How A Poster Led Me To Flunk A Maturity Pop-Quiz

August 28, 2011


So, does everyone have these moments?  These moments where you think “I’m never going to get the hang of this ‘being a grown-up’ thing”?  Moments where the opportunity presents itself to be a responsible, forward-thinking adult and you kindly pass, thank you, I’ll go for juvenile and short-sighted?  I’m talking to a friend and he says, “Hey, do you still have that Nirvana/ Screaming Trees play bill I gave you years ago?”  Which, of course, I do.

Why?  Because the poster in question was for a concert that was one of those perfect evenings of youth.  I was in college and had a radio show with a friend called “The Inner Ear Infection”  (the show, not the friend).  We’d go to occasional concerts, and frequently talk to the bands by grossly inflating the importance and audience of our radio show. One night was a Screaming Trees show at the Pine Street in Portland.  Also on the bill was the band Tad (awesome), and Nirvana, who had not yet released Nevermind.  They were incredible, as you might imagine.  I have a tape of one of our shows somewhere with me saying to look for Nirvana because they’re going to change everything and be huge and so on, which would be impressive except I’m basing that statement off of their album Bleach*, which is good and fine, but not an album that says “Paradigm Changer,”  and also because this is contrasted against the volumes of  my predictions that are absurdly wrong. (“You’ll see, these mp3’s won’t catch on.” “I see a big, big future for this John Edwards.  Next president, for sure!” “Frappuccino?  Please.  People don’t want thousand-calorie milkshakes for breakfast, they want coffee.”)  But at the show that night, everything’s just perfect, and by omitting a few details, we’re suddenly people the managers want the bands to meet, so, we met everyone, yadda yadda yadda, aren’t we cool, etc.

"Gimme a cuppa joe. With whipped cream. And syrup. And sprinkles. And ice cream. Light on the coffee. Extra chocolate."

Fast-forward several years.  I’m at this friend’s house and he’s got several concert bills, including the one for that show.  I start going on about the evening and the show and the radio show, and probably – God help me – about it being a “perfect evening of youth” or whatever; maybe I stare off in to the middle-distance and wipe away a single, bittersweet tear, and he just gives me the poster.  Which was very nice of him.  And not totally unprecedented.  We’ve known each other since we were little and we use to make horribly lop-sided trades; like, I’d give him a headless Han Solo action-figure, and he’d give me a squirt-gun, 3 Stormtroopers, 5 hot wheels and a toy robot.  He’s a generous person.  That or every car salesman’s dream-come-true.  (“I’d like to trade in my Mercedes for this Volvo.  I will also offer my house. And be your butler for one year. Okay, two years.”)

So now he asks me if I still have it, which I do.  He says good, because it’s now apparently worth somewhere between one to two thousand dollars.  I, of course, offer to return it.  He, of course, refuses.  But here’s the funny part, the part that perhaps makes me a bad grown-up:  He says, “I figured I should tell you so you can keep it in good shape, but also because you might want to get it insured.”



That’s a very prudent, responsible reaction to that news.  That’s a reaction an adult should have.  It could be a question on the “Are you mature?” quiz in a magazine.

My thoughts on its value were more in line with this scenario:

“Oh, hi, come on in.  Would either of you like anything to drink?  Dinner should be another twenty minutes or so.  Oh, that?  That’s my poster from a Screaming Trees concert.  It’s worth upwards of TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS.  Yes, Nirvana was one of the opening bands that night.  I met them.  I HAVE MET KURT COBAIN AND HAVE A POSTER WORTH OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS.  AVERT YOUR GAZE AND TREMBLE BEFORE THE COOLEST PERSON YOU’VE EVER MET, SUBURBAN SCUM.  Anyway, let me take your coats. Is that a new haircut?  I like it…”

I’m kidding, of course.  I never remember to take people’s coats.

Is that bad that my first thought wasn’t insurance?  Is it a little sad that I’ve now shifted from attending grimy concerts to having posters from them that have accrued capital?  Regardless, there seem to have been a test here that I did not pass.  This adulthood, thing, man.  It’s tough.


