It was my first trip away from home that did not involve family of some sort. A school trip, all of us piled in a much too hot bus that smelled of sweat, Bubble Yum, and the early onset of adolescence. I held the tape player between my knees, squishing in closer to Christina so we could both hear, finally snapping the headphones in two. Matt turned around and popped his head over the seats, asked what we were listening to. I let him take my half of the headphones and he started belting out Blondie’s Rip Her To Shreds.

Music just pulsed through him all the time, which was probably what I liked so much about him. He was the stereotypical Son of a Preacher man, I suppose, rebelling in the only way you can when you are still so young and are an actual preacher’s son. Though I think his Father had music in him, too; I’d seen the way he lingered a bit too long when the choirs were practicing, and Matt told me his Dad bought him his first guitar.

Years later I would hear this song often. The seventies were part of my own perceived rebellion, or more than that, part of me taking my first steps into becoming myself. It was 1989, and I would climb up on a stage to dance with James to this song, or spin around on an old roller skating rink turned dance-floor, with Kate.

And yeah, there were girls who fit this song who graced the same streets of Hollywood that we did. And yeah, there were probably girls who sang this picturing my friends and I. It is always so easy to rip someone to shreds. But, honestly I much prefer to laugh at this song, and the memory of a twelve year old rockabilly boy singing it on a school bus, or a cross-dressing bookstore clerk doing his thing on a raised platform.

Rip Her To Shreds :: Blondie

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