Pre-Smart Phone Messenger World

Mar 24 2016

If you watched daytime TV in the 90’s you could watch re-runs, talk shows, or soap operas. My roommate James Arts and me were really into CHiP’s. I had a Ponch action figure in the 80’s, he was big, like Barbie size. The station they were on played them in order but would randomly switch things around and not show the second part of a two part episode. Real frustrating stuff.

This apartment was 240 S 13th St between Locust and Spruce in Philadelphia. It was a bi-level 3 bedroom. There was a few other roommates but it essentially turned into me and James versus everyone. For some reason no one got our sense of humor.

One time we found a mixtape a roommate was making for a straight edge girl he met in the America Online Straight Edge chatroom. The tape was horrible, a mix of mostly shitty, contemporary straight edge music. He wrote each song title out in pen on the tape case liner. When we found it we were dying. We copied his handwriting and added “Murphy’s Law – Back with a Bong” “circle jerks-I just want some skank” and some other decidedly un-sober stuff.

This guy always scratched his ass when he talked to you. I don’t know why, like if it was a nervous habit or his ass itched. So we started doing it too, just to see if he’d notice. He never did. When he found the tape he ran into our room with it and screamed “Do you think I do this for my health?” while scratching his ass. We started cracking up and he went nuts. Like total spazz out.

We had a pretend joke band with some lyrics. One song was called “Do you think I do this for my health?”

Dasar and Jay Q had an apartment in 238. I knew Dasar from the mosh pit at City Gardens. Our apartment was a straight edge apartment, their’s was not.

There’s an alley between the two buildings in the back, making a gap around 4 feet wide over a 40ish foot drop. We used to jump over it. Lots of people came over to these apartments and jumped or did not jump. Thankfully no one ever slipped and fell. If you did not jump you were smarter than 19 year old me.

We started throwing stuff at people off the roof, it started with fruit. One night Dasar brought a case of eggs home from his catering job and they all got thrown. Things progressed and we got a water balloon slingshot and started bombing the parking lot on the corner. A grapefruit would hit the roof of a car, a parking attendant would rush out and look up in the air. We’d duck behind the ledge laughing.

Drug dealers held down the front of the parking lot sitting on milk crates. They’d leave the milkcrates when they left in the morning and they’d still be there when they returned at dusk. They were pusher style, it wasn’t a passive thing.

“Ready rock Ready rock got that rock you need that rock.” “No I’m cool.” “You don’t look cool hahahahahaha””That bol does not look cool he need that rock””hahahahahah!”

When the fruit would hit the cars they’d all jump up too.

That corner was scandalous. In the middle of the Gayborhood -hookers, drug dealers, a club that had a rave night, and a strip club. Pervert, married dudes driving in from the suburbs trawling for teenagers. Center City was different! There was a Bike Line too.

It ended for us sometime after we got a pump action BB gun and police got involved. No one got caught or went to jail. A couple of times some irate goons figured out where we were and tried to bust in, but they never won. This is when I had a Sears bike and started working at Ridgeway’s.

That was just to set the scene of where I watched CHiP’s.

The punk episode was our CHiP’s Holy Grail. We remembered it from when it was originally on but needed to see it 12 years later. It’s hard to watch everyday. In the winter it’s easier to make the trip home for CHiP’s, but in the summer forget it.

I don’t think we ever caught the episode, but we talked about it a lot. There was some amount of lore about it. Older dudes had given us some info-the crowd was real Hollywood punks, etc.

Plus Bonus TV That Happened Department:
Infamous Good Day NY from fall of 1990 discussing straight edge and moshing. I was at my friend’s house before school and this came on his parent’s TV. He was a poser who had “Sid and Nancy” written on his Chuck Taylor’s so he didn’t get it.

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Weak messenger bag in the CB’s line, 1990.

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Shelter shirt in the crowd 1990. If you look at the kids outside there’s bigger skateboard clothes mixed in with the 80’s style tshirts and shorts. In NYC times were already changing.

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Sneaking the beer into the back of the straight edge interview..

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(“it was oct 1990….i turned 16 and brought my birth cert to get in…flannel,shorts….i fall through the hole and my skinny legs go in the air” -mat t)