Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No. 540 – Toys in the Attic

Performer: Aerosmith
Songwriters: Steven Tyler, Joe Perry
Original Release: Toys in the Attic
Year: 1975
Definitive Version: Live! Bootleg, 1978

Before we get started, no, I can't believe Rush finally made it into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, either.

Like Rick in junior high, Mike was the first new person I met at Upper Arlington High School, although we had played little league baseball against each other before. Unlike Rick, however, Mike and I became real friends, although I haven’t seen or heard from Mike since I moved to Chicago years ago.

We met in gym class my sophomore year, and the topic that brought us together was music. I can’t remember the context of the conversation, but I definitely remember sitting in the gymnasium bleachers the first day discussing—believe it or not—Dirty White Boy by Foreigner. Oh, who am I to criticize a particular band?

Anyway, it turned out that Mike’s family lived literally around the corner from Dad and Laura’s house on Southway Drive. That was great, because now I had a reason to visit, because now I had someone to hang out with whenever I went over. Of course, what really happened was I would just hang out with Mike and go home rather than go over to Dad’s afterward.

Because Mike and I met before either of us had drivers licenses—we’d both get them in 1980—Mike in the spring and me in the summer—at first, we spent a lot of time around his house and in his basement.

He had a sweet funky basement, with a fun room complete with wood paneling, bad outdoor paintings of ducks, a bar, a dartboard, a couch, a record player and a combo pool/pingpong table that filled the floor space. On one of my first visits, I saw that he had Live Bootleg, which I had discovered in Florida a year before, and that became a regular play when we played pingpong or pool.

When we went outside, that meant it was time to either shoot baskets in his driveway or ride around town. Mike had a moped, a Motobecaine, like a lot of kids. I didn’t, because I didn’t have enough money to buy one and because my parents would have let me have one if I had. Mike let me bomb around on his—the first time I had been on one—and I couldn’t get enough of it.

His dad had a full-fledged scooter, so Mike and I could ride around together, usually to the Dairy Queen on Fifth Avenue after it got warm for a post-school, pre-dinner ultramegagigantic milkshake. Before then, we usually went to Barrington Elementary, where a few of the basketball courts were set up low for the little kids and low enough for us with our six-inch vertical leaps to dunk on.

After we got our drivers licenses, Mike and I got together more frequently, because it now was a lot more practical—and faster—to get from my place to his than when I had to whip out the bike and ride the six miles that separated his home from the condo.

Now that we were mobile, we started to go out more to hang out. Naturally, we also spent less time in the basement. Even the record player became just another toy in the basement—discarded and forgotten.

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