Men are highly susceptible to linguistic memetics, just in case you were wondering.
I was told to shut up mid-sentence as Kyle cranked the expensive stereo.
The same stereo that I helped him install three years ago. The stereo that had honestly taught me everything I know about installing car stereos. The only car stereo I have ever installed.
The stereo that was more expensive than the pick-up truck we were riding in.
I was going to shut up & we were going to listen to All Right Now, By Free
“It’s my theme song,” Kyle said, apologetically
So it turns out, Kyle has a theme song.
“Because every good hero needs his own theme song.”
It was touching really, the expression on Kyle’s face. He looked at me & in an instant I recognized it as one of those moments in life when the person I was in the car with suddenly realizes that I was not in that particular circle of friends.
That circle of friends where shit like theme songs are an accepted part of the old click’s culture.
I was cool with it on many levels. I had never thought about it before, but at that instant I knew that I had always wanted a friend that had his own theme song.
Having your own theme song might not be a strictly guy thing. My sister has one that dates back to her softball days, those heady days were I got to watch her break her nose twice, on two separate occasions, because she just can’t judge the distance between her glove & the ball on a center field fly.
The first time she broke her nose I was family & I was worried, sort of. As the only family member present, I feigned concern & sympathy. The second time I just laughed, I mean, this was the same girl that I watched knock herself out cold with her own baseball bat in our back yard when mom & dad were at work.
To be fair, it was my baseball bat. My wooden Louisville slugger, & at the time it was about as big as she was. Dad should have been the one to teach her to play baseball, my friends & I were Ultimate Frisbee people.
For those of you keeping score, her theme song is “TNT” by ACDC.
So yeah, Kyle’s theme song might not be a guy thing, but his embarrassed explanation of why he has a theme song was totally a guy thing.
“Every good hero needs a good theme song,” he said. No more needed to be spoken. We are both the same age & I’m Gonna Git you Sucka is a movie that boys our age knew by heart when it was popular. Well, we still know it by heart.
Thanks to the fact that it wasn’t in any of the North side or suburban theaters when it came out, we all know it from that moment of discovery at the local video rental. There are a lot of classic kid movies that were discovered from roaming the aisles of video rentals. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka is just one of them. Evil Dead 2 is another, by far more popular, childhood cult classic.
I remember when both of them were found in my life. I wasn’t there when Kyle & his childhood circle of friends first found that gem, but I can reconstruct the scene. A small group, Kyle included, had nothing to do on a weekend. He lived in the burbs at the time, so they probably rode their bikes rather than took the bus, spent a couple of hours walking up & down the aisles, arguing with each other about what they should rent as they made fun of the movies they were certainly NOT going to rent.
And then one of them found it & the cover alone sold them on the movie. The cover made it look both action packed & hysterical. They returned to a basement, popped it in a VHS player & laughed their asses off.
From there it developed a cult following. A following where a certain quote just kept on getting repeated.
In my case it was: “One rib.”
In Kyle’s life the quote was “Every good hero needs a good theme song.”
That quote, as happens in guy world, quickly became epic. Because it became epic, Kyle & that little circle of friends each adapted their own theme songs.
That is a male thing, that is the type of male thing that men don’t tell their girl friends about. So girls, when you hear your significant other & his close guy friends say shit that you don’t understand, that’s how it started.
It doesn’t always have to be a childhood movie that does it.
“Billy?” Translates into “Do you want another beer?” amongst some of my guy friends. The proper response to this would be “help me.” That exchange came from a song that we heard, a song that I cannot remember, where the lyrics were “Billy, help me.” In our drunken minds, that was hysterical & soon became epic, & for some reason turned into to a way to ask for beers.
“Billy?” I’d yell as I stand up to grab myself another round.
“Help me! I’m good. Help me! Help me!”
“So I have three help me’s & an I’m good?”
Some times, to my embarrassment, I break out a “Billy?” or even a “help me.” When I find myself drinking with people that are not privy to the inner workings of that circle of guy friends.
“Fucking Azerty!” Is another, much more recent, piece of guy code. This is screamed when something that is usually so easy you should be able to do it blindfolded has become overly complicated for no good reason whatsoever.
