Wanderings through life, landscapes, and occasional loopiness. So pull up a log and have a bit of a sit-down ’round the virtual campfire.

“Dear Avril”

I have never written a fan letter. Ever. Most of the letters I write are to elected officials who I think need a gentle nudge in a different direction. Though I have written a couple of “thank you for voting that way” to elected officials, I’ve never written an ass-out, “god I love yer stuff because it helped me through a bad time and I so wish I could be your personal assistant and lick your plates and clean the lint out of your hairbrush” fan letter. To anyone. Not even Siouxsie Sioux, who made my little heart go pitter patter back in my angsty high school and college days.

Or Joan Jett, who didn’t change the pronoun in “Crimson and Clover” when she released her version, which sent me into conniption fits in 1981, before I learned how to peg my pants and rip my sweatshirt collars in proper Flashdance fashion. A chick singing about another chick like that? Whoa. It was like Joan reached her bad-ass braceleted and bandanna’ed arm right through the radio and stamped “validated” on my adolescent, hormone-ridden forehead. I’ve worshipped the ground she walks on since then. And lately, I’ve been worshipping her abs. Holy Christ, we should all look that good in our 40s.

Joan, I’m sorry you never got a letter from me. But if I ever did decide to write an honest-to-god fan letter, it would be right about now and it would start “Dear Avril: I wish I was fifteen years younger because then my neck wouldn’t hurt so bad when I moshed to your music and people wouldn’t look at me funny when they saw all the stupid shit I’ve drawn on my ratty Converse high-tops.”

See, it’s okay to do that to your sneakers when you’re in your teens. And even when you’re in your twenties, as long as you write cool stuff like “Anarchy in the UK!” or “I wanna be sedated!” or “Grrlbait!” on your sneaks, people don’t look at you like you’re some kind of boundary-less loon who’s having an illicit and unhealthy affair with her past. On rare occasions, you might be able to get away with sneaker-writing in your early thirties because then it’s kind of “urban cool,” especially when you go to “clubs” where “the beautiful people” hang out. As long as you don’t admit that you did the writing yourself and instead claim some guy down in the Village did it who goes by the moniker Ovah EZ and who got arrested last year for graffiti vandalism.

But Avril, after a while, you’re supposed to “act your age” and start wearing things like matching polyester pants suits in lovely coordinated colors. Pastels for spring, earth tones for fall. And you’re supposed to talk about stuff like the weather and what so-and-so’s kids are doing and who’s getting promoted at the company and which outfits to get for the twins and who’s coordinating the carpool for soccer and dance practice.

Damn, Avril, that still hasn’t happened to me. I’m still wearing cargo shorts and bowling shirts with skulls on ’em and a beat-up pair of Doc Martens and I get those looks from people. I’ll bet you get ’em, too. The “act your age and not your shoe size” expressions. The “when is she going to be a proper girl” sneer. The “honey, get out of the 80s (or 90s) and work on your investment portfolio” eye roll. And I smile, thinking about “Crimson and Clover,” “Bad Reputation,” “My World,” and “Sk8ter Boy,” as I plan my next tattoo.

So Avril, even though I’m not fifteen years younger, and my knees pop sometimes like Rice Krispies when I run downstairs, and I wax poetic about clove smoke and crowds in dank little goth-infested music holes that have long since closed their doors, thanks for tearin’ it up with your sometimes cheesy, sometimes anthemic lyrics, those slammin’ guitar riffs, your rocker chick tough-girl attitude, and that little Canadian rebel streak you’ve got goin’ on. Thanks for making me want to rip the sleeves off my shirts and reclaim my Converse from Goodwill. And thanks for reminding me about the power of rock n’ roll and a true grrl spirit.

And if you could, please solemnly swear you won’t buy your clothes as matching “coordinates” (black leather doesn’t count), wear Keds, drive a minivan, or stop wearing black eyeliner. Anyway, I guess that’s about it. Hope you’re doing well and thanks for being my first “dear Joan” letter. Take care and you go, girl!

“Dear Avril”

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