Plankeye - The Spark
Music You Might Want to Consider - P
My friend Rob and I had been hired by a contractor to help clean out an office trailer. We basically spent one Saturday towards the end of the school year moving file cabinets and furniture from one single wide into another. It was hot, sweaty work.
We each made about fifty bucks. Fifty bucks was like a million bucks when you are 17, finishing up your senior year of high school and not sure what your next step will be. Add that to my small paycheck from the burger joint that I worked at, and I was a regular Rockefeller.
My mom picked us up; it was late afternoon. I didn’t have my license yet, so we were forced to bum rides from whoever we could.
I hated my mother’s taste in music. She was a big fan of modern country, and as she pulled out of the gravel parking lot to the asphalt of the road, I quickly turned the radio off and popped in a cassette. It was The Spark, by Plankeye.
The opening bassline of “It’s a Perfect Day Jerome” is a Doc Brown Delorean of a time machine for me. I’m immediately transported to that hot trailer, my arms covered in the grime created from the combination of sweat and dust, sitting on the back porch with Rob, talking about our future while we ate our Burger King lunch, graciously provided for by our boss for the day.
Rob and I were not the best of friends, but during our senior year, we were inseperable. It was a friendship of convenience, I think for the both of us. Our other friends disappeared into relationships with girls, moved away, or drifted into their own lives, graduated into adulthood.
We sat on the precipice of our own futures. I had applied to four colleges, and was accepted to all of them. I have no idea what his plans were. I didn’t know if I would even go to school at this point. I’d had dreams, but actually chasing after them seemed like a dream itself.
So we sat, drinking giant cups of soda, eating Whoppers and french fries, endlessly quoting Dumb & Dumber and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. We had been lost in our adolescence, at least for one more day. The future could wait.
I’ve bought The Spark in every format possible. Cassette Tape, CD, and digitally. I would buy it on vinyl, if I could. Is it the greatest record of all time? No. But it’s one of the last albums I bought as a kid. It’s 1995. It was a good year full of grimy arms, unchased dreams, and friends that come into and out of your life as fast as cars at a drive thru.
I haven’t seen Rob in almost thirty years. At our ten year class reunion, a mutual friend of ours informed me that he had no desire to attend. I’m not sure his reasons, but I’m sure they were valid. I was actually kind of annoyed at this, and our friend called him up and got his voicemail. Fueled by a couple shots of vodka from the open bar, I left a scathing (but humorous) message, busting his chops for not coming to hang out.
I may have even thrown in an Ace Ventura quote. For old time’s sake.