The Good Years: 18
The only decade to see three--count 'em, three--entries, my teens, is also the decade where everything turned to shit. Yes, 12, 16, and 18 were good years, but 10 - 13, 16, and 19 were such utter crap, as to pull the entire fucking decade down.
Since this is titled "The Good Years," I will only briefly touch upon what made these other years so bad. In a nutshell, conscious awareness of my own mortality and physical limitations as an athlete, acceptance of thankless plight as an artist, girls, and my father. It was the decade where I first (though not last) seriously considered killing myself, the decade of my first broken heart, and the decade that closed with the firm understanding that I wanted more than this life could ever provide.
But enough of that stinkin'-thinkin', and on to why 18 rocked!
Just as the decade would eventually be bogged down by them, girls made my 18th year pretty fucking awesome. I had a band and I was going to school!
It was my first semester of college, and by "college," I mean, the first year where I literally received funding by the state (and my grandfather) to spend all day surrounded by pretty girls. In no particular order, Amy Krois, Katie Ross, Sherri Gagliardi, Jeanie Palmer, and countless, nameless other tight-bodied short-shorted nice-smelling 18 - 20 year old girls who sent my heart a-flutter.
The only thing that couldv'e made this better is if, you know, I actually dated and/or fucked (even finger) or, hell, got even an over-the-jeans rub from any of them.
That's not true. I got an over-the-jeans rub from Amy. And I have to say, not be blowing myself or anything, but it may have just been the best over-the-jeans (while not quite getting off) rub-off of all time.
OK. So to quote Areosmith/RunDMC, I was loser who never made it with the ladies. Without the happy ending.
Girls then, much like now, scared me. I suppose it's confidence.
I talk with Adam, my 24-year-old friend/personal trainer, who clearly doesn't have this problem. And as he'll explain "the game" of approaching women (while he spots as I blast my pecs), I am still in awe of those who can even do that: talk to pretty girls.
When I first met Justine--or rather after I creepily stalked her until she agreed to go out with me--our first date was a comedy of mumbling, stumbling, and admitting that I wanted to "be a private investigator because I was good at lurking." Fortunately, Justine finds social awkwardness endearing. Others not so much.
Years after college and after our one night over-the-jeans rub-off, I asked Amy why she and I never worked as a couple.
"We were never 'a couple' Joe," she said. "You were too...intense."
Well, if writing 17 songs about a girl you came really close to getting a handjob from makes you too "intense," then color me guilty.
I could write a lot more about this year, my 18th. The ups and downs (this was also the year of my boxing experiment), but I have to go to the doctor to see if I need my hip replaced.