I don’t have an older brother. Never did. On the long list of things I resent my parents for, making me the oldest boy in the family is near the top (between giving me the DNA to only grow to 5’7″ and not being Heidi Klum and Seal) and there’s a simple reason why: Older brothers make you cool.
Five years older is ideal. That way, you value his advice while also being scared enough of him putting pubes on your pillow that you won’t ignore it. More importantly though, he’s has been where you are and he knows how much it sucked to not have a wise sherpa guiding him to the top of Mt. Cool. When he tells you to listen to “Led Zepplin IV” instead of Phil Collins or watch “Life of Brian” instead of Lifetime movies, it’s because he doesn’t want you to make the same mistakes he did.
That’s why I wish I had an older brother. Not that it matters much now. Once you’re 25 (as I am), being cool is like being an Olympic gymnast–if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not going to. But last week, I learned something that made all the disappointment about never having a brother come flooding back: Limp Bizkit has a new song.
When I was 12, I loved Limp Bizkit. And Staind. And Korn (sorry, my keyboard doesn’t have the backwards “r”). They were the first bands I discovered on my own, and their anger, their speed, and most of all, their cursing was like having someone whisper “I get you” into to my wax-filled ears (I wasn’t a particularly hygienic adolescent). I put posters on my walls, wore band t-shirts over thermal undershirts and spent hours listening and re-listening to their CDs so I could sing along to every word, especially the “f**k”s. No one could relate to the angsty 12-year-old me like these angsty grown men in khakis and incongruously colored baseball caps.
And then, a couple years later, I just stopped. I discovered early-’90s indie rock bands like Pavement, Dinosaur Jr. and Superchunk that I still love today and realized that songs about “doing it all for the nookie” or “breaking your f****ing face” weren’t as revelatory as they once seemed. Then, over the course of the next 10 years, I developed a deep shame for my lost years (that’s what I call my time as a rap-metal fan). Sometimes it seems like it would have been less embarrassing if I were into the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. At least I could have blamed that on my older sister. But instead, I was listening to the most dim-witted, uninspired genre of music to come out of the ’90s. I had a hand in creating that, and it pains me to admit it.
Limp Bizkit’s return only reminds me of that time. It only makes me feel shame for having done something that I so intensely regret. Can’t Limp Bizkit and their rap-rock cohorts just disappear forever? How am I supposed to erase my chocolate starfish and hot dog flavored memories if Fred Durst is still walking around a stage looking like he has to take a dump? And why, mom and dad, couldn’t I have had an older brother?