Friday, March 13, 2009

From the Vault: Aerosmith - "What It Takes"

In 1989, my mother did not permit me to watch MTV. As a responsible 4th grader at the time, I fell victim to the injustice of the world - or at least the injustice of my mother and her ability to filter what I watched on the Time Warner cable network. The weekends were a serious challenge to survive, but I coped with the situation monday-friday because I knew that each following morning I would once again get my MTV fix.

Every morning before school I would walk to my friend Eric's house. His father, Mark, was a wonderful man...he not only allowed his own children to watch MTV, but he allowed neighborhood children such as myself the ability to view such splendid programming. Mark was kind of like the Harriet Tubman of the "Underground Railroad" of MTV. Do they give out medals of valor for acts such as this? If so, I would like to sign up Mark Hoffman.

The odd thing is that all these years later, I only remember two specific videos from that time period of escaping the non-MTV prison in which I called a "home". The first, "Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue and second, "What It Takes" by Aerosmith. Now, don't get me wrong..."Kickstart My Heart" was a great video: lots of car crashes mixed with rock n' fuckin' roll. "Kickstart My Heart" remains my favorite Motley Crue song to this day, likely a direct result of knowing I was breaking the rules by simply watching it. It was amazing (Mark stated on more than one occassion that he felt the video was "bad ass") but for some reason, "What It Takes" by Aerosmith has remained an even more vidid memory from my childhood.

I believe it was the Heather Duke factor. You see, I was in love with Heather Duke and things were unraveling in our relationship. "What It Takes" seemed very relevant to my life at the time and therefore, I clung to it. "So baby, what's the story? Did you find another man?" These were real questions I could ask Heather. "Tell me what it takes to let you go? Tell me how the pain's supposed to go?" Again, serious questions I was forced to ask myself somewhere between learning about the native American population of southern Ohio and proceeding into the world of double-digit multiplication problems.

Eventually Heather and I split, she started dating my friend Eric (yes, the same Eric mentioned above) and we eventually ended up dueling for the allustrious hand of Heather after school one day. Mark (read: the greatest man to ever walk the Earth) actually intervened and split up the skirmish (good thing he did that, Eric had me by about 30 pounds and would have most likely beat the shit out of me on that day).

Many years later, I am left with only a few words for Heather Duke:

"Girl, before I met you I was F.I.N.E. Fine, but your love made me a prisoner, yeah my heart's been doing time. You spent me up like money, then you hung me out to dry. It was easy to keep all your lies in disguise, cause you had me in deep with the devil in your eyes."

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