Transitions – Dance for Money!

[BIGLY Editor’s Note] Trying a new segment here. I was listening to an episode of Harmontown recently, in which Dan Harmon was talking about how his highschool self was obsessed with “transitional movements.” That his younger self wrote his journal in chapters and kind of forced transitions on his life. I think this is interesting for two reasons: 1) When you are in high school, you definitely want to “move on,” so you want to force that part of your life to move on. 2) Transitions I think are interesting, but they are impossible to fully see in real time. 

Well, i guess thats not quite true. If you are doing something big like moving to another city, you know you are transitioning. Sometimes its not clear till afterwards. 

But its important to a ton of people. People write songs about these sort of things

Which brings me to today’s preaching. This is going to be another Storytime entry, but a bit different. I have always wanted to write about this one night, but wasnt sure how to tackle it. Consider this a first draft. 

Much like all the other Storytime entries, all the names are different and their is slight story tweaks, so its basically fiction. But its based on a real night I had in my life. 

Also, I am going to let you know right now. There is no punchline. The storytime entries generally have some sort of fucked up thing that happens thats basically the punch line. This will not have that. 

Consider this a first draft of….something. I dont know what yet, but come along for the ride. 

The first semester of my freshman year of college was rough for me. Not in an academic sense. That was fine. But it was all that typical emo bullshit. Asked some girls out, it didnt work out or I got made fun of while passively being rejected. Couldnt get any friends going, any sort of circle. That kind of thing. 

So, at the start of the spring semester, when Thom called me to go see one of his favorite bands play in New Orleans, I was down. This band was some strong ass sad bastard music. I was notorious for backing out of shit I didnt want to do. Oh I hae a test to study for. I got the runs from some bad Taco Bell. Both my legs are broken in a horrible hot dog cart accident. 

But this time, I went. 

Thom picked me up on campus around 6pm and was in a depressed funk himself. He brought the Old High School Krewe with him, and one of the Krewe had important tactical data, aka gossip. Apparently, Thom’s girlfriend was either cheating on him already or was talking loudly about it. This caught Thom completely by surprise. So, as you can imagine, hanging with a depressed guy headed to a sad bastard music show had all the makings of a bitchin time. 

After alot of ranting and raving and depressed Wendy’s eating, we make it to the venue. To say the crowd wasn’t our type of person would be to be a comedy man.

Everyone was decked out in black or flannel. Lots of eyeliner on both the guys and the girls. The girl right in front of me in the crowd literally smelled like you just opened a fresh can of Play-Doh. Didn’t know that was a fragrance you could buy at Hot Topic. 

The opening act was passable, but the main band was total shite. No energy. Barely performing. You would have a better time listening to the actual record. But, its Thom’s favorite band, and he was having a bad night already. I wasnt going to be like “This is dog shit; lets get the fuck out of here.” 

I didn’t have to. Three songs in, Thom turns to me and says, “This is the worst show I have ever seen. Fuck we will find anything better to do.”

Once we make it to foyer, Thom starts apologizing. Explaining how good the band normally is. How its the fourth time he’s seen them, and he has never seen them that shitty. 

I was prepared for the night to be a complete sadness and shame tidal wave, but sometimes, fate has other plans. 

Between Thom, the Old High School Krewe, and myself, we were being so fucking loud on the way out no one could miss us. Especially not Jammin, sitting outside smoking Marlboro Blues. 

You see, Jammin went to Thom’s college, so I knew of him. I think I may have met him once or twice. The Old High School Krewe was clueless. 

And, I dont know what Jammin was on, but it was the good shit. Jammin strolls straight up and goes, “Fuckin waste of a show right? Lets go do something about that. I know this place in the back of the quarter with the best fuckin chicken sandwich on planet earth. Lets go chill out.” We clearly were lost to this world of ennui, so we all said, “Fuck yeah,” and went along for the ride.

Jammin was about 90 pounds wet and smoked like a dragon. But god damn, he took control of the night. Yelling at randoms as he walked down the street. Telling tourists not to get ripped off by the vendors in Jackson Square. Never losing his moving forward stride. Even as the vendors were telling him to go fuck himself, wishing to just deck him in the face. But nothing stopped Jammin. He seemed invincible. Invincibly stupid. 

And we could not stop laughing. Tears going down each of our faces. It didnt seem real. Seemed like something out of a movie. 

We get to one of the many daquiri shops along our journey. And they are BLASTING Right Thurr by Chingy, the rap jam of 2003. You can hear it a block and a half away. And none of us were rap fans.

But, Jammin was on celestial powers. Jammin hears the beat and screams, “OH THATS MY SHIT.” 

Jammin runs on the side walk and proceeds to power through every whiteboy dance move you could imagine. Running man. Cabbage patch. He starts breakdancing, which I didnt even know he could do. Middle of his dance, some guy at the bar, who already clearly had several 190 Octane’s with extra shots, runs up to Jammin waving his drink in the air. “YEAH WHITE BOY! GET IT!” 

The patron then slamms his drink on the end of the bar and makes it rain singles all over Jammin, “DANCE FOR MONEY BITCH! DANCE FOR IT WHITE BOY!” 

Jammin ends his performance with, what I learn later to be his signature move, The Shawshank. By then Right Thurr had ended and we gave him a full round of applause as he put his shirt back on and picked up the $13 in singles that paid for the appetizers at the sandwich place. 

The food at that joint was spectacular but the service was worth negative stars. It was like going to a Michelin star restaurant in that you were going to be there for 2 hours at least. Cause they were slow as fuck. Quick on the drinks. SLOWW on the food. 

But that night, we didn’t care. Jammin had heard about Thom’s women troubles, and said, “Man fuck bitches. You dont need to lick someone’s penny purse to be happy.” He then entertains us with stories of his own break ups, which were as ridiculous as the performance we had just witnessed. 

After the best chicken sandwich I had ever had, Jammin headed to a place he was crashing at, and we headed on our way, still wondering what the hell we just witnessed. 

 Only in retrospect do I know how big of a night that was. Shortly there after, I ended up making a ton of friends at Tulane. Thom broke up with his girlfriend and ended up taking a year to just find his way. Jammin became part of the Krewe and hung out with us regularly. In a weird way, at least for me, college didnt fully start until after that night. Everything began anew after that. And all it took was a crazy white boy laying a wave of destruction down decatur. 

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