Friday, December 14, 2001 @ 11:44 AM
The Rock n' Roll Ranting Of A
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Welcome to the dump where Jeff Kerby lives in his Pinto and swills mind numbing alcohol case after battered case. I have been assured that every couple of weeks I will receive a column from him undoubtedly written on one of the torn up bags which he uses to house his malt liquor. It seems this poor guy lives with all that society throws away only to find solace in a bottle of fire. Here it is, Kerby’s 40 Oz. Of Hell. Be glad you only get to visit -- he has to live there. – Ed.
Today’s Episode: Scott Stapp’s Nostrils Suck
“Do you know why you’re in my office?”
I glanced around at all of the advanced psychiatric degrees hanging behind the speaker seated at his desk in front of me. The physician had a large white Afro that looked like fluffy cotton which contrasted sharply with his ruddy-pig pink skin. The whole time I sat there before him I couldn’t help but think he looked like a red and white version of Buckwheat. Covering most of the faux oak paneling of Dr. Elliot Allen’s office were several volumes of leather bound textbooks placed on shelves along the walls on either side of me. They were books with titles like, “Why Johnny Killed A Hamster” and “The Neurological Dangers Inherent in Brussel Sprouts.”
“Yes,” I said as I tried to answer him while simultaneously reading the names etched on the spines of the other books. “Uhm, it’s my understanding that you’re the prison head doctor guy and…the court has determined that….let me guess…we are supposed to meet here so that you can ascertain my mental stability and whether or not I’m fit to stand trial for various sexually-based midget related hate crimes.”
“Ok. Good. You’re right. That’s exactly what we’re here to do. I just have some questions here and….it’s gonna be all right. Just relax.”
Shit, I was already zoning. This had the potential to be brutal. The last thing I wanted to do at this juncture of my incarceration was tell this guy all kinds of details about my adolescence while simultaneously blaming my parents’ shitty child rearing skills or my over sized nose for all the poor-assed decisions I’ve made in my life. Let me be clear on this point -- everything I’ve ever done wrong in my life is my fault. Plain and simple. I know it, my mom knows it -- everyone who has ever met me knows it. Why can’t the public defender assigned to my case know it? I’ve only talked to him twice since my arrest, and on the second meeting he was already instructing me to go to the good Dr. Head shrink and tell him, “You know, let him hear all of it. Every sick thing that’s ever happened to you, just tell him. Let him know that Ms. Boo Hoo Hurt Midget wasn’t the only victim on that dark night. Dammit Jeff, you’ve got to tell the world that you’re the victim. Only you didn’t just suffer one night -- no, no, you my friend, have suffered for years. You lived in a car, frequented prostitutes -- you even made…you made -- you created obscene Halloween decorations!”
The lawyer was more than a little overly dramatic here, but nevertheless, when I first found out about the appointment, I tried to prep for it as best I could. I did it by frowning a lot in my cell and listening to both Staind albums, but I just couldn’t imagine going through with this whole self-pity act in front of a shrink. I still can’t envision it, in fact. Just think, Aaron Lewis probably would’ve had this doctor simultaneously crying and ejaculating into his textbook over this new syndrome he would discover. I could picture it now -- this psychiatrist could make a diagnosis and then get paid millions of dollars for writing articles and doing interviews about this new Generation X complex he uncovered which would become known to everyone world wide as the Potato Head Syndrome. Come to think of it, I really can’t blame Aaron too much for being pissed off and crying all the time, if my head looked like a cantaloupe some elderly woman had just dropped onto the cold linoleum of the produce aisle, I would probably have had some issues to deal with too. Can you imagine what his adolescence must have been like? It’s a certainty that he was called every name in the book while growing up. I’m sure he heard every derogatory taunt imaginable from Lumpy to Testicle Head. If his battered skull shape wasn’t enough, in those videos, when he sings and gets all into it, his face gets all contorted and his arms shorten up and he ends up looking like a cross between Joe Cocker and a tubby penguin. Yeah, I’d say “it’s been awhile” since the members of his gene pool had heads that would roll smoothly down a bowling alley rather than going “thump thump, thump thump” before slamming shamefully into the gutter and falling into oblivion -- kinda like the band’s career is destined to do in another six and a half minutes.
