The Importance of Being Punk by Alexander Buda “So it’s been going really well! I think…” “You think? You’re not sure…?” “I mean, can anyone ever really be sure of these things?” “Yeah. It’s usually preHy obvious whether a girl has enjoyed going out on dates with you, Ernest.” “Not to me, Al…” Ernest was hardly ever sure about the things that happened to him, especially when it came to daLng. It was not like he had bad luck with women, it was more like he used up all of his good luck before he had ﬁnished planLng the seeds of love. Metaphorically speaking, of course. You see, Ernest was a wee lad of twenty or twenty-one years old. He lived in a Lme before he had fallen into the scienLﬁc hole of hormones and chemicals and the latent biological need to preserve the human species that comes with only the strictest of nihilisLc regiments. Ernest was a “romanLc sod,” a phrase, which here means, a person ignorant to the fact that life isn’t a book or a movie or a grand gesture that is waiLng to unwind itself as you move from day to day. That’s how Ernest thought life worked. He was new to college, new to partying, new to the world of boozing about, and believed that even in this environment, he could magically fall in love with a girl. And Ernest did meet a girl, which made him buy into his romanLc-sodism even more. He met a young woman in an Arthurian Legends class named Gwen (no relaLon). Gwen was one of the preVest women Ernest had ever seen in his class. Normally, Ernest would have shied away from talking to someone he found as beauLful as Gwen. One fateful class, however, Ernest found his courage aXer watching Gwen read an essay on Le Mort d’Arthur. Gwen stammered and “ummm…”-ed and was a nervous wreak. Gwen's obvious issues with public speaking led Ernest to the grand noLon that maybe she was just a real life, normal person that had anxiety and liked blueberry pancakes and did other normal person things, too, just like him. So Ernest asked Gwen if she would like to study with him. She said no. It turned out that Gwen was a real, normal person who was faced with a metric buH ton of anxiety and was uncomfortable with hanging out with people that had only talked to her once. Now, having the white knight complex that comes with male, romanLc sod-ism, Ernest thought that maybe he could help Gwen get over her shyness. This made Earnest fall even harder for Gwen. The next day, aXer class, Earnest asked Gwen to study with him again. This Lme she said yes. The two studied together several Lmes and realized they had a lot in common; friends, favorite shows
and movies, they both played ukuleles. Unfortunately, as much as the two got along, Ernest sLll had a hard Lme reading how Gwen felt about him. And so he went to his best friend Al for advice. “Have you done the deed yet?” “What? She’s not a piece of meat! I’m not going to… you know… if I haven’t even kissed her yet.” “You haven't kissed her?! Do it tonight at the Houseosaurus show!” To conLnue on with this story, you must ﬁrst know two things: Number one is that the above menLoned “Houseosaurus” was a student co-op. A bunch of “dirt hippies” lived in Houseosaurus and ate their vegan foods and composted their compostable garbage that they put in their vegetable garden to grow their vegan food. They also liked dirty, grungy, straight-ouHa-the-90s punk music and oXen had bands that got wasted and played shows in the basement. Al had friends that lived at the co-op and it turned out that Gwen hung out with a bunch of the people who lived there. If Ernest wanted to hang out with Gwen in a more casual environment, this would deﬁnitely be his chance. Ernest told Al he would go, but admiHed he had no clue what a punk show was or how to ﬁt in or what punk music sounded like or what to wear or etc. or etc. Al knew he wouldn’t be able to give Ernest an angst riddled 90s crash course in only a few hours, so he turned on some Clash and Sex Pistoles, found all of Ernest’s blackest clothing, and proceeded to start a style changing montage. None of the clothing Ernest owned ﬁt the proper vibe, so Al lent him a parLcularly ripped up “The Smiths” t-shirt. (I know you’re thinking that the Smiths don't fall into the punk rock category, but Al only owned two band shirts and was only willing to give the second best one to Ernest.) While this was going on, Ernest and Al talked about Ernest’s game plan for wooing Gwen. Al’s ﬁrst thought on the maHer was maybe Ernest shouldn’t refer to talking to Gwen as wooing and recommend just talking to her like a human being talking to another human being instead. Earnest didn’t think that would work. He didn’t have the conﬁdence, he told himself and Al. Earnest thought that maybe he should bring a poem or memorize one that expressed his senLments towards Gwen (some might say his GwenLments, but not me). Having something prepared would help him bulldoze through his anxieLes and make the interacLon easier than coming up with something to say to Gwen in the moment. So Ernest memorized Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130. Now would be a good opportunity to reiterate the fact that Ernest was a huge romanLc sod. That is all. By the Lme Al and Ernest ﬁnished geVng dressed, they had enough Lme to be fashionably late to the show by forty-nine minutes. Ernest found an old rose discarded from what he assumed was a lover's bouquet. He carried the rose with him sniﬃng it every now and then, but ulLmately gave up on the idea of giving it to Gwen when he walked through the front door. Upon entering the house, Ernest bounced around, from punk to punk, barely able to stand on his feet.
He saw some people he knew and was able to yell his hellos. Ernest looked everywhere for Gwen, but it was Al that grab Ernest violently, to get his aHenLon, and faced him towards a parLcularly dark corner next to the roughly nailed together stage. Barely visible past the throngs of moshing miscreants was Gwen, bangs straight and lipsLck dark. She wore a t-shirt that belonged to a band of which you've probably never heard, but I highly suggest you listen to. Ernest tried biHerly for nearly two minutes to get to Gwen, but the backs of bumping people barreled into his being, keeping him from talking to who would soon be his love. Trying to help his buddy out, Al pointed at a path that snaked between the throng near the center of the stage. Ernest saw, clearly, where Al was poinLng and new what he had to do. He rushed toward the stage just as a parLcularly violent tune was ending and leapt on. Having at some point or another drank three Mason jars full of what the house called dinosaur juice, Ernest brazenly grabbed the lead singer's microphone. He stammered somewhat of an intro to what he was actually doing into the hot, damp mic which tasted like blood to him, but it was impossible to hear over the noise of the room. With no one involved, including Ernest, really knowing what was going on, the band began took a mistaken cue from Earnest and began to play. Earnest, thinking that the music was geVng way too loud for Gwen to hear him, began screaming his sonnet as loudly as possible. By some miracle, the whole deal sunk up very nicely. Towards the end of Ernest’s poem , the band's lead singer had become fully composed again and he pushed Ernest oﬀ the stage. The rest of the night went according to plan, but, a few weeks later, the band played a show at "Dad's House" in which a musical version of Sonnet 130 made an appearance. Gwen, having witnessed the whole of Ernest Sonnet shenanigans rushed over and gave Ernest a hug that was all over several diﬀerent places. (It was clear that she too had been drinking the dinosaur juice.) “I love Shakespeare! That was so cool! It's it made all of this noisy shit so much beHer!” “Wait, you don't like punk?” “No it's the worst!” And right then and there, Ernest closed his eyes and leaned forward to kiss Gwen. Gwen leaned forward to kiss Ernest back, stumbled a bit, brought her head up in a jerk, and hit Ernest square in the nose. “Oh god! I'm so sorry,” exclaimed Gwen, earnestly, but blood ran and ran down Ernest nose, and he blacked out.