Soundtrack to Life – Nights With The Crew

Yup, late again. I don’t intend on making a habit of this. What’s this week’s excuse? Lack of time once more. Seems like the only real time I get for online writing is what little time I get before work, the occasional evening/afternoon after work and the early, really early mornings, we’re talkin’ between 3 and 6 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. It’s a constant struggle. Everyone’s into Diablo once again, so computer time is restricted. So let’s see. Where do we go today? How about something universal. How about a song that most of us would have on our soundtrack? I’ll tell ya though, this one’s more for the punk crowd, but I think most anyone could relate. It’s all in what you think of when you hear it.

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Nights With The Crew

“Look What Happened” by Less Than Jake

And I swear it’s the last time, and I swear it’s my last try
And we’ll walk in circles around this whole block
Walk on the cracks on the same old sidewalk
And we’ll talk about leaving town
Yeah we’ll talk about leaving
I swear it’s the last time, and I swear it’s my last try

There it was, late ’99, early ’00. Finally, I was finally being broken out of the boondocks. Called along for the little adventures that were planned. And there we were, four young men against the world. Myself, the recluse with a biting wit. Jay, the anti-establishment punk, looking for his escape. Musse, a bit of a worry wart but always a voice of reason. And Tim, who’s motto was “Live your life like you’re in a movie. That way you’ll look your best at all times.” Kind of an odd clique, that we were. Each of us occasionally taking cues from the others. We were like something out of movie, ya know, where each guy serves his own purpose and the team works together to achieve their goal. We were nightowls. We thrived at night. In fact that’s when most of the good stories take place. A lot of ’em usually followed a few hours at Webb’s downing cup after cup of coffee.

But that was it. Senior year. In a few short months we’d be graduates. A world of options ahead of us. So around this time, we kinda looked at it like the last big bash. Who knew who was going where or doing what. Jay was liable to pick up and leave, and from the looks of it, I’d be going with him. Musse was looking at schooling and Tim has always had the air of success around him. This very well could be the last hurrah. So we spent a lot of time out on the town, whatever town that may be.

We rode across that bridge all night
We talked our way through city lights
Traced all the lines, we’re killing time
Under those buzzing signs
From downtown to anywhere but here
Tonight yeah I swear to these rooftops
And just hoped that car would never stop
And I swear it’s the last time, and I swear it’s my last try
And we’ll walk in circles around this whole block
Walk on the cracks on the same old sidewalk
And we’ll talk about leaving town
Yeah we’ll talk about leaving
I swear it’s the last time, and I swear it’s my last try

A tame night would include playing Tony Hawk, or Risk and watching a few movies. Still fun as we tended to throw our own commentary into movies. And anyone who’s really gotten into Risk knows what a four hour game can get like with a heated rivalry going on. But those are just the nights we’d stay in. Many a given night in West Bend, any combination of the four of us could be seen wandering around, just walking and chatting. Most of the time we were just griping about this town, and who at our age didn’t. Live in one place for most of your life and the scenery is bound to get boring. We’d take many different paths, just meandering across town, no specific destination, just going where the whim would take us. I enjoyed nights like this.

There aren’t many places to go that time of night, so ya gotta make due with what’s available. Webb’s, always a natural choice. It was fun just staying up late enough to go to Sandy’s Barton Cafe at 4:30 in the morning. Of course by that time we’d be in that pleasant state of loopy where everything is funny, including making the cream decanters moo at people. Another favorite stop was Pick n Save South. Open 24/7 with a little sitting area, generally utilized by the elderly, to have a snack or something. And so we’d go there, get some Little Juan burritos and a bunch of junk food and just sit there watching the late night traffic. A good portion of it was drunk/stoned teens making a midnight run for snacks. We’d just sit there getting dirty looks from store clerks and cracking jokes at the expense of eachother and any patrons of the store we happened to know. Other times, we’d just explore. Adam and Jay actually mapped out part of the sewer system they were able to access one night. The train tressle was also a fun little stop, a hole beneath the tracks where you couldn’t be spotted by the casual observer. Sometimes these little sprees of ours would find us climbing into bed as the sun rose. Yeah, those were the tame nights though.

We drove around that place all night
Passed closed signs and familiar sights
We’re moving by, killing time
Counting those center lines
With twenty-thousand lines left to go
That lead to somewhere I don’t know
It might be the time we leave this all behind
And I swear it’s the last time, and I swear it’s my last try
And we’ll walk in circles around this whole block
Walk on the cracks on the same old sidewalk
And we’ll talk about leaving town
Yeah we’ll talk about leaving
I swear it’s the last time, and I swear it’s my last try

Okay, so we weren’t the wildest bunch, but we knew where to find fun when all else failed.