I really can’t blame Aaron Lewis too much for being pissed off and crying all the time, if my head looked like a cantaloupe some elderly woman had just dropped onto the cold linoleum of the produce aisle, I would probably have had some issues to deal with too.
Regardless of what I tried, I still couldn’t muster up enough whiny maternal hatred to bag on mom. Even after that letter she sent me last week, I’ve found that I can’t -- mostly because she’s at least partially right, I am an evil bastard. You know, I’m sure that if I wanted to, I could make a big deal out of the two weeks she locked me in the closet leaving me to eat and sleep while fermenting in my own waste…or there was that time when I was six and she abandoned me in the Pinto (yeah, same Pinto) for like three hours in June while she went to play bingo at the Indian Casino. When ma came back out I had lost about fifteen pounds. I have no delusions here. If there was ever a classic case of fuck up syndrome, it resides deeply within me. Let’s face it. I’m not crazy. I have certain issues maybe, but I’m not nuts. At least I don’t think so.
“Doc, doc.” I blurted. “I know this isn’t what you usually hear, but I’ve got to say -- I’m not crazy. I’m just not. That’s it. I’m okay. Nothing really that I need to add. That’s all. The simple fact is that I just, well, I just….see, I screwed the midget because I’m a lustful sinner with…I don’t mean to brag here, but I think I must harness a pretty potent pelvic thrust. The girl just fuckin’ flew. I feel bad and all, but I don’t know what else I can say. Since I don’t want to waste any more of your time, if it’s alright…”
“Ok. Ok. Hang on a second, Mr. Kerby. I understand what you’re saying here. It is refreshing to hear an inmate come in here and not try to blame everyone else under the sun for the crimes they’ve committed. In lieu of that, I’m willing to waive all the perfunctory questions I’m normally required to ask if you would just let me know why you were found in your cell yesterday morning sobbing uncontrollably. Just tell me a little about that, and I’ll let you go. No inquiries about your formative years or your relationship with your first dog. Just tell me about this one incident, and you’re free to go.”
Oooh. Shit. I don’t want to talk about that. Hmm. Better lie.
“Doc, darnit. I was upset about not seeing my mom in awhile. I just couldn’t take it any more and I had to cry. I sure am ashamed of it right now, so I don’t want to say too much, but you know how it is. A guy’s love for mom and all.” He looked at me without expression before finally addressing me again. “Kerby, you see this?” He picked up a thick stack of white paper. “It’s fifty pages of probative questions that we’re required by law to delve into over the next two weeks. It’s considered proper protocol for anyone being diagnosed. Now, instead of that, here I am out of the goodness of my heart, giving you a chance to get out all this, and what do you do? You throw this ridiculous lie at me. You have one more chance. That’s it. Oh yeah, before you start, let me just inform you that even though I’m not supposed to bring any extraneous information into this private session, let’s just say I’ve done some reading lately. And Mr. Kerby, I’ve got to say that tales of unbridled love primarily focused on blow up dolls and a French fry penis just aren’t good evidence of mental stability. The certainly won’t help you in court. Furthermore, when your audience writes things like “With Kerby around, who needs drugs?” underneath your articles on a station as deprived of prudence as KNAC.com -- that says something. What it says is that you’d better start talking.”
I could feel the heat pushing up against my outer layer of skin, and the top of my head seemed to want to collapse into my lower skull. This was embarrassing. I was getting harassed badly enough from the other convicts on the cell block after I awoke that morning sweating cold rivets and screaming for any type of assistance to arrive. No one knew what the hell was wrong with me, so they all just ended up yelling back and forth to each other that the Incubus had finally got to me and that now I was officially a “thenthitive” young man. I hadn’t told anybody including the prison guard what had happened, but now, if I didn’t confess truthfully to Dr. Elliot, he was going to catch me, and I was going to end up getting shrunk by the shrink for the next three weeks. I was set up to fail -- I am the worst liar in the world.
