Third Wave Ska Is Dumb (and other cries for help)



The guy next to me at the bar keeps talking 

about how amazing this band is

but by amazing I think he means 

It’s cool that they play instruments.

Wonderwall is a hard song 

to fuck up, yet here we are.  And don’t get me wrong,

I like an Oasis cover just as much 

as the next guy but it just feels like 

maybe they’ve already had their 

fifteen minutes and it’s time to pass the torch 

to Ed Sheeran or Jason Mraz or some newer hipper 

embodiment of white mediocrity.


Cynicism is funny but it’s a curse.

It, of course, served an evolutionary function 

as the cavemen should not be too trusting of the tiger, 

no matter how adorable. But in the world we live in  

it probably serves us better to like more things. 

For example, if I liked this terrible band

I would be having a better time at this 

concert and not be so painfully aware

that I have nothing to say to anyone here 

or really anywhere outside of a confession booth. Needless to say


this ska cover of Piano Man is not very good.

The tough thing about pulling off ska covers 

is that ska is bad. But based on the guy’s reaction 

to this band’s ability to play instruments, 

you’d think they were not terrible and also not playing ska.


The guy next to me is drunk but I pretend 

he isn’t because I want to believe that adulthood is more 

than having to get drunk to enjoy the mediocre 

details of your day. Sure, it’s easy to be awed by the blood

moon, but it’s hard to love muzak or the sidewalk 

or another person without a slight push from whiskey 

or religion’s gentle bleeding palms.


Some theologians say it is the same to love 

G-d as to fear G-d so maybe all this anxiety is a blessing

because it means I encounter the Universe with such awe 

that I can’t stomach it without pills. Still,

I’m the one hate-drinking Buffalo Trace 

while the man next to me chants

along to a ska version of Tiny Dancer like it’s a Kabbalic prayer 

or a song that is good. It is dangerous 


to grow jealous of another’s joy.

It is better instead to try find that joy yourself 

so this time I ask the bartender 

to leave the whole bottle.