Let me begin with this: last night I saw Less Than Jake
in concert at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, and I. Had. A. Blast.
It was quite possibly one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a long time, and I’m pretty sure it can be attributed to going with my brother, Scott, and my cousin, Steve, the fact that I’ve been a fan of LTJ since their Losing Streak album came out in 1996, and lots and lots of draft beer.
I swore to try to remember as much of the highlights as possible. So here I go:
- We started at the casino. Scott and Steve had been drinking prior to, and I was playing catch-up (I think Steve was playing mustard). Scott was recounting how at one concert he was hit in the head with a full water bottle and got knocked out for a bit. This will play out later.
- Having only one phone between us, we decided we should make our way to the show so as not to miss LTJ. We got there in time to see the Flatliners (not the Julia Roberts/Kiefer Sutherland pic). We were glad not to miss any of the main act, but we wished we could have gambled more. Especially once I realized they had Star Wars penny slots. May the force be with the 30-line spin!
- We laughed at a woman wearing Mom Jeans and her man that looked like Tom Cruise circa The Firm. Steve would end up befriending them and giving them high fives later, but still…
- I thought of a pickup line. Then I thought it might work as a pickup line to ask if the pickup line would work as a pickup line. I was going to ask one girl but her man came back. So I turned to another girl who was way too crossed-eyed to be so snotty in my opinion, and I said, “I heard your brother’s the drummer in the band.” Her response, “If my brother was in the band, I’d be backstage, duh. But nice try on the pickup line.” Steve returned from the restroom or a beer run, and he heard the ending. He thought I asked about the line, but I informed him that I just used it as is.
- A gaggle of older dudes (my age) started moshing at the back during the second opening act, which was the more more accessible band called the Expendables. One dude bumped me more than once which caused me to spill beer on Scott’s phone. I turned to face them and the dude’s friend apologized. What I said to appease him, I want to put on t-shirts:
- Like this, but better… not much better, though.
- Also, the dude that made me spill my beer wanted to get punched in the face… he told me so. I said I would, but he had to punch me too, kinda like a Rocky/Apollo Creed freeze frame kind of thing. His friend told us to wait until after the concert. I agreed.
- Once LTJ started, the mosh pit was incredible. Being one of the taller guys, I’m usually asked to lift people to body surf, but not as many people were willing to for some reason. At the end of the regular show, I decided to go. The bouncer that flipped me over told me I was too big to be doing this. I agreed.
- When the encore was in full swing, some of the kids that helped me up before wanted me to do it again. I told them I was yelled at last time, which only spurned them on more. So I went up again, and the bouncer repeated the fact that I was too big to be doing this. If I did it again, I was going to get kicked out. I didn’t go back by those other kids again.
- It was about this time that Steve was high-fiving Tom Cruise and Mom Jeans. Scott had been hit in the head, but by something other than a water bottle. This little kid appeared out of nowhere as the main floor cleared, and he was picking up who-knows-what off the floor. I saw the friends of the dude I was supposed to punch, but they lost him. They informed me that if I saw him, I should swing for his right eye, because his left eye was already bruised. I agreed.
- Scott was going to sleep in the car while Steve and I would gamble more. We parted ways at the garage. As we were wandering around in the casino, we ran into Scott. He couldn’t find the car. It was amazing to stumble across each other because only Scott had a phone. Lucky!
- I lost ten bucks in the Star Wars penny slots. I would have only lost five, but a woman asked me to watch her spot so she could run to the restroom. I only had thirty cents left, so I threw in another five. More or Less Than Jake, it was a good night.
Asta La Windows Vista, Baby!
The hell hole that stole my soul will finally be no more. Circuit Shitty is set to close it’s remaining 567 stores by the end of March, and it’s website will shut down today.
Why do I have such disdain for the retail store? Let me count the ways:
- I took the job to avenge my sister – I should have known better. I had recently moved back from L.A. where I worked at a Best Buy. There, they had taught me that “Circuit City” was the enemy and “working for commission” was evil. As the DVD market was beginning to grow, I remember us laughing about the ridiculous plan CC had in motion to develop DIVX (more on this in a moment). My sister, Tammie, had opened store #3604 back home, and she had been complaining about a manager that kept hitting on her/harrassing her. She refused to take action so I got a job there to make sure it stopped. It did. That manager ended up helping me make a lot of money, so he ended up being an all right guy. Cursed Southern salesmanship! (NOTE: To be read as “curs-ed”… not “curst”… thanks.)
- It elevated my lifestyle. When I started there in August of ’98, working in the SOHO department (Small Office Home Office), I made something like $700 my first full-commission week. The next week, I made $1oo more, and the next – $200. I had worked at a medical center prior to BB, and at BB, I was the Media Department’s Senior (which is a splash above regular). This money influx was amazing. There were days I could make my week’s pay that day. I spent more than I saved. And it took me a long time to break that habit, as well as another.
- It turned me to drinking excessively, amongst other things. You see it in every movie: Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, Giovanni Ribisi… they start making money and things *snap* start *snap* happening. I had so much money I didn’t know what to do. Couple this with the fact I worked at a nightclub Friday and Saturday nights… well, I didn’t do completely stupid things. I just drank more than I even do now and partook in inhaling and occasionally ingesting certain types of vegetation…
- I had to make the sale. No. Matter. What. I never outrightly lied. I may have slightly bent or tip-toed to the edge of what our service plans covered, but as long as I worked there, anyone that came in with a problem was taken care of by me. Too bad I was only there for a year-and-a-half (too long).
- The DIVX Dupe. For those of you only familiar with the media format, there used to be format with the same name. The idea was you’d buy a disc for $4.50 and once you played it in your machine, you had access to it for 48 hours, after which you had the option to pay $15 more to permanently unlock it, or could “rent” it again for $3. It put a DVD player in my house, but it was a dumb idea. And I was forced to sell this product to every customer. And since it was in the TV Department, all out wars broke out between SOHO and TV (because of the spiffs). When it finally folded as a format, all the discs went on sale for a buck or two. I bought pretty much every one. They exist in a box in my basement and predicted my eventual DVD purchasing habit (I currently own over 1200).
- The CompuServe Rebate Ripoff. For the first Christmas I worked, people had to save up to buy a home pc. The cheapest complete system (14″ monitor, tower, printer, and of course – service plan) cost $1585.55 out the door, with something like $50-$100 in rebates. I killed at selling this package, and it probably made me eighty-some bucks a pop. The following August I spent backpacking in Europe and upon returning, the well had dried up. The cheap machine boom was upon us (as was the looming Y2K fiasco), and at the center of the shitstorm laid the CompuServe rebate. Anyone would get a $400 dollar rebate for signing a 3-year agreement to join the dial-up service at $21.95 per month, so everyone and their kitchen sink were coming in for the “FREE” pc. Hardly any commission on that, and try to sell service plans I did – to no avail. Where I had been swimming in cash at the end of ’98, I dove into an empty pool at the end of ’99. I wouldn’t last many months more because in addition to making peanuts for pay (I was back down to $400 per week – the horror!), the quality of products we sold had also diminished. This lead me to take a second job overnight at Target which brought me a great group of friends I still associate with to this day, so maybe Circuit City wasn’t that bad after all.
(I feel cleansed like this was some type of confession. BB CCing you in hell!)
- Another one BUYts the dust…