A Rose by any Other Name

Most days, on free periods during my high school years, I would spend time in the school nurse’s office; not that I had Munchausen By Proxy, but her office was a safe haven for students like myself who more often than not were going through a difficult time navigating the day to day existence at a competitive all-boys school. Certainly, she continued to treat sick kids, but once she had switched to a bigger office, there was space for at least five or six people to hang out. We all respected the fact she had a job to do first, At one point, someone brought two acoustic guitars down from the music room. Students would usually noodle around for a little while and pass the guitar to the next person; whether they knew how to play or were just messing around everything was acceptable. Before long, it became the de facto hangout for a lot of kids who were trying to figure everything out. This was when Spewing Fish Vomit was born. The band consisted of another classmate and me. We hadn’t written any originals; unless you consider a parody of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which was basically our singing the chorus over and over again, substituting the lyrics with insinuations that the nurse’s daughter was dating a student who went to our school. Of course, the nurse knew it was in jest, but we were probably pushing it. The other song I remember singing was “Just a Girl” by No Doubt. In this one, we didn’t change the lyrics. We never played any actual gigs. There are no recordings, and like The Feral Kid in Mad Max: The Road Warrior, it exists only in my memories. Out of curiosity, I looked up Emil Minty, the actor who portrayed The Feral Kid, who eventually left acting and became a jeweler. In my freshman year of college, I started a band with two of the students on my floor called Harassing Sandy, named for another student on our floor. I think we came up with the name because we liked the assonance of the “A” sounds. We played one gig in my dorm room. One thing I remember is we were proud of the fact we had obeyed the resident advisor’s rules: our drummer’s set was electronic and he plugged into a computer, and neither the bass player nor I, on guitar, used an amplifier, which had also been forbidden. One of the songs that went over well was our rendition of the song “Alive,” which our bass player sang while mimicking Sean Connery. We closed with our only original song, which I had written titled “Where is Roddy Piper?” It went over very well due to the fact many of the lyrics included the names of people on our floor. I think our bass player might have recorded the set, but I haven’t seen or spoken to him in twenty-five years. It’s nice to think the cassette tape is still out there. One day, possibly, it’ll end up on a platform on the internet. However, like the feral kid from The Road Warrior, these experiences exist only in my memories. While I would not become a jeweler (see many of my previous essays to learn about the route my life took) I would also not embark on a career as a musician unless you consider my stints in the following projects: The Van Damned, The Powdered Toast Men, and Ironbar who never played any gigs but does have music on Bandcamp. Of course, I still have the cassette tape of the first album by my rap group from 7th grade: The Artificial Implants… you hold on to a collector’s item like that.

Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. In June of 2018, he survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His other work can be found in links on his website: asdavie.wordpress.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *