Monday, February 02, 2009

Embarrassing Moment of a Lifetime: College Edition

I've always thought of myself as a "cool" person. In high school, I was the girl who read Rolling Stone and Spin, started smoking in earnest while an exchange student in Spain, cursed with abandon and loved the shock effect it never failed to elicit, and generally looked onward and upward; knowing that high school was just a stepping stone to college and getting out from under my parents' watchful eyes.

I got into the great college of my choice and had to make the inevitable adjustments to fit in with the suddenly expanded cool-kid base. Some of those adjustments may have been little white lies.... you know, like pretending I knew what the fuck someone was talking about when they asked if I'd read Kant or when others compared how many AP classes they'd taken as seniors (hello? my rinky-dink high school didn't even offer AP classes so I hadn't even heard of them), or by giving tacit agreement to all kinds of shit that I had never encountered, experienced or seen.

FYI: Cool kids don't squeal their excitement over the things that they love anyway, so it's easy to fudge your way through once you've ingratiated yourself into the scene. In fact, if used correctly and judiciously, the less said the cooler and more mysterious or disdainful you can seem.

Cut to a party at the house of some upperclassmen who were like the coolest of the cool kids. These were a set of folks that were all juniors and were the movers and shakers of the alternative rock scene at WNUR (our beloved college radio station that I was then working at as a lowly freshman apprentice). I was particulary enthralled with a certain red-headed misanthrope that was hosting the party; I was feeling pretty special that he was would even NOTICE me, much less invite me to the party.

I'm helping myself to the beer, smoking away, chatting with him and some other cool-ios. And this AWESOME song comes on. I mean like a really hot, grooving, guitar driven song that I've never heard before. I assume that it is some alt-rock piece of arcana that I would only have heard of if I had been studying the intricacies of alternative rock since the Dave Clark Five first made an appearence back in the '60s (and for the record, REM was my alternative rock experience in high school, maybe a little Jason and the Scorchers (hello 1988!!)- I was introduced to the Dave Clark Five by the aforementioned red-head).

So, I pipe up: "Hey, this song is soooo great! Who is it?" Can you see my head bobbing up and down like YEAH.

All talking in the vicinity ceases.

The song powers on.

Four sets of the coolest eyes at 'NUR train themselves on me in disbelief.

Red-Headed Misanthrobe Guy puts in the hooks.... "You don't know who this is?"

Uhhhhh, lick lips nervously, uh, "No?"

Again: "You don't know who this is?" Four sets of eyes exchanging looks of shock.

"Uh, ha, ha, no... I guess I don't." Just put me out of my misery people! Please?

Here it comes....

Wait for it....

"It's Jimi Hendrix' Purple Haze."

I seriously wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Or at least drown myself in malt liquor.

At least they didn't ask me if I'd ever heard of Jimi Hendrix. That would've been too much to bear.
And I wasn't escorted out by the cool police, either. In fact, I gotta say that those cool kids were alright... I never heard mention of my huge faux pas again.

But for me, that goes down as one of the most appallingly humorous social gaffs of my life. (I'd hate to see what kind of list of gaffs my friends and acquaintances might put together!)


  1. I am surprised they didn't confiscate your cool card and burn it ;)

  2. Ooooohh, snap! (So, un-cool-io of me to say that term too!).

  3. Yes, that is embarrassing. I know.

    As a kid I loved NOFX. But the story behind this is totally awkward.
    I saw a cute older guy scribble NOFX and Fat Mike on a desk. I went up to him and said "OMG I love those two bands too!"
    Fat Mike is the singer in NOFX.

  4. Sad. Very Sad. I introduced each of my kids to Hendrix when they turned eight. I believe in raising them right.

  5. Kat: They didn't, but I think an impromptu tribunal was held in the alley behind the house.

    Sassy Britches: We're officially even, as "cool-io" is dreadfully uncool. :(

    Bella: Nice one! And you still remember it happening, so you know how it hurts. ;)

    Prefers Her Fantasy: Thank God someone is doing it right!! I've been wasting my time teaching my kids to sing along to Pink and Weezer...