Divulging the truth appeared to be the proper course of action here. Hell, what had I to fear? It was all perfectly understandable. The events that I related to the doctor pretty much went as follows and of course are entirely free of embellishment. Understand that this whole hellish chain of events would have to start with my mother. After that letter from her last week, I thought I had heard the last from mom for a while -- no such luck, I got another from her this week along with a package. It read:
I sent that correspondence to you a week ago, and it has suddenly occurred to me that if this was this was an episode of 7th Heaven, this would be the portion of the program where I’m supposed to say that I’ve reconsidered my harsh words to you and that as a mother, I’ve decided that I was wrong. Well son, that is never going to happen. The truth is that I wasn’t incorrect in my assessment. The fact is and always has been that you are essentially a bad person. Printing that letter in your last article was just proof. Messages sent between a mother and her son should remain private. In any case, they certainly shouldn’t be placed on some iniquitous website where every derelict in the world can not only read what I write but comment on it as well.
Tales of unbridled love primarily focused on blow up dolls and a French fry penis just aren’t good evidence of mental stability. The certainly won’t help you in court.
I’m not stupid dear, I know that you hold me up for ridicule to your little pack of hellions, but do you know what that will ultimately get you? Do you know what that will eventually earn you in this spiritual sweepstakes where souls are won and lost? I’ll tell you what it will get you, Sinnerboy -- a trip to that burning lake of fire where the devil sits on his thrown and shrieks for the God he has forsaken. It’s in that hellish environment where you will eventually be forced to see the error of your ways while weeping, gnashing your teeth and chipping away at large rocks with nothing but a pickaxe and a tiny nail file. Laugh at me all you want to but I tell you what, I will have the last laugh when I am there singing and rejoicing with Mahatma Ghandi, Martha Stewart and all the Popes. All of them, Jeff. Every last one of them. Pope John, Pope John John and Pope John John the third, fifth and tenth. We will all be in heaven belting out hymns to the lord while rocking the cathedral with our own brand of praise for all of eternity. The whole time we do this, you can be assured that we are looking down haughtily at the sinful throngs who toil hopelessly beneath us.
Jeff, I told you before that I had already washed my hands of you, however, after Bible study last Tuesday night, I read a verse about the blood of those left unconverted being required of the believers in heaven. Who knows what that means? I have no idea about what kind of specific penance we might be talking about here, but I do know that I don’t want to miss one minute of that big righteous party above. In hopes that I might avoid this, I’m sending you the new Creed CD. I am giving you this gift of the soul because it’s said these guys are groovy and completely rock, but they do it in a way that pays tribute to our respected Lord. They are nice young men who have the big prize in mind. Listen to it, sinner. Let the cup of righteousness fill you.
Hmm…I thought for a second there she was trying to save me from hell.
I had opened her correspondence around 10 o’clock, so it was about time for lights to go out on the cellblock. Before they did, I thought I’d humor the old lady by tossed her offering into the old stereo. I probably only listened to the first three songs or so before my lids covered my eyes and my body was enveloped in a darkly warm cocoon of sleep. That turned out to be the problem. The dream was the problem. A huge white pustule of a problem, in fact -- my subconscious decided it hated me. Before I knew it, my sleepy travels had me bounding off to the TRL headquarters with my mom.
“Jeff, I just knew you wanted to be in the studio audience. I know how it has always been your fantasy, and just think, I managed to get these tickets on the day that Scott Stapp is in the hizzouse!!! We’re so lucky that it isn’t some hussy like Christina Aguilera.”
