Black

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I was talking with someone the other day about music, and how a song can immediately evoke powerful feelings from long ago. I hear Young MC’s Bust A Move and think back to bus trips with the high school cross country team. I hear Ween’s Push The Little Daisies and think of the college newspaper. So on and so on.

Sadly, no song impacts me with greater power than Pearl Jam’s Black.

This is not a good thing.

The year was 1993. I was a junior at the University of Delaware. Dan, Paul, Scott and I headed out to the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity house, where a friend of ours lived. The frat was known as the geekiest one on campus, and the house was befitting of that status: Dumpy, stinky, poor location and—just being honest here—not exactly the best-looking women around (That being said, we guys were hardly Grade-A). Before arriving at the house, my friends and I went pretty hard on the grape-flavored Mad•Dog 20/20, a vicious, nasty, strong genre of alcohol that could morph Superman into a stooped-over upchucker of lunch.

In other words, I was wasted.

The goal back then was to hook up, then re-tell the story the following morning. So I hooked up. Here’s what I remember: She had brown hair, brownish teeth, a black T-shirt … and a face coated with festering zits of all sizes. A pizza brought to life. Yet I didn’t care. I was drunk on Mad•Dog and looking for action. So we made out (to use my father’s old-school lingo) on the dance floor … Pearl Jam’s Black providing the soundtrack.

I’ve hated that song ever since.

6 thoughts on “Black”

  1. My father once told me when I was in junior high that he always targeted the girls with rampant acne, and suggested I do the same “because the acne is proof that their hormones are out of control, and girls like that put out.” Yeah.

    Also…I used to down Mad Dog bottles like apple juice (Is it just an East Coast thing?), and it was always an adventure. At Siena, I once watched some kid (named CC, incidentally) drink there bottles in a row then puke all over the men’s shower and curl up in a ball while his girlfriend mommied him back to health. Crazy stuff.

  2. Oh man, I still listen to “Ten” & “Vs” weekly. Yup still a Pearl Jam nut. Now this story might distort “Black” everytime I hear it, but anytime you get a story out of life- it’s worthwhile.

  3. My one and only one night stand’s soundtrack was Eric Clapton’s “Tears From Heaven.” I know, I know, it’s about the tragic death of his son… sometimes songs choose you. Yeah, she was not smokin’, either.

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