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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Do You Love a Good Overcoming Adversity Story Mixed With SynthPop? So Do I.

Put simply, Shawn Decker is a badass. Not like a gun-totin', outlaw badass a la Jack Bauer or Clint Eastwood or The Bride...a badass in the truest and most humble sense. The category of badass that also holds people like Lance Armstrong and Cupcake Brown and Julia Sweeney:

People who have overcome odds so great AND managed to do so with a sense of perspective and humor that it makes them objectively better humans than the rest of the population. Uber-humans.

No matter how hard you try, you will NEVER be as good as an uber-human. I was friends with an uber-human once and every time I'd say something like "man, I think I'm coming down with a cold" or "I'm really frustrated with my job/life/finances/thighs/backne," he would simply say "Yeah, that sucks. You know what else sucks? That time I got stabbed." Shawn Decker, on the other hand, seems to use his uber-humanhood for good rather than lording purposes.

A hemophiliac from birth, Decker was diagnosed with HIV at age 11 (the result of a bad blood transfusion) and promptly expelled from public school in Waynesboro, VA (but was later let back in). He contended with both the health and social implications of the disease and went on to found Mypetvirus.com, a blog about living with HIV, back before blogs were popular enough to be person of the year. He met Al Gore, Depeche Mode, and Ric Flair, married an HIV educator, has spoken to over 50,000 college students about living with the disease, told Kenneth Cole that he wouldn't have simulated sex with his wife (Decker's, not Cole's) in a store window, and wrote a book that I loved (and so did Augusten Burroughs). So when I heard that said author also plays in an 80's synthpop, Depeche Mode-style band AND that he would be performing in a goth club located in a strip mall in a nearby town, it was like the gods of all things bizarre were sending rays of hope directly to me.

I learned the following facts from seeing Synthetic Division in all of its industrial-sounding glory:

* One shouldn't wear argyle to a goth show. This lesson was learned the hard way.

* Synthpop sounds like music that would be played at a prom in outer space.

* In synthpop groups, not all band members actually have to play instruments on stage. Some can pre-record their music and then just kind of jam along as long as they're wearing way futuristic sunglasses:

* Strobe lights make everyone look cool. I think they're the adult equivalent of holding a flashlight under your face while telling a scary story.

* Small towns like Charlottesville, VA don't have a big enough population to constitute a full-on goth subculture. Of the 40 or so people there, maybe 25 were authentically goth and the rest were raver kids, gay high school kids, punk kids, or just general outcasts. I'm pretty sure I saw at least two kids who simply fell in the category of "fat kids in black t-shirts." It was like a secret meeting of people society hates/ignores. I wanted to high five everyone there.

* If you cross your fingers hard enough, you can win the goth club raffle and walk away with two CDs that feature intimidating fonts and winged boys in mascara.

I'm pretty sure I was the only person who showed up with a book to be signed, but it didn't matter. After chatting with me about books and t-cells, Decker wrote "Geeks Rule" on the first page and for a few minutes, I felt like I did.


At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Shawn Decker said...

Hey Chris,

I got bored and searched for my name tonight and, for shits and giggles, threw in "Synthetic Division".

The Google Gods sent me to you, and I haven't laughed out loud at a blog entry that wasn't my own in quite some time. You are an UberBlogger.

Oh, and Cupcake Brown just beat me for an award given by the Multiple Sclerosis Society. They may have disqualified me for misspelling "Sclerosis" in a previous blog entry.

Thanks for the laughs. Synthetic Division live on May 26, opening for In Tenebris. The fat kids in black t-shirts would love to see ya.
Positively Yours,

PS.. Geeks Still Rule.


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