Cheap pick


As a teenager, I didn’t have that many people threaten to kick my ass.  Mainly, I just got shit-talked in the bathroom and cried after.  No real harm done?  Anyways, there was this one girl who lived in my apartments who transferred into my middle school and her name was let’s just say Vivian West just in case.  She lived with her dad, and their apartment was always messy, and that’s saying something coming from me since my mother was a you-know-what, rhymes with “disorder.”  Also, I remember him being a drinker, which is saying something, because my mother always had a jug of Reunite in the fridge and she knew exactly how much she had in there, which I learned the hard way once when this guy I liked who I wasn’t supposed to let in the apartment took a swig of it and she noticed and called his parents and that was maybe the worst thing that has happened to me ever.

Well, Vivian had a year or so moved away when I ran into her at the Hasting’s Records at the Ridgmar Mall.  I was flipping through rows and rows of records, looking for the cut-outs because those were cheaper, hence my Goanna and Fastway albums.  She marched right up to me and said “Christy Stratton, I’m going to kick your ass!”  I think I was alone, because I remember not having any backup, although wouldn’t it have been great if I had a boyfriend who stepped up and said “Excuse me?”  Ha ha boyfriend, right, teen me?

I then inquired as to why Vivian was so inclined to do this.  She said it was because she heard I was talking about her.  Now, listen, I wouldn’t have put it past me back then to speak ill of someone — it was dog-eat-dog, and I used whatever tools I had available to me to survive.  In some cases, that meant sharing my negative opinions about people.  But I assure you all, I did not know what she was talking about.

Weeks passed.  I eventually got up the nerve to go back into the Ridgmar Mall.  I had no choice — it was the only game in town mall-wise.  Things went back to normal, and what I mean by that was no one was threatening to kick my ass — such a funny term, come to think of it, because it doesn’t sound like it would hurt very much at all.  Summer came, and friends and I had taken to seeing concerts at Six Flags over Texas.  Adam Ant, Huey Lewis and the News… those were just two of the three acts I saw there in the mid-80’s. The other one was Cheap Trick.

What you’d have to do before these shows — since it was festival seating — was to line up in a designated roped-off area near-ish the venue during the day.  But it wasn’t a line, really, it was more like a mass of humanity you’d stand in the hot sun very near for hours on end.  Sweating, stinking, accidentally touching.  Also I wasn’t into hats back then.

My tiny, nimble friend Wendy took it upon herself to crawl between people’s legs and work her way to the front of the throng — so we had a fighting chance of getting good seats if she wasn’t trampled to death.  This was maybe the only time in my life I was glad to not be tiny and nimble.

I was separated from all my friends and about to pass out from heat stroke when the crowd was set loose and we all took off, although I knew I was the slowest runner, so I decided to stop and watch where everyone scattered to so I could assemble us all.  Plus, running.

Once we had our seats, I got up to get water because I was super weak from the waiting ordeal.  Ha ha water, right teen me?  It was for sure a Coke.  On my way back, strolling down the aisle with my bud Wendy, without a care in the world, la la la — who did I see coming up the way?  Not Robin Zander.  Not even Bun E. Carlos.


She didn’t see me, thank almighty Isis.  I then did that thing where you avoid someone by getting super into whatever the person you’re talking to is saying.  Poor Wendy didn’t know why I was white hot focusing on whatever — I didn’t share the Vivian-threatening-to-kick-my-ass story with anyone, since me talking about her was what got me into troubs in the first place.

Vivian saw me, though, and called me out!  Was she going to kick my ass right here in front of all these stinky people?  I had seen fights erupt at concert venues before — in fact, concert venues were the only place I had ever seen a fistfight up close.

But the weirdest thing happened — she smiled and greeted me all friendly-like.  It was all ‘Hey! Oh my gosh!  So good to see you!  How’s your mom?’ — that sort of thing.  In retrospect, I believe she may have been on drugs.  That was the last I saw of that gal and I am grateful for it.

The show was great, and we were close enough to be near where Rick Nielsen threw out like a thousand of these.



I also had an earplug I bought from a Security guy for $5 who claimed it had been wedged in the ear of one of the members of the band.  I got rid of that years ago when I realized that people can lie to you sometimes.