TV Party" and hope that this kid did alright by himself.
Evan made his way back to our old alma mater and got out of that lame continuation school. He found a job at an ultra cool art store, where he can dress how he chooses and be who he is. He took up guitar and started a band. He graduated high school - and the teachers said they will actually miss him! He bought himself a car and is getting things settled to go to college in the fall. This is hardly the jerk ass kid that stood before us two years ago, failing school and getting grounded.
He's doing everything right and he's doing everything punk.
This week, I found out that he has also become vegetarian. Cool, right? So I asked him why... he tells me that he's not eating meat as his subtle way of doing something for the cause of global hunger. How fucking cool is that? I really admire his dedication... and the thought behind it. I mean, we're all idealistic at 18... but man...
So, whether you're screeching about cops or skirting chicks, I love ya Evan!!