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.

On the cover was the Rolling Stones


What you are looking at is the cover of a paper I wrote in middle school.  I can’t imagine how I accessed a copy machine to provide the photo — did I get my mom to do it at work, or did I trouble the office staff to let me impose upon them to make a copy?  Whatever, I knew even then that everyone judged a book by its cover and I wanted mine to mentally prepare the reader for the kick-assedness within.

And, not to brag, but lookee:


That’s right, y’all.  Grade A.  Whoever this teacher was, she put a lot of emphasis on form and neatness — it add up to 2/3 of this grade!  I could just have written blah blah blah a million times! With my gorgeous penmanship and peerless spacing, that is.  But I had been given an opportunity to tell the story of Mick, Keith and the boys to Mrs. Whoever, and I would never have squandered that.

Now, no paper on the Rolling Stones would be complete without this:


A pretentious poem.  It was written by Andrew Oldham, as a brief internet search helped me to discover.  Not sure why I didn’t credit him?  Was I attempting to pass his work off as my own?  It makes one wonder.  I mean, how was a girl so confident in her abilities that she put a photocopy of a photo on her front cover be so insecure as to think crediting a poet would somehow detract from her work?

Okay, so let’s get to the meat of the thing:


I think by far the best passage is one where I say “Myths naturally begin at the very beginning and the history of the Rolling Stones is no exception.”  The implication, I suppose, being that myths are the only things that begin at the very beginning.  Regular old stories start at the mid-beginning.

Now, that sentence definitely sounds like a young me.  But this one sounded a little too sophisticated: “Their presence has so dominated rock and roll that they virtually determined what a rock band should look like and sound like.”  And in a couple of sentences before, I use the word ‘catalyst.’  I’m not saying any of that is genius, but it sounds a little beyond my level of articulation at the time.  Good thing I have hoarded my primary source material to do some investigating:


Wait… that’s my title!  I plagiarized the title?  Good grief.

I opened the book, hoping upon hope to find out that I wasn’t a little cheat.  Let me tell you, even though this book has a fun, colorful cover, inside it is very dense and dry.  I couldn’t find any of the hokiest of my lines within.  Whew!

Then I flipped it over:


The blurb reads “… they created the blueprint of the rock band; they are the constant against which all others are measured.”  I have to admit that pretty much sounds like the same thing I wrote, and therefore proves that I am a fraud.

Near the end, on page five, is a passage that I would describe as “a young girl’s explanation of Altamont”


“Many scenes occurred through the opening acts of violence and repulsiveness.”  See, the violence, I’d expect from the Hell’s Angels, but I didn’t know they’d also shit their pants and throw up all around.  I especially like the “After one death and many injuries, it was then, mercifully over.”  It’s like “After the man was nearly drowned and his limbs torn off one by one, he was happy the torture was through.”

Also in that sentence, as you can see, is perhaps the most embarrassing thing about this entire paper: that I liquid-papered a mistake and forgot to go back and fix it once it dried.

I finally got to see the Rolling Stones in concert in the 90’s.  But it was during that ridiculous “Love is strong and your so sweet” period.  We were in the back of the Rose Bowl and the screens were projecting cartoons or something, not the actual band playing, and when they did give us a flash of the band, the sound was moving too slow to sync up with the performance, which was distressing to say the least, a waste of money that I didn’t have to say the most.

You are voting on the paper only.