I own a Chumbawamba CD.
Now, hold on a minute. I bought the thing in 1997 like a lot of kids strung out on Surge did, and I was a fourteen-year-old riddled with terrible taste. That’s an awful excuse, but turning actual, hard-earned summer job currency into a crime against music is a thing that I did. Repeatedly.
If shame is realizing a year later that Chumbawamba is the musical equivalent to a novel printed in Wingdings, sadness is a used record store refusing to buy their CD back from you.
So I still own a Chumbawamba CD, and it’s collecting dust in my parents basement, with now worthless Limp Bizkit and Presidents of the United States of America CDs to keep it company. I have terrible taste, an affliction for which there is no cure, just a pile of shitty music, cargo shorts, and puka shell necklaces left in the disease’s wake.
I drove a Dodge Neon in college.
Liking a horrible band is something you can do in private, but driving a girl’s car during your your formative SLAY CRUSHING years is an exercise in poor taste that’s on display for the whole world to see. It had manual windows, manual door locks, an exterior that was maybe 87% covered in paint, and an owner who once locked the keys in it while it was still running, in an on-campus parking lot, late to an accounting test. The driver’s side seat was broken, so anyone over 5’8” couldn’t operate it, and the seats wouldn’t recline, which **SPOILER ALERT** didn’t prove to be much of an issue.
But car was a hand-me-down, and because beer costs money too, you play the lie the world gives you, since self-deprecation is decidedly cheaper than a car payment. You learn to adapt to your surroundings, joking about your own shitty car, embracing it as a part of your goofball identity, then pointing and laughing as your buddy’s even more cringe-worthy Geo Metro gets lifted up by a dozen frat guys and lowered into a sand volleyball pit. This happened, and if you’re self aware of your bad taste, there’s no better place to eat than a glass house.
There’s also no place to hide in a glass house, eventually you’ll need to buy a new car, and VCRs have better trade-in value than a used Dodge Neon
I’m a Chiefs fan.
A Chiefs fan with documented terrible taste. In music, in cars, in food, and in sports teams. These are all choices I’ve made, ones I’ve learned to live with throughout the past three decades.
The plight of the Kansas City sports fan was well documented last week, so I’ll spare you the details. Just know that we saw the flaming bus headed our way, but we stood in the middle of the road anyway, united in poor taste, covered in Zubaz and barbecue sauce, flipping the narrative the finger.
It worked, at first. Despite Jamaal Charles getting knocked out during the game’s first possession, the Chiefs still managed to drive the length of the field for a touchdown. That 7-0 lead grew to 31-10 by halftime. A quick third quarter score ballooned the cushion to 28, and it looked like the narrative was asleep at the wheel. Part of you starts to get excited. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to see your team get a playoff win for the first time since Greg Hill was your favorite player (see: poor choices).
But deep down, you have an inkling of a feeling. That same feeling you had during both Chargers games this season, when that lead wasn’t quite sustainable enough. It was there in the 90’s and early aught’s too, when Lin Elliott couldn’t make a kick, and the Chiefs couldn’t force the Colts to punt, and Jim Harbaugh and Peyton Manning reaffirmed your poor life choices.
Now there’s this bearded plainsman Andrew Luck, and the Colts are starting to drive at will, and Chiefs are dropping like neo-Nazis in the “Breaking Bad” finale. Frank Reich, whose name only comes up when a team is almost done being eviscerated, is mentioned on TV. The narrative is getting this wild look in its eyes. The bus is picking up steam. You know it’s going to hit you, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.
Then, it’s over. Meaningful football has checked out for the winter, and you’re left watching helplessly as San Diego, who’s only in the playoffs because of your team’s earlier ineptitude, beats a helpless Bengals team. The bus got them too. Marmalard moves on, and life isn’t fair.
Next year will be different, maybe, but probably not. The narrative will be longer, more painful to digest, but you’ll buy in again. You’ll buy in again because you don’t know any better, because you have the worst possible taste in hobbies: sports.
Shitty, stupid, fucking sports.