We took the elevator up and found our seats. I felt completely out of place as all I could see around me was braces, lip-gloss and burgeoning young breasts. Various statutory rape scenarios flooded my mind before the star of the show, Carson Daly, made his appearance before the throng. His big square head and fuscia blushed cheeks made him look a lot more like a Christmas nutcracker than a television host. Once the initial applause ceased, Daly started speaking in his slow “I’m hip for an old guy” cadence. Hell, he looked as out of place as me.
“Welcome to TRL folks. Today, we have none other than the lead singer of Creed here today. Yeah, he’s a singer with some mad skills. Lets give it up for Scott Stapp.”
The host and musician shook hands before Carson started with his questions.
“First of all, Scott. Let me congratulate you on your big, huge new hit CD.”
“No problem. Everything going ok? Getting ready for the road?”
“Sure. Sure it is. Thanks to God….and our fans. We’re ready to see them. They’re the greatest.”
“Those tight leather pants you’re sporting now don’t hurt either, I’ll bet. You’re looking a little bootylicious, isn’t he ladies? Ok, Ok, enough of that. Let’s play your new video. Here it is, on TRL -- Creed with My Sacrifice.”
Everyone laughs and cheers. The video played while the microphone was passed around.
“Hi, I’m Amanda from New Jersey, and I’d just like to say that Creed kicks serious butt!!!”
“Yo yo, this is Maurice from D-town. I’m gonna give da big shout out ta God. Creed loves God, G. Creed and God is my homiez, booyyee.”
“Floyd is my name and lovin’ is my game. I’m waitin’ for Creed’s new tour cuz my mom’s takin’ me!!!!
Soon, it was my turn.
“My name is Jeff Kerby from Albuquerque NM, and I murdered both my parents years ago with a bow and arrow... Scott Stapp looked at me like I was Fred Durst burning a Bible.”
“My name is Jeff Kerby from Albuquerque NM, and I murdered both my parents years ago with a bow and arrow.”
No one even blinked when I said it. They just smiled at me and cheered like I was handing out gift certificates to the mall. When the video played out, Carson just stared at Scott and went, “Wow. That’s all I have to say. Wow.” I could contain myself no longer.
“Shit!!! That’s all I have to say boys and girls. This is a buncha shit!!!!” They may not have cared about the thought of me jamming pointed weapons into my parents, but heaven forbid I speak against the politically correct, intensely unrebellious media darlings known as Creed. There was a definite perfume-scented hostility in the air, and I knew I was going to get attacked. Instead, Scott Stapp looked at me like I was Fred Durst burning a Bible. Before I knew it, wind was swirling, and I felt a suction. I’m sure it was like being an emaciated millionaire musician alone in a room with Pamela Lee. Only instead of my penis being the center of said illicit activity, my whole body was being pulled extremely unerotically into Scott Stapp’s cavernous nostrils.
I’m not scared of anything in this life except the bottom of the bottle, but I will admit, this did worry me a little. As I got closer, I realized the totality of the blackness I was now approaching. The apelike cavity was easily large enough to swallow up my entire body which it did in an instant. A journey ensued -- one where I was drawn helplessly down Stapp’s esophagus and into his chest cavity. It wasn’t long before I found myself traveling along in his bloodstream. No matter what vein I floated in, the flow seemed to be channeled into this heart shaped metallic box. Only, it wasn’t a real heart. No, it was more like a black box, you know, like one of those boxes they retrieve from jetliners after a crash. I tried desperately to open it. I kicked at it. Pried at it. Finally, it burst open. Inside was a piece of paper. It read as follows:
HOW TO GET BIGGER THAN STRYPER
- Rip off a sound that is currently popular or has proven to be a commercially viable commodity in the past. Hence the raping of Pearl Jam.
- Buy leather pants.
- Make sure you get played on Christian stations all over the country and let everyone know that you’re down with Jesus….And dammit, that you can rock harder because of it.
- Write a song about becoming a father that doesn’t start with the words “oh, fuck”.
- Make sure your lead singer adopts a hairstyle that appeals both to metal heads as well as old school Nirvana fans.