  6. Ouch, you're lucky I'll still hang with you after that one.

    Just kidding. There's always that one cool band or performer that each of us seems to have missed while growing up. Most of us don't announce it loudly though ;)

  7. Jason and the Scorchers??? (no idea...)

  8. I probably would have slunk away! But at least they didn't haze you. Sorry. That was lame.

  9. Heinous: Always the nice word and then you slip the knife in....and twist. Argh! He got me!!

    Rants: Quick, go here:

    Coffee: Thank God!!!

    Comedy Goddess: Wah wah waaaaaah. (I think the year-long apprenticeship at the radio station was hazing enough.) And I DID slink away after I got my answer. Straight to the keg. ;)

  10. I am so ashamed of you right now. Haha, just kidding. Sort of.

  11. oh sister, do i ever feel you. i shudder to think of my moments. blech.....

  12. My oldest daughter loves Jimi!!! He's never gone out of style

  13. Oh, tough blow. At least they were nice about it. I did so much of this in college it became my trade mark.

  14. Hey, I'm impressed that you stayed in radio. You are still cool.

  15. Kristina P.: Whoa. You are harsh! I'd hate to tell you some of the REALLY bad things I've done. ;)

    Irish: I think you and I oughtta get together the next time I come down to the Ozarks... I imagine there are plenty of "blech" moments that would be hilarious in retelling. :)

    Lizspin: He never has. And that is why I am embarrassed.

    Christine: Yowza! Again... same as for Irish but drinks in Amalfi this time. :)

    Tallgrass: I'm impressed they LET me stay in radio. lol

  16. Oh man, and I thought I was the uncool one in beat me.

    Just kidding. Sort of.

  17. So, who IS Jimi Hendrix?


  18. OMG ... if it's any consolation, I wouldn't have known any of the music played at any party I attended in college. I'm just not that into music.

  19. My boyfriend in high school LOVED Jimi Hendrix. Me, not so much. Didn't care for Janice Joplin either. Guess I wasn't a cool kid. But then,I didn't go to college either so it didn't matter. :)

  20. so sound like a Serena Van der Woodsen! Gossip Girl much! :)


  21. Dude - don't you know that kind of gaff is exactly why you are so super cool??? At least that's what I've convinced myself of throughout my life. Just putting it all out there - people love that shit. They all wish they could make a big loud mistake and live to tell the tale.


  22. Goddamn...that is SO uncool :) lol....hilarious. You are so funny Amy...really....

  23. btw...

    if you're a Serena and i'm a Blair...does that mean we could be best friends?

    -sweet smile here-



  24. Mary Moore: There are so many rock star mamas on-line it is crazy. This is a tough crowd!

    blueviolet: With that dry wit, you would've fit right in with that crowd. ;-)

    SweetPea: Now I'm intrigued: What ARE you into?

    Joanie: I'm not sure I'm buying that "not the cool kid" act, but I think it's safe to say that you're rocking the internet NOW. :) Love you!

    Charity: You crack me up! And with that headband that you were wearing the other night, Blair could take some fashion lessons from YOU. (And YES I am a Gossip Girl addict!)

    Lee: Spoken like a true Rock-Star. :) Congrats to YOU on 100 posts!!!

    Braja: I can only imagine the dry-as-the-Gobi response you would've let me have if I had made the same gaff with YOU. ;-)

    Charity: ABsolutely! :)

  25. Heeheeheehee! You could always have gone with the , "Oh, usually when I listen to Hendrix it's with the accompaniment of [insert cool drug/absinthe of your choice here] and it's like a TOTALLY different experience!"

  26. I, too, felt ill-prepared for college. Remember Les Top? We watched the Romeo and Juliet movie...He never made us read the story! I was so worried about being ready for college that I took college classes at the extension center in Norwood. When I found out what my classmates had learned in high school, I felt short-changed. But hey, if we hadn't have grown up there, we wouldn't have as much fodder for writing!

  27. To clarify: I took college classes at the extension center while I was still in high school since we had no dual credit or AP courses.


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.