How to Rain on a Punk Rocker's Rebellion

by Tina Blue
May 26, 2003

          In "Don't get Mad--Get Pictures!" I describe the seven-inch mohawk my son wore from age 14 to age 17.  (Actually, it was a trihawk, because he had 1 ½-inch mini-mohawks on either side of the big central hawk.)

          Michael's hairdo did not stand alone (though with all the hairspray and rubber cement he used to solidify it, that mohawk certainly did stand!).  It was part of a complete ensemble, which included a leather jacket that he had decorated with metal studs and spikes, as well as punk-rock images he had painted all over it.  He also wore army pants, black T-shirts that he had silk-screened band logos onto, innumerable punk patches that he had also painted or silk-screened himself, wallet chains, a spiked leather wrist-band, and various neck chains.

          I suppose some people would be intimidated by the image he projected of adolescent male punkhood.  No doubt that was part of the purpose of the look.

          But one day when Michael got back from a practice session with his punk rock garage band, he couldn't stop chuckling long enough to maintain the requisite punk scowl.

          He told me how he had been walking home from his friend's house, where the band actually did practice in a garage, when he was stopped by an elderly woman who had all sorts of questions she wanted to ask him.

          "Where did you get a leather jacket decorated like that?" she had asked.

          Michael explained that it was just a plain black leather jacket when he bought it.  All the "decorations" (metal spikes, studs, paintings) were his own work.

           She was astonished.  "You mean that you put every one of those metal things in there by hand?" she asked.

          Yes, he did.

          Then she asked about the silk-screened images on his T-shirt and some of his patches, and the paintings on the jacket and the rest of the patches.  He explained that he had done all of that, too.

          "My, goodness!" she exclaimed.  "That is just so

          Not knowing what else to say, Michael thanked her.

          And then she delivered the coup de grace.

          "Well, I think it's wonderful that you are so creative.  And I think you look just darling!" 

          And with that she drove away.

          When I think back on that incident, I can't help but wonder whether she really thought he looked darling, or whether she amused herself by driving around and letting the wind out of the sails of adolescents who too obviously displayed their rebelliousness. 

          I think that's a hobby I just might take up when I retire.

          Heh heh heh heh heh.

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