Shards From the Memory Palace: "All Summer Long", Cozumel, Mexico and the Kid Rock Chillin' the Most Cruise
Though I work hard to create an air of wealth, glamour and prestige through my signature floor-length fur chinchilla coats, diamond-festooned No Limit chains and thousand dollar a day cocaine habit the truth of the matter is that I am not a wealthy man. I don’t have much in the way of “savings” or “money for long overdue dental surgeries” but what I do have are a lot of memories.
When it comes to the only meaningful yardstick in this sick and sad and wonderful and terrible world—colorful anecdotes—however, I am as wealthy as Scrooge McDuck. Only instead of a vault full of gold coins I swim through in an orgiastic, Donald Trump-like celebration of wealth for wealth’s sake, I have a decaying memory palace alive with snippets of experiences and words and ideas and smells and tastes and more than anything, sounds.
All it takes is about twenty seconds of the opening of either Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home, Alabama”, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” or Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” to send my mind hurtling back to the heady days of 2011, when, one surreal and booze-sodden January afternoon my wife and I found ourselves at a Three Amigos-themed cantina in a tourist hell called Cozumel, Mexico when “All Summer Long” came on and all the dorky fifty something Midwesterners started dancing on the tables in joy and celebration in what was quite possibly the single whitest and most American thing I’ve ever seen.
It was a sight to behold, brother. Most moments evaporate instantly in the great current of time, never to be retrieved or even contemplated again but some moments are burned indelibly in your psyche so strongly and intensely that time and memory have no dominion over them and you can return to them instantly any time you like. This was one of those moments. It felt so tacky and vulgar and hopelessly, wonderfully, dreadfully American. It was a sight and a sound that vividly and succinctly captured up the whole experience of going on the Kid Rock Chillin’ the Most cruise pretty much as a lark and because, astonishingly, I could get paid to do things like that at various points in my very distant past.
When I look back at my life, something I do regularly here because I have a lot of space to fill on this blog and maybe two other things to write about (Trump being bad and I forget the second subject), I find it difficult to believe that I got to do a lot of the things that I did. I spoke at the Juggalo March at Washington. Coined a phrase that entered the cultural parlance. Was an answer on Jeopardy and a background gag on Bojack Horseman. I wrote the coffee table book of my childhood hero, “Weird Al” Yankovic and have seen the jam band Phish from Vermont somewhere between 38 and 43 times.
Yet for some reason the cruises stand out in my mind as particularly preposterous memories. I mean, me, Nathan Rabin, the People’s Champ, on a cruise! Can you even imagine? And the Kid Rock Chillin’ the Most Cruise at that!?! I also went on the Jam Cruise and while that was surreal in its own right, it didn’t feel quite as weird as spending most of a week at sea with the American Bad Ass himself.
Of course the meaning and context of memories and experiences change and shift over time, sometimes dramatically. I was semi-charmed by Kid Rock as the host and soul and spirit of the Kid Rock Chillin’ the Most Cruise but these days I know Kid Rock mainly as a big Trump guy.
I think it is safe to say that at this point that the phrase “Big Trump guy” doesn’t apply to anybody I genuinely like.
I spent money to hang out in Mexico with a dude who undoubtedly thinks we need to build a wall to keep all those horrible Mexican criminals out of our amazing paradise of a country. I went to Mexico on a cruise where Carlos Mencia was the ship comedian, for the love of God.
The dorky Midwestern innocence of all those revelers boogying to “All Summer Long” doesn’t look quite so innocent now that Kid Rock has traded in the role of America’s agreeable hillbilly uncle for court rocker for the rancid fascist Cheeto in Chief.
I’ve soured on Kid Rock, obviously, but I will always feel a nostalgic soft spot for, if I might paraphrase a not so wise man, those long-ago days when we were drinking whiskey by the bottle (or, to be more accurate, Bud Light by the bucket), not thinking about tomorrow, singing “Sweet Home Alabama” all summer long.
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