- Don’t go overboard on the religious tip. Try to be a little bit edgy by saying “Goddammit” on stage. Show that you can rebel and by still trying to follow the Ten Commandments.
- Speak of your suburban adolescence as though you were gang raped by a pack of lepers when you were eight. Tell the interviewers that you gained spiritual clarity because of it.
- Try to keep the groupie groping secret. If you can’t, dump your wife. Lose a little credibility, but get laid more.
- Bring young son on stage. Yes, it’s cruel that you have saddled him with your hairstyle, but hey, everyone pays a price for rock stardom.
- Tour with bands just as boring as you are. (Collective Soul, Sevendust).
As soon as I finished the list, Scott sneezed, and I was hurled into the adolescent bosom of some twelve year old with a Backstreet Boys t-shirt. I looked back at Stapp, and he just stared at me as if I were violating Wes Scantlin with a broom handle. That’s when he screamed, “He knows my secret!!! Get him!!!” My mom was even in the group of fans chasing me out of the studio. Many thoughts frolicked in my mind as I ran down the stairs of the fire escape. My worst fear involved not living long enough to consummate my affair with Sweet Annie. I wouldn’t live long enough to receive my conjugal visit, and I would die listlessly clutching an unrequited boner. I finally got to the bottom of the building and started running along the sidewalks of New York. For some inexplicable reason, I thought it would be a slick move to try to cross the street without looking. The last thing I remembered from my dream was that I was about to get hit by a soccer mom in a minivan. I think that is what finally shook me awake. I’ve always believed that when you die in a dream, you will die soon in real life. That has to be why I woke up crying and upset. Hell, anyone would who had just gone through what I had.
At the end of the story chronicling my sleep time travails, the doctor just looked at me and wrote about a million things down on this yellow legal pad and thanked me for my time and said that the questionnaire indeed would not be necessary. I sauntered to my cell confident that I had just unquestioningly convinced him of my sanity. There was nothing to be afraid of -- I would just go back and contemplate the conjugal visit I was going to have with that wonderful guitar playing hooker of mine on the next day. I threw on one the Monster Ballads cds that I received after it had been donated to the prison by the Salvation Army. I lay there on the bed imaging myself seducing my new love while listening soulfully to “Is this Love?” by Whitesnake. I knew I had it bad because the lyrics started actually making sense to me. Yes, although I knew I’d be standing trial soon, I had faith that I would be exonerated. The day would come when I would go back to the dump and save my money and buy that doublewide with the chickens, and dammit, I would marry that hooker -- I figured that would save me money in the long run.
That’s when one of the guards came by my cell and said that my lawyer wanted to talk to me on the phone immediately. I was then escorted down the hallway where I picked up the receiver. My barrister went on to tell me that the doctor said among other things, I was nuttier than a fruitcake, had a very tenuous hold on reality and couldn’t seem to describe or even one single aspect of my life without referencing the 80’s or various assorted heavy metal bands. Ok, I’ll admit that I do talk about music a little bit too much, but you can’t tell me that it’s that abnormal to dream about getting sucked into someone’s nasal passages -- especially when the entrance to those passages is so damn large. God—no God, Bible—no Bible -- those nostrils are freakish. I can hardly be held responsible for that. When Allen eventually quit talking, I was left holding the phone trying to comprehend the fact that a respected member of the medical community would actually think that my mental or emotional faculties weren’t operating on a normal plain. The good part was that he said that a plea bargain would be offered for sure now and that I wasn’t going to be looking at any time in a real facility even if I was convicted. Great news. That is, it would have been great news if I hadn’t been informed that people deemed emotionally unfit aren’t allowed sexual contact during visits which basically meant of course that I wasn’t going to be getting any for one helluva long while. Fuck, it won’t be the first time I’d been in need of assistance from those natives in National Geographic. “Is this Love?” Maybe not. But right now, it’s all I got. Where the hell are those Mexican girls on channel 12?