Out of Step With the World

In the golden days of hardcore punk rock — yes, there was such a period; it ran roughly (very roughly) from 1979-1985 — a “movement” emerged called Straight Edge, which was an edgy way of saying Straight. 

Straight as in, “I don’t do drugs or drink. I’m a thrash-metal-loving cutural outsider who doesn’t defile his mind or body with toxins.” Sexual preferences remained optional.

One of the leading proponents of this quasi-puritanical ethos was the D.C.-based band Minor Threat. Aside from their well-meaning politics, the lads could play their instruments pretty well, and their frontman was a good lyricist and convincing angst-ridden screamer. They shredded and they spoke to elemental discontents. A very cool band.

Minor Threat had a memorable song called “Out of Step With the World,” which elegantly summed up how most teenagers feel about life. Lately, though, it seems to be my marketplace anthem — and I’m more than 25 years removed from my hardcore days. As much as I remind myself that there’s no accounting for taste, I genuinely don’t understand, even clinically, the tastes, opinions, and “core values” of so many of my fellow citizens. I just don’t get it. I’m out of step with the world.

I don’t get the Birther Movement.

I don’t get Sarah Palin being taken seriously.

I don’t get “Twilight.”

I don’t get being famous for being famous.

I don’t get most popular music.

I don’t get it. I mean, it’s been explained to me. I understand, sort of, on an intellectual level. But I really don’t get it. I’m out of step with the world.

It’s weird. But I’m learning to accept it.

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