10 of 10 pt V: Splinter
Before I get started; Hello Peru, Luxembourg and Kuwait. Thank you for reading.
"Is it everything you hoped it would be?"
It's hard to describe the weather in Texas. Especially in the winter time when it can be 19 degrees one day and 87 the next. Hell, even this year (2018) on into late April we had alternating days of weather, and my allergies paid the price. Bitching though I might be, I love this state. It's home for me.
So on December 9th, 2003 the Offspring released Splinter. It was the first album I bought for myself after I had become a die hard fan.
Backstory: I got into them probably around 7th grade. It was when "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) was dominating the radio waves, and when I first heard the song I freaked out. I was all, "No way, man! This is crazy good!" It was my first real introduction into pop-punk, and a whole new world opened up before my eyes. Every year in middle school we did this thing called a "musical review", and every year was a new theme, and I was always cast as something fun. In 5th grade I was Forrest Gump. Mastered that impression. One of my favorite teachers would always stop me in the halls and make me do the box of chocolate line, and while it might have gotten old to me, she always got a kick out of it. Anyway, in 7th grade the theme was Music Through The Ages. I had a super rad part in that, which I've already planned for another entry in this 10 of 10 so no more on that right now, but there was going to be a music video section toward the end of the show, and there were going to be a handful of songs chosen. Among those were Smash Mouth's "I Can't Get Enough Of You Baby", the Dixie Chicks' "Wide Open Spaces", and Backstreet Boys' "Everybody". I lobbied super hard for "Pretty Fly", and I eventually convinced whoever I needed to of the idea. Victory.
I was actually featured in the music video. It was a short clip of some suave dude dancing on a table in the library, a couple of girls dancing around him on the floor, and me in the background playing the drums incredibly poorly. So poorly that, like, I used my right hand to keep the kick beat on the floor tom. I had no idea how the instrument worked. I'm better now, I promise.
Anyway, I got super into them. I wasn't really allowed to listen to them, but in 2001 they released Conspiracy Of One, and I snuck that onto my Christmas list. Somehow I wound up getting it (I dunno, maybe I was super good that year or whatever), but I almost wore that disc out. I had nothing but that album playing on a loop probably until August of 2002. And that was only because I started picking up all of their other albums, combing through their back catalogue, listening to everything I could get my hands on. It all held me over until December 2003. End backstory.
It was Tuesday, December 9th 2003. I was a junior in high-school, and I had Calculus right before lunch. I had been waiting for this album for months, and I had to wait until the end of the school day to go get it. Such a bummer. My life was over. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?! Well, truth be told I have no idea how it happened, but in the middle of that particular Calculus class I wound up with my dad in his Mustang, driving down the road to Best Buy, and picking up the record. This is where I need to make it clear that Splinter is not my favorite album by the Offspring. Sure, there are songs like "The Noose", "Lightning Rod" and "Race Against Myself" that I will never skip if they come on shuffle. The album has some monster tracks, but my all time favorite Offspring album is Ixnay On The Hombre. So why am I writing about a non favorite album in a series of blogs about the albums that have been the most influential on my life?
Because I got to hang out with my dad. That's quite literally the only reason. Pure and simple.
I've already spoken about my dad and his unselfish ways in the Jesus Freak blog, but I must continue that particular character development. You see, this is the guy who would go out to my or my sister's car in the dead of Texas winter, in nothing but a t-shirt, boxers and my mom's fuzzy bunny slippers to thaw the windshield so we could enjoy our breakfasts and not be late for school. That's really just the highest tip of the ice berg, because he's really put himself in some miserable positions for our benefit. My father has been nothing but a saint to us since we arrived on this earth. I I only really know about a fraction of his life life, but in what I've experienced, he's never asked for one selfish thing. He's basically been committed to making sure his family around him has been more than taken care of and as happy as possible. The day Splinter was released was no different.
After I picked the CD up from Best Buy, he told me he had to pick up a few things, but he gave me the keys to the car, and told me I could go out and start listening if I wanted to. Of course I did. So I stepped outside, put the CD in the console, and "Neocon" blasted through the speakers of the fire truck red Mustang. I was in a great mood from the get go. As far as openers go...meh. Short, kinda powerful, not much content. It was like a statement for what was to follow on the entire album (Splinter is the shortest album the Offspring has released to date). But the sun was shining, and the air was still, and I wasn't in the cafeteria, so I was pretty happy. "The Noose" followed, and I've said it's still one of my favorite songs by the band. I think Dad got back to the care during "Long Way Home", and he asked me if it was everything I hoped it would be. I told him that it was just the first few tracks, but I was already digging it. And with that, we took off.
We went went somewhere close by for lunch (a drive thru so I wouldn't have to interrupt my listening pleasure), and then took off down the road. The opposite direction from the campus. He deliberately kept me out long enough to hear the whole album in its entirety. I can't help but feel like a lot of other parents would begrudgingly have their arms twisted so their child can go do something off campus during lunch. My father got me out of Calculus, took me to pick up the record, and then drove me around the Bryant Irvin area of Fort Worth so I could listen to the album in one chunk. I got back to school right before fourth period began. For the life of me I can't remember what class I had immediately after lunch, but that's not what matters. What matters is my dad pulled me out of Calculus, took me to buy the newest album by my then-favorite band, and let me play hooky long enough to listen to the album all the way through.
My dad and I have gone fishing together on Lake Benbrook. We've had a Father/Son trip to Bossier city to celebrate both of our birthdays. We would always ride roller coasters together when I was younger. He's been to every single one of my performances. He suggested that I take up the bass when I couldn't move my drums to college. He's been my confidante, the guy that always tells me he'll listen to my problems without offering advice just so I can vent. The guy really is my best friend. He's never let my dreams remain dreams, and he's always encouraged me to "go for it". Without him (and my mom of course), I don't think I'd be the man I am today. I've learned what it is to be a good person from him, and some of my favorite memories in life are shared with him.
So when I listen to Splinter, not anywhere close to my favorite Offspring album (still great though), I'm taken back to that warm, clear winter day in Texas, driving up and down Bryant Irvin with the top down, the music turned up, and hanging out with my dad. How can you have a favorite day of your life? I don't know if you can really narrow it down to one particular day. But if I had a top five, this would easily be one.
And for good measure, here's a picture of my immediate family, plus my newly born niece at one of my nephew's baseball games. It was just after I had started to come out of a fairly dark period, and without my family, I wouldn't have gotten out. This is my second favorite picture of us as a family. The smiles are genuine.
Also...my dad holding hands with my niece after she learned to walk. I swear to you, he has one of the biggest hearts ever. It's like a pot roast. I'm kidding. What a poorly timed, fairly tasteless joke that I stole from News Radio.
Editor's Note: I don't have an editor. If I did, He/she would probably chastise me for doing what those idiots who try to tell you their life stories before giving you the a certain recipe do. I don't give two damns or half a shit about your experience on a farm, Linda. Just tell me how to make the goddamn meatloaf. This article is also not proofread. It only is what it will ever be. The message remains the same.