*On the re-issue of Bleach that came out a couple years ago, they actually include a live recording of that show at the Pine Street that night.  If you listen to it closely, I’m the guy in the background in a state of subdued cool.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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17 Comments on “How A Poster Led Me To Flunk A Maturity Pop-Quiz”

  1. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Thank you so much for this trip down memory lane. I am in awe that you have that poster and saw them. I went to school at The Evergreen State College in Olympia the fall of 1991 (also known as “that school were everyone smokes pot”…ahem). Nirvana was still relatively unknown then and they actually played a gig at the college in the little dorm right NEXT to mine. My roommates tried to tell me how cool they were and sadly, I didn’t catch on to that fact until Nevermind came out (I am now a Nirvana fanatic) I was too into the Chili Peppers then. But I did, swear to God (I am not kidding, really! seriously!) see Kurt Cobain. He was standing in front of Top Food holding a bag of groceries smoking a cigarette. My roommate once again, pointed him out to me and I just shrugged. To say I’m a little slow on the uptake is putting it mildly. But damn do I make sure I tell that little story to every single person I ever meet! I’ll have to check out the Bleach tune you mentioned.


    • Byron MacLymont Says:

      No way! I was THIS CLOSE to going to Evergreen! We would have been there at the same time; crazy! Not to get all “You had to be there, man” but that was a pretty amazing time to live the pacific NW, wasn’t it? That’s very funny about your roommate pointing out Cobain.

      So, since your a Nirvana fan (and maybe you already know all this): On September 27, the 29th anniversary edition of Nevermind comes out. It’s 4 discs, 3 of which I don’t really care about. But the fourth disc is the version of the album originally produced by Butch Vig, before it was given a more commercial-friendly spit-shine. And that I am dying to hear. Maybe I’ll be hugely disappointed, but a version of the album with a little more In Utero rawness? Sign me up.


      • She's a Maineiac Says:

        I will get all “you had to be there man”! I consider those days to be a special time in my life–a magical time (I know, I sound all gushy) The music that was coming out then?! Damn! Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam. And Nirvana makes me all weepy. I didn’t know they had a new box set coming out. My brother bought me When the Lights Go Out a few years ago. When I listen to it, I can almost feel 20 again. Am I old or what?

        I hate “Smells Like Teen Spirit” now. (the only tune my husband knows, of course) But you have to admit the entire Nevermind album is incredible (very commerical, but still). I was more into the head-thrashing rarer tunes, too, back in my 20s (I don’t do much head-banging now, too dangerous).I like the softer versions of their music, too. Their MTV Unplugged gives me goosebumps.

        I’m sure there are some live tunes I haven’t heard. Damn, Evergreen! (sigh) Too bad you almost went there. Those were the days, my friend. I must have listened to Incesticide millions of times in my dorm.

        I went on youtube just now and listened to a few Nirvana gems. Thank you, Byron for starting off my morning right. I might even try and dig out my old CDs (if my kids haven’t destroyed them yet…)

        I promise, next time I reply on your blog, it won’t involve lengthy gushy Nirvana stuff, sorry!


        • Byron MacLymont Says:

          We have a very Pro-gush-about-incredible-music policy here at The Byronic Man, so you’re in safe waters. And I agree – I’ll not listen to Nevermind for ages and ages because I think of it as the “pop” one, then listen to it and am reminded how good it is.


  2. PCGuyIV Says:

    If being grown up means thinking about insuring something vs. thinking “Yahoo! I’ve got something personally relevant to my life that other people say is important/significant/valuable,” then I’ll take being immature. Perhaps protecting and insuring the thing needs to be considered, but if that’s all that is forefront in your mind, what’s the point of owning it? Monetary value can be an important factor, but perhaps the personal thrill related to the item is what is truly more important.


  3. squelchorama Says:

    I’ll give you fifty bucks for it.

    More seriously, cool poster! For me, never a big Nirvana guy, it’s great to see the Screaming Trees topping the bill. And Tad, forget about it! Awesome…


  4. Blogdramedy Says:

    I’ve never had a perfect evening so I don’t get what you’re going on about. But, if I did, I’m telling you right now it would have to involve Karl Urban, whipped cream, a .38 Special CD and a slinky.


  5. Remediator Says:

    Being mature is overrated. You should do something really impetuous, like give the poster to me.


  6. gojulesgo Says:

    That’s awesome! I’d love to hear the complete version of this story sometime. And what a friend!

    I’m pretty sure they took my Grown-Up card away when I watched “Home Alone” for the 100th time last Christmas. Or possibly when I made plans to rent a sumo wrestling ring/suits for my 30th birthday (next April, by the way, in case you’re in Jersey). I could go on here, but you already [ever so kindly] read my blog, which is bursting with evidence of my immaturity.


  7. pegoleg Says:

    Just be semi-mature and put the poster behind glass, in case your astounded dinner guests spew their aperitifs all over it when you tell them what it’s worth.


  8. Lifespan of a Fly Says:

    I’m not curious to see what our original Pink Floyd’s The Wall movie poster is worth. Probably next to nothing since we mounted it and all. I guess we’re not very mature.


  9. Lifespan of a Fly Says:

    Now, I’m now curious.


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