A brief explanation sometimes works with other guys. Men understand how this type of private code evolves from absolutely nothing. They also understand the embarrassment behind it when one finds himself using said codes around the wrong people. In this case, if the embarrassment is too much, a simple “nevermind,” generally works with other guy friends as well. We have all been there, we all have our codes, our guy talk, & we are all embarrassed about the childishness that comes with it.
I can understand Kyle’s embarrassment over his theme song. Just like I can understand how his simple explanation of; “Every good hero needs a good theme song,” is all he needed to say to explain the situation.
Guys are embarrassed by their codes. We just are, even around other guys & that embarrassment is all women’s faults. “Billy,” might be a perfectly acceptable way to ask if you need a beer in guy world & if used around other guy’s that are not in your circle is an acceptable & very minor faux pas.
But women don’t see the humor in it. Some of them, like Mark’s wife, who was also a high school girlfriend, who had grown up drinking with us, will refuse to do it.
“Billy?” I’d call as I stand up to grab myself another round.
“I’ll have a beer,” she will say, because she understands the code & thinks its fucking stupid & refuses to adapt herself to our idiotic guy culture.
If you are a guy, the private guy culture expands with time & the amount of pop culture consumed. The use of this private culture of in-jokes & code words increases with inebriation. I have had friends that I’ve known since the first grade. I have had girlfriends who have sworn to God that my guy friends & I talk in gibberish when we get shit-faced.
It could start off innocently enough, my soon to be ex-girlfriend, trying to make conversation in what she knows is my group of extremely political friends might chirp in with:
“Did you hear the shit Bush was saying in his state of the Union?”
At which point a drunk Sarge would reply with:
“The Gibberish People, by the way, are a little known Middle Eastern culture renowned for their slightly confusing architecture & their baked goods.”
And I, forgetting that it was my girlfriend that initiated the conversation, would instantly & habitually back Sarge up with:
“Right, & Stalin taught Castro how to throw a curve ball.”
“Averty is like a shaved, sweaty, ass.”
“It’s an animal, Sam.”
All of this, by the way, dates back to either previous conversations–usually mocking the stupidity of a close friend–or pop culture & people like Mark’s wife have been around it enough to realize that it is not simply gibberish that is being spoken here. It’s an actual conversation we are having. These weird sounds & traditions have an actual meaning. The meaning is certainly more complicated than just using plain English, but regular English is no where near as much fun to say. Mark’s wife can interpret all of that just fine. And if she wanted to, she could even use the cliche’s & in-jokes to communicate with us.
But she doesn’t, because it’s stupid guy shit.
Sometimes women will ask us what that means:
“What does ‘like a shaved, sweaty, ass’ mean?”
They ask these things, not because they really want to know, but because they want to mock us for our stupidity.
This is the reason why guy’s get embarrassed, even around other guys, when they start using the codes & doing the things that they normally would only do around certain other guy friends. Women have taught us to be ashamed by how stupid men can act around other men. No matter how innocent it is, women have programmed us to look at these things with shame.
We have been programmed by every girl we have ever had a crush on since the third grade to keep our little theme songs a secret because the women folk, they are certainly going to mock us for our stupidity.
Because it is stupidity. It’s childish stupidity. Women have their own childish stupidity, but to their childish stupidity is no where near as stupid as guys childish stupidity. Mainly, well, because guys stop developing socially at around 12, as a gender we have never really gotten beyond the dick & fart jokes. If your boyfriend doesn’t think that movies like Chasing Amy are funny, he is either a liar (for good reason) or mentally ill.
Kyle, because women have trained him well, was momentarily ashamed of his theme song.
But now I am seriously thinking about getting my own theme song.
Because every good hero needs a good theme song.
I want it to be macho, masculine, mature, firinscneach, sophisticated, maturité. I want it to let people know that I am the manly man that I am. I want it to explain that I am very well educated, that I can tell, at a glance, the difference between a Roman bust of Venus & a Renaissance bust of Venus. But yet, I want it to also tell people that I am the mature type of man that would use the handle of “Bubbles” while murdering his digital friends in college on a series of now defunct & antiquated video game councils.
So I was thinking, I’d pick up Cherry Bomb, by the Runaways, as my new theme song, for reasons that only a certain circle of friends will ever really understand.
Can’t stay at home, can’t stay at school
Old folks say, ya poor little fool
Down the street I’m the girl next door
I’m the fox you’ve been waiting for