RECORD STORE TALES #974: I Was a Bit of a Jackass
Part of my process, after breaking up with Radio Station Girl in 2003, was simply to explore new things. Music, piercings, and movies. Moving on, adapting, becoming a new me, and resurrecting parts of my old self as well. The immature inner child that persists. As kids, we weren’t bad boys, but we did get into mischief and play pranks. I always felt that if we had access to a video camera back then, we could have been Tom Green before there was a Tom Green. But we didn’t, and Tom Green was the real pioneer in that regard. And he took things way further than we did. Still, Green reminded me of me when I was younger.
It’s not a controversial statement to say that Jackass, particularly Bam Margera, owe a debt to Tom Green. Green was pranking his parents before Margera was on MTV doing the same. Where Green did it with a coy faux innocence, Margera’s version of the same was with manic violence. Jackass turned everything up several notches. As soon as a copy of Jackass: The Movie entered the store where I worked on used DVD, I grabbed one. I was curious.
Soon I was hooked!
I could remember taking shopping carts for a ride when I was teenager. Early teenager. When Bob started working at the grocery store, he told me “Do you know how much those carts cost? $1000 each. So from now on we return them.” Before that though…yes, we sure did give them a spin in parking lots. Parking lots were empty on Sundays and you could do just about anything. We never took serious tumbles like Johnny Knoxville and crew, but we did race them around a bit. I could live vicariously through Bam, Steve-O, Knoxville, Ryan, Ehren, Dave, Pontius, Preston and Wee Man. They could do the things I thought were funny but would never do myself! I killed myself laughing when Johnny rented and destroyed the car at the smash-up derby, then refused to pay for the damage. Just the absurdity of it all. You know that everybody signed waivers and got MTV reimbursements after the fact, so all’s even-steven in the end. In other words it’s OK to laugh.
Another reason I dove hard into Jackass: girls that I thought were pretty cute seemed to really like them (especially Bam). So if I was into Jackass, that was something I had in common with the cute punk and goth girls I liked. I also took style pointers from the guys. I had piercings and a couple tattoos, and I had one photo with curly blond hair that I thought looked just enough like Ryan Dunn. I bought wristbands and shirts at Hot Topic and skate shops. I dyed my hair frequently. I looked the part.
Visiting my parents regularly was something I really enjoyed doing after moving out and getting my own place. I liked to watch movies with them. Rather, I enjoyed making them watch things of my choosing. And so it happens that I tricked them into watching Jackass: The Movie with me.
They liked documentaries, so I told them that “Jackass is a documentary about stuntmen.”
I just re-watched the movie recently to refresh my memory for this story. Calling it a documentary was a bit of a stretch, but calling it a documentary about stuntmen was really pushing it. There are stunts, yes, but there was also poo, pee, puke, and bottle rockets firing out of Steve-O’s anus.
My mother was not impressed. “I hated it! I don’t like crude things,” she insists.
Jackass was indeed crude, with the climax being a prank involving Dunn sticking a toy car up his ass and then getting a hilarious reaction from an X-ray doctor.
“That kind of humour to me is not very intelligent,” says my mom, correctly. It’s fact it’s quite anti-intelligent. But that can also be escapism. My mom didn’t see it that way.
I asked her which sketch she thought was the worst. “The only one I can remember is the guy pooping in the toilet.”
Ah yes! Dave England walked into a hardware store with a newspaper in hand, sat on one of the display toilets, and took a dump right there. This is funny? My mom didn’t think so. But as kids, when we were dragged out into hardware stores by parents for (seemingly) hours on end, did we not sit on those toilets making farting sounds? I bet we did.
That’s the side of me that Jackass appealed to. The inner child, the immature side that still laughs when someone farts in a movie. That’s OK. What makes you laugh could be very different and that’s OK too! I needed to get back to that a little bit, and rediscover my childish side after having my heart crushed by a Radio Station Girl.
Just don’t share this side with your parents. Trust me, they won’t get it!