I was scratching definitely the itchiest bug bite that any human has ever had to endure (thank you Wall Lake) and scanning my twitter feed when something from a super huge music fan I follow popped up. He sent out a picture of Follow the Leader by KoRn said it was the first album he'd ever bought. Which reminded me of the first album I ever bought. It was Green Day's Dookie, something I've mentioned publicly MANY times to anyone who was even half listening. I was such an incredible proud 11 year old at the time.
And I'm still proud today.
My first encounters with Green Day's second release would happen when me and one of my best fifth grade friends, Rachel, would sneak into her older bother's bedroom (he was in high school and had cooler places to hang out) to listen to She over and over again until I got nervous that he would catch us and it would be like that scene out of Home Alone.. you know the one the rolled the credit before so you didn't see Buzz pounding the crap out of Kevin because he destroyed his older brother's room. He never did catch us and I decided I had to get my hands on a copy of that. I mean there were some really good songs that weren't even getting PLAYED on the radio. AND THERE WERE SWEAR WORDS.
So finally one Sunday it happened. I'd saved up enough of my allowance from shucking corn, making dinner on the nights my mom had to work late, and cleaning the bathroom once a week (chores that I've, for the most part, given up on) to buy a CD on a trip with my mom and my sister to Target. I was getting that Green Day CD.
I pulled it from the racks in Electronics. It was shrink wrapped in cellophane, stickers all over the front listing the singles, with one of those plastic anti-theft devices that tripled the size of the disc and doubled as a huge handle I'd gotten a boom box with a CD player the Christmas before, and my parents had guessed at a couple of CDs I might like, but I was much too nervous to ask for Green Day, because it most definitely had cuss words. But now I was buying it with my own money, and I was almost positive in my household that meant there was nothing no one could do about it. I was so excited I don't even recall going through the check out line.
I do remember getting home and running to my room with my newly procured album, closing the door behind me. I must have spend at least 20 minutes trying to get the plastic wrapping off... what was in this thing... the answer to every SAT questions ever? Launch codes to a secret nuclear missile stash inside a silo in Iowa?? The PIN to my father's ATM card??? AND THEN THERE WAS A STICKER UNDERNEATH IT?!?!?!?
I finally got that sucker open and it was amazing... pictures, lyrics, cartoons. And I hadn't even put the album in my boom box yet. I did, but kept the volume really quiet, nervous my parents would hear cussing through my hollow door. My mom did poke her head in my room at one point and notice me reading the lyrics from the CD booklet. She said something like "Oh, maybe I should take a look at that." The evil eye I gave her was quite deadly... the only real weapon in my preteen girl arsenal. She left and I finally got the courage to turn up the volume.
When I did, it was life changing. They of course were all there, every song I'd heard on the radio, or in Rachel's brother's room after school... but there was so much more. Guitar riff, swear words, references to illicit drugs (most of which I missed as a 5th grader, but picked up eventually), there was even A SECRET SONG! I played it over and over... read every single lyric, cartoon caption, even the production and engineering credits until I finally crashed. I'm sure power was still feeding my boom box, disc still spinning.
I still have that very disc and know every lyric. Green Day's Dookie got played as I drove the 40 minutes between my parents houses after I had to start living different places every weekend because they got divorced when I was 17. It went to college with me, making the cut of CDs I squished into an impossibly tiny dorm room. It was on display in my very first south Minneapolis hardwood floor apartment. It survived 2 cross-country moves, a break-in, and an accident (the car was totaled). The booklet sustained some water damage because of an apartment fire (the insurance guy declared everything a total loss). Having a Blast skips a lot... and there's always a weird pause in the middle of Welcome to Paradise, but for the most part it still plays. And probably should get played more.