I remember senior year in high school, hanging out in my friend Eric's car during lunch, with the seats fully reclined and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" cranked on the stereo. That song, and a few others from the grunge era, grabbed me by the ears and spoke directly to my poor, dark, misunderstood soul. My reaction to them was visceral and pure. My devotion to the ideology and the boots, sincere.
Fifteen years later, I'm lying on my couch (in a fabulous pair of boots) watching a half-hour documentary about the making of that video. How it was the death knell for 80's hair bands and the voice of the disenfranchised Generation X. Dave Grohl, Crist Novoselic and the guy who made the video reminisced about Kurt and the anger and passion he brought to the soundstage.
Finally, after much platitudenizing and deep searching of navels, they played the video. I lay back on the couch and tried to recapture the thrill, the throb of a song that was once the soundtrack of my world.
The Bear toddled into the room, watched the TV for a few seconds and pogoed (if forced to choose between music and animals, the Bear's head would probably just explode from the stress. Musical animals, now that's what Santa needs to bring!) then came up to me and handed me two inches of masticated banana. I handed it back and he shoved it in his mouth, creating fake banana teeth and growling (like a Bear).
I looked at the TV screen, then looked at my not-so-baby boy, his face a pastiche of potassium-rich sludge. I tried to imagine how this scene would play to my 18-year-old self and drew a blank.
Then I got off the couch and changed the TV to Cartoon Network. I've got better things to do with my time now.