Saturday, July 24, 2010

MULLET-OUS: Part I: "It Sucks To Be 15"

For many years, I've labored over this: Would I ever disclose pictures of my mullet in a public forum? Once worn with pride, my mullet has shamed me throughout my adult life. However, after doing an internet radio show last week with Karl Koweski, I figured it was time to exorcise these demons.

Let's start at the end and flashback because I like to do funky shit like that.

As a first-year college student in 1993, a year or so into the Grunge era, roughly two years after the mullet was even remotely fashionable in anyplace other than The South and certain pockets of Mid-America, I showed up on campus at a small college in New Hampshire, to quote another former mullet-man David Crosby, with "my freak flag flying." My mullet was lush and lively, an inexorable force on the back of my neck. I figured the babes would be lining up to run their hands through those luscious black locks, so when I moved into the dorm, I was truly confounded by the fact that I wasn't making any friends.

Shucking the obvious, I blamed it on my Rhode Island-accent.

Then two weeks into my college life, after realizing two guys on my floor were also from Rhode Island, I marched to the barber downtown and had my mullet severed. Never again, other than in these pictures I now share with you, would my mullet show its now ignominious locks.

But at one time, it killed.

When I started growing it (see picture above), I was 15-years-old, filled with the universal teenage angst, and ready to start PAHH-TEYY-INNN'. Bring on the babes. Bring on the booze. Bring on the drugs.

But there was one small problem: I was a complete fucking loser.

While I played on the football team, I was basically a tackling dummy for the varsity squad. Each week on the practice team, I was a slower and dumber version of our opponent's halfback, and the varsity defense would hammer me until I was so concussed I couldn't stand steady. These days, parents would freak out given, you know, science and evidence and shit. But at the time, we called it "taking your lumps."

Meanwhile, in an attempt to seem somewhat cool, my mullet grew and grew and became something I could use as a personal tag. Like so many kids on the skids, I found solace in hard rock and heavy metal. I was listening to G'N R's Appetite, Metallica, the obligatory Zeppelin and Van Halen (Sammy was a pussy) and Sabbath, Iron Maiden and The Cult, so what the hell gives? Why weren't the metal chicks digging me?

Again, I refer you to the picture above.

Things didn't get much better that year. My grades tanked, and shortly before turning 16, I discovered pot. Actually, it was about to get slightly better.


Robin B. said...

This made me laugh in a back-ended conspiratorial holy-crap-high-school-just-fucking-sucks kinda way.

I've wished sometimes that the sciencey doctor visits of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could be real, so I could have those four years extracted from memory. But then, having never been long-term-hazed like that, who would I be?

P.S. Being from the South, I remember that hairstyle all too well! Glad it's (mostly) dead now. I think Bono wore it the longest, actually, but hey, he's Irish, and so are most of the rednecks in the South, Irish descent anyway (including me!)

Nate Graziano said...

Absolutely, Robin. Generally speaking, those of us who suffer have a greater understanding of the human condition. Adolescence was a long bout of suffering for me, although things things got better, slightly. Stay tuned.

Bono had a sweet mullet. And I, too, am half-Irish. Don't let my last name mislead you entirely.

Robin B. said...

"Erin Go Bragh, honey," said the also half-Irish Southerner.