MY INAUGURAL FEATURE FOR VICE’S CHUNKLET TO GO GO SERIES…
CAN BE READ BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK OR LOOKING UNDERNEATH THIS STATEMENT (I LEFT OUT THE SUB-LITERATE COMMENTS)!
Chunklet To Go Go: Steve Miller’s Account of Intercepting a
Box of Records Addressed to His Son
By Andrew Earles
I love the fucking view when the sun decides to come out for a change. Any goddamned asshole who says they can name a better view than this one of Puget Sound, from my kitchen window, when the sun graces us with its rare light, has their butthole permanently stitched around their head.
So that’s what I was doing that morning in October 2011…sitting at my breakfast table. Staring out the window. That’s proof right there that the sun was out, cuz if it was one of the 364 days of overcast we have up here, chances are I wouldn’t have been out of bed before eight at night.
It was something like, I dunno, ten in the morning. Then it was something like, say, two in the afternoon on account of my taking an unscheduled nap…sitting upright at the table.
It was the UPS man at the gate. That’s what woke me. I tied my 2XL terrycloth bathrobe, a gift from my ex-wife, around my ample gut and shuffled down the driveway, where a really, really, really fucking heavy box was waiting for my signature.
It was addressed to my son, Collin. He was away a college in Olympia…a sophomore at Evergay or whatever. Some liberal farts joint his mom let him go to. I signed for the package and tried to slip the UPS guy a fiver to let me borrow his dolly so I could get this goddamned thing back up the driveway, but he whined about being behind schedule or some shit and I was left with this week’s workout routine. At least I could cross that off the list and stick a big middle-digit in my doctor’s face during my checkup next week.
By the time I slammed the box down on the kitchen table, I couldn’t feel my right arm or remember my birth date. After three glasses of water and a bottle of beer, my vision was back to normal and I noticed the box had “Phonograph Records: Handle with Care and Do Not Expose to High Temperatures!” scrawled across the bottom underneath the address.
Vinyl records, huh? I fetched a steak knife from the nearest drawer and went to work on the packing tape…whoever sent this monster must have used the whole fuckin’ roll. But hey, I wasn’t living in any cave when it came to the vinyl revolution of the last few years. Seeing as how the number of things me and the boy can base an actual conversation on is exactly zilch plus zero plus not-shit, it felt like the right thing to do.
Many of the Steve Miller Band albums have been reissued on 180, or sometimes, 200-gram virgin vinyl, and you bet yer dick they sound pristine! That’s why I bought a new record-player and had the home system set up with a pre-amp last year, though that whole “vinyl sounds better than CD’s” thing is something I don’t personally hear with these ears. Cool to see all my old artwork getting the 70’s iMax treatment, though.
It was right about then that my phone buzzed with a text message. I had gotten the hang of the reading part when it came to texting, but replying was another son-of-a-bitch. And sending one cold? Shit, I had been known to hand the damned thing to a stranger in the grocery store and dictate what I needed them to send with my phone.
It was Collin.
“Hey dad, I accidently sent a box of records to the house because the billing address was the same as the mailing address…just put it in my room on my desk? Thanks.”
The little keys on the phone are way too small for my big fat swollen fingers. I swear to god some mornings I wake up and it’s like someone broke into the house and replaced my fingers with ten fuckin’ Hebrew National franks.
“Sur ting, Colleen”
He hates it when I call him ‘Colleen’
I stopped for a second and thought of how it would feel if I found a 200-gram, virgin-vinyl Book Of Dreams reissue hidden in the gazillion records I was about to snoop through, but the album on the top of the stack flushed any fantasies of father-son kinship right down the commode.
Was I really looking at a record by a band called ‘Fuck, I’m Dead’?!?
It didn’t stop there. I can’t read band names that look like tree roots or bloody vomit, so I had to get out my magnifying monocle and read the band names from the album cover spines. The next one was a band called, are you ready for this…
Then there was a record by family favorites….
I remember thinking it was like that time, about eight years ago, when my manager insisted that I get a web site to promote myself, and I said to him…
“I W W W dot don’t fucking care dot com!”
Actually, this wasn’t like that at all. And the hits just kept coming.
‘Womb of Maggots’
Squash fucking Bowels…you have got to be kidding me.
Hey, I could relate to that one, boss!
And the stuff on these record covers. It made me pull the shades and curtains on the only day of sunshine we were probably going to have all year! Were the cops going to show up at the door? Did they X-ray this package at the post-office? Christ on a fucking crutch I could not believe what I was seeing!
I mean, what did this shit sound like? I decided to throw one on the turntable…I was just too curious. This was sending me over the edge and I chose the one record that felt like the last straw…by a band called…
I could only take about 30 seconds of it, which happened to be the length of the first song. I have said it before but this time I meant it…
YOU CALL THIS MUSIC?!?!?
By that point, in order to deal with the trauma of my son’s taste in “music,” I had pounded away at least a twelve-pack of Michelob Light. I was feeling nervy on top of all the other shit going through my head.
I had never taken a picture with my phone but I remember my ex-wife saying that all you had to do was point the phone and hit the big button. I took the album off of the record player, cleared the kitchen table of everything else that was in that box, and placed it square and center.
Climbing onto the table after testing it for stability, I pulled down my pajama pants and dropped a steaming coil directly onto the front cover of the Endangered Feces record.
I aimed the phone and pressed the big button. It was surprisingly easy to send the picture because my son was the last (and probably only) person to text me.
I waited five minutes. Then ten. Fuck it…I couldn’t resist so I called his number. He answered on the fourth ring…
“You get the pitcture?”
“Yeah, is that what I think it is?”
“You bet yer skinny little ass it is! Call the National Wildlife Federation and tell ‘em to take feces off the endangered list, Colleen!!”
I hung up and passed out on the kitchen floor until nine the next morning.