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Get My Hearing Aid, Ma -- The Band's A-Playing!

The latest sign that I'm advancing in age is upon me.

Tonight, I'm going to see Pearl Jam in concert downtown at the Bahstan Gahden. I've seen Eddie Vedder and the boys live a couple of times before, but it's been years. And therein lies the evidence of my oldness.

In years past -- we're talking last millennium at this point, kiddies -- my preparations for a concert were both thorough and exhaustive. Weeks before the date, I'd buy the band's latest CD, and maybe older discs as well.

(And yes, I can hear you back there in the peanut gallery:

'Did they even have CDs back then, grandpa? Tell us again about the good old days, and how you used the pterodactyl to listen to your vinyl records.'


"The best-laid plans of mice and men are often wrecked by a pre-concert game of Asshole and a bottle of Jagermeister in the trunk."

I'd listen to the music morning, noon, and night. By the time the concert rolled around, I'd have every song committed to memory, word for word and riff for riff. That way, I could recognize an obscure album track from the very first note, and properly enjoy it from the beginning. I'd know when the band was ad-libbing, or if the guitarist decided to freestyle through a solo. All the borderline-compulsive repetitive listening to the band's music afforded me an appreciation of the concert that few save the most dedicated long-time fans could match.

Theoretically, anyway. In reality, we ended up tailgating before most shows, so I'd end up passed out in the parking lot, dangling upside-down and pantsless in some stranger's sunroof. The best-laid plans of mice and men are often wrecked by a pre-concert game of Asshole and a bottle of Jagermeister in the trunk.

At any rate, things are a little different these days. I didn't immediately rush out for the new Pearl Jam CD when we got the tickets; in fact, I was a bit surprised when the disc showed up on my desk at home over the weekend.

(My wife bought it, because she's cool like that. One of us has to keep tradition alive, she says. And it's pretty much a given that it's her job now, what with my one foot already in the grave and all. Clearly, I'm too old and decrepit for that sort of thing. Sometimes being the old man in the relationship has its priveleges.)

So, did we make the best of things and wear that CD out this week? Well, you'd think so, wouldn't you? Here's what really happened:

Saturday: The CD shows up. The missus mentions she bought it. I tell her she's 'a real peach'. Apparently, I was born in the early 1800s.

Sunday: I've got a softball game. (It's the quintessential decrepit old man sport.) The CD remains untouched.

Monday: It's Monday. Who's got the energy to try new things? Meh. The CD sits.

Tuesday: Sensing that the concert may be nearing, I unwrap the CD in the morning before work. At some point, senility kicks in, and I forget about it for the rest of the day.

Wednesday: I manage to remember to put the CD in the car, and listen to the first five songs on the way to work. Could I name a song I heard, or even hum the tune? Um... wait, there was something about a guy, who did the thing, and then a 'dum badda de dum' kind of beat, and... no. I have no idea. The CD's got an avacado on the front; do I get any points for that?

Clearly, I've failed in my preparations. Which means now I'm going to be 'that guy' -- the crusty old fart at every concert who doesn't know any of the new shit, and remembers when 'these guys were so much better back in the day', and 'since when did they get a new drummer? 1998? Oh.', and 'can't you whippersnappers pull up your damned pants?' and 'who in the world is smoking pot in here?!?'.

I suppose I'm stuck with my impending Alzheimer's and liver spots, so I might as well embrace it. I'll be happy tonight, so long as the band gives a nod to the songs I remember from albums past -- just a sprinking of Jeremy, Evenflow, Daughter, Better Man, Glorified G, and... um, you know, that other song. The one about the woman by the counter. At the shop, in the town, or something. Maybe it's a 7-11? I don't know.

Oh, just shoot me now. It's bad enough I'm too old to keep up with the new music, but now it's been so long, I can't remember the old shit, either. Soon, all I'll have left is nursery rhymes and Lawrence Welk. And YOU KIDS GIT OFFA MY LAWN! Meh.

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