Yesterday was my birthday. During the headiness that such moments facilitate, I agreed to start my post-birthday morning with a radio appearance that necessitated waking up at 6:15. Unsurprisingly, said radio appearance featured a solid performance, as I referred to my day job as "thewashingtonindependent.com," which is some site called Page Load Error, and mistakenly said that an investigation into Pat Tillman’s death cleared Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal of all wrongdoing, when in fact the Army overruled a Pentagon recommendation that McChrystal be disciplined. Listeners of The Takeaway, I apologize. It’s a ragged morning. This has to stop before I cover McChrystal’s confirmation in an hour. For washingtonindependent.com.

So I walked to my office from the 16th Street studio — not knowing that the cabbie who drove me to the studio was in fact waiting to pick me up, even though this is in fact standard procedure, as his dispatcher just now gently informed me on the phone — and remembered that Attackerlady had kindly purchased for me a live CD of Atom & His Package‘s final show. An extremely generous and attentive woman, she remembered me remarking months ago in passing that a friend of mine used to be in a band called Deadguy that Atom & His Package referenced in a song whose name I had long since forgotten. (It’s "Avenger.") So, nearly half-my-life after waltzing with a crusty in an NYU student-center lounge to an Atom performance, I trodded up Connecticut Avenue to "Punk Rock Academy." To be young again! To again giggle at the spectacle of a nerdy punk rocker making treacly and gently music with the aid of sequencers and singing about befriending black metalists!

As it turns out, Atom doesn’t exactly age well. I think you’d have to have grown up with him and been like what-the-fuck-is-this when listening to the first record in Jesse Cannon’s van and getting over him after the second record’s novelty wore off and you’d almost certainly have to have had some background in the obsessive and sectarian world of mid-to-late-90s hardcore. But if you meet those criteria, what a joy it is, during a morning spent in an internal debate about the utility of throwing up on a public street, to once again reconnect with such a rich youthful treasure.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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