My roommate Keith describes learning Joe Biden was the Democratic nominee was like learning the Pixies had reunited but without Kim Deal. Like learning your girlfriend slept with Puddle of Mudd front man Wes Scantlin and he claimed he was being considerate when he decided not to use a condom because there was only one left in your nightstand. Like learning “More Than a Feeling” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” are the same riff so Kurt Cobain must not be God.
And? It was like learning all these things on your birthday. Yes. You’ll get over it. But it’ll take time.
Keith’s also my bandmate. He sings, plays guitar, and writes songs in our musical duo, the Bern-Outs. I play drums. I hit ‘em hard as hell. I’m always feeling it and happy to play.
Our band’s sort of political as balls–we even have an anthem supporting Bernie. The chorus goes: “You don’t have to wait your turn…You felt it in your gut before…Oh, the Bern!” Although, I suggested we rewrite it. Still, I feel “You felt it in your gut before…Oh, the Biden!” has that certain revolutionary ring.
But who knows? Songwriting and lyrics aren’t really my forte. I’ve introduced into our practices “comfort food” a la alternative rock cover songs from the nineties, our heyday as far as influences. Keith’s delegated to me where the Bern-Outs go musically, because as of late, he’s been bummed, like someone sucked the creme out of his Oreos and called them crackers.
But I’m always feeling it and happy to play.
During our last rehearsal, I’m like, “Keith? How about we do Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Bullet with Butterfly Wings?’ And instead of opening with ‘The world is a vampire…Sent to dr-ai-ai-ain,’ open with, ‘The world needs a Biden…Sent to rei-ei-eign.’”
“Nah, man.” All he says.
“What about the Toadies’ ‘Possum Kingdom?’ Instead of ‘My blushing bride…My lover, be my lover, yeah,’ we say, ‘My blushing Bide…My voter, be my voter, yeah!’”
He says that doesn’t make sense. It gets even more heated between us. I tell him that he doesn’t make any sense.
He’s all like then, “O.K., man. We’ll do ‘Possum Kingdom,’ except on the next part, I sing, ‘I can promise you…You’ll stay as electable…With white hair…And liver-spotted skin, forever…”
Clearly, he’s not feeling the Joe-mentum. But I remind myself, “You’re a drummer. Always be feeling it and happy to play.”
I’ve tried to tell him, “You could probably write something new and even better. There are plenty things to get behind in Uncle Joe. Not the Green Deal, but a greener deal. Not completely free college, but cheaper than before. Not Medicare-for-All, but for some. Besides, Keith, a lot rhymes with Joe.”
He’s all like, “Here’s your new song: ‘Buh-buh-blow me, Joe!’” During the first hundred days of a Biden administration, weed won’t be legalized on the federal level, he laments. Then, to calm down, he rips another hit from the bong.
Once we’re good and stoned, Keith gets a wild hair up his ass and says to me, “You know what your problem is, bro?”
I’m like, “What, bro?”
Keith says, “You’re not a true Bernie supporter, that’s your problem. You’re far too happy to be a Bernie supporter. If you were, you’d be sick and tired. Sick and tired of the wealthiest one percent using their thousand dollars bills as toilet paper. Sick and tired of minimum wage being only enough to order Chinese takeout, but you get the fortune and not the cookie. Sick and tired of health care being a privilege not a right, but maybe if it were a right, you could see a doctor so you wouldn’t be so sick, and you wouldn’t be so tired.”
“All that sounds great,” I said. “One hundred percent. You’re really making me regret not voting on Super Tuesday.”
“WERE YOU NOT FEELING IT THAT DAY? WERE YOU NOT HAPPY TO PLAY?”
I shrug my shoulders. “‘Another One Bidens the Dust?’”