One night, Jay and I decided just to skate around town. But ya see, I’m a lame ass, and I don’t have a skateboard. But I do have rollerblades, so we were good to go. I could go some of the places he couldn’t naturally, but he was faster due to the fact that he’d been on his board longer than I’d been on my blades. Had a cop stop us as we cut across the highway. Come on, we were safe. So, just cruising along, Jay goes down a loading ramp at a store. See, I thought it was open on the end, not a wall of concrete. Did I mention I can’t really brake on my blades either? Yeah, fun time. But rather than slamming into the wall, I caught myself on the guide rail. Narurally, I was going at a good clip already, so my feet flew out from under me and I did a sideways superman into the wall before falling to the ground. Ow.

I was never along for any of their roof climbing exploits, though they did get caught for trespassing once. We got stopped by the cops all the time but they never had anything on us.

Ya know how sometimes a store will have free AOL CDs? Well Jay collected them. Seriously, he had a massive amount of these things. But to us, they weren’t CDs, oh no. They were Flying Discs of Death! I remember engaging in more than one Flying Disc of Death war in some parking lot in the middle of the night. Those little bastards hurt! Especially when they had chipped away into jagged edges. I was absent for the biggest of these wars which took place at Jay’s house between the basement and ground floor. The stairwell was a warzone. Blood was drawn on more than one combatant.

And then there was Tuesday Night Football League. The four of us teamed up with Gintner and BJ to have two three-man teams. Midnight football on the UWWC football field, full contact of course. Everyone got injured at some point. Afterwards, we the six combatants would stagger into Webb’s, getting odd looks from all the patrons.

Messing with anyone out on the highway is fun. I recommend Halloween masks. So little, but they say so much. We had a bleeding skull mask that Jay would wear during drives. Any time we got near someone, he’d press his face to the window until our fellow commuter would take notice. Some would laugh, others would just speed up. All in good fun.

One of my fonder memories would be of the snowfall of 2000. Jay and I had been up all night, everyone else had passed out. When we saw there was a nice coat of snow already on the ground, we tried to rouse the troops. By this time, it was about 3am, so nobody was moving. We proceded to step outside and have a snowball fight right in the intersection. It was the good kind of packing snow. After we bored ourselves with that, we built a snowman right on the bus stop. Just sitting there on the street corner. Let the kids figure it out. The snow hadn’t been touched, so we had to wander the town. We would slide down the hills and throw ourselves into the snowbanks that were up from previous snowfalls. We visited Tia, but of course she wasn’t awake, so we left a message in the snow outside her apartment. “Moo! 5:20am”. Naturally a cop stopped us eventually, but he didn’t really care that we were out so early, just cautioning us of conditions.

And lastly, a true sign that we live in a boring town. Jay was all about dumpster diving, so he’d look for the good spots to hit up. Pick n Save North and South don’t have dumpsters that are accessible, but they leave their baked goods that are a day past expiration in shopping carts out back. At least…. they used to…. eh heh heh! Myself, Jay and Musse visited the North store one night after working at the Haunted House. We checked out back, but there were no doughnuts or anything like that. But there were two shopping carts full of bread. Jay seizes the moment and shoves all the bread in back of Musse’s Baretta with me. The mere idea of carrying that much bread had us just rolling while he did this. As we drove around, Jay was dropping loaves out the window, throwing them where ever. We stopped at McDonald’s to visit Musse’s mom. Jay left a loaf on the roof of the car and rolled another up in the window. Upon leaving McDonald’s after our brief visit, Jay snatches up the bread on the car and nails me with it.

“What are you trying to do? Start a bread fight?”

Jay snapped his fingers and pointed right at me.

“Duuuude!”

We rolled out and found ourselves in the UWWC parking lot. No view from the road, no security cameras. Jay and I leapt from the car and began wailing on eachother with the purloined loaves. Musse joined us shortly thereafter. You can really only get one good shot out of a loaf of bread before the bag tears and slices go everywhere. Somewhere around 50 loaves of white bread littered the parking lot, left for the birds in the morning.

And there’s been a few times
That we thought it felt right
To take the westbound signs
And just leave town tonight
And I swear it’s the last time, and I swear it’s my last try
And we’ll walk in circles around this whole block
Walk on the cracks on the same old sidewalk
And we’ll talk about leaving town
Yeah we’ll talk about leaving
I swear it’s the last time, and I swear it’s my last try

Ahh. Good times, good times.

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com