By Elizabeth Argyropoulos of Bourgeois Alien
When Martha became pregnant in 1995, she promised herself that her son would not become just another member of the poser herd. She sat in her favorite coffee house that cool November, admiring her reflection in the window: her jet-black mohawk, Betsy Johnson dress, Dr. Martens. And she thought, “This baby’s gonna be one dope little motherfucker.”
She named her son Iggy after her idol, Iggy Pop. She gave little Iggy a mohawk, raised him in a free school, and never let him watch TV. It was vitally important to Martha to give Iggy a true punk rock education. One summer, she put up old bed sheets in the backyard and projected Sid & Nancy and watched it with Iggy when he was 16.
Another year for Christmas, she hung a coat hanger tree from the ceiling and decorated it with glittery pictures of famous rebels like Che Guevara and The Ramones. Martha was sure that Iggy’s alternative education was putting him well on the way to sculpting the rebel the world was waiting for.
When he was 17, Iggy cautiously said to his mother, “I’d like to attend a public high school for my senior year; you know, just for the poser experience.” Martha wasn’t suspicious. She assumed that Iggy wanted to garner life stories for his great novel, or perhaps gain inspiration for some punk anthem. She never suspected that Iggy was planning a rebellion. But Iggy was planning a rebellion: A rebellion against rebellion.
When Iggy announced that he applied to college to pursue a degree in finance, she thought he was surely joking. Iggy was dead serious.
Ever since Iggy could remember, he loved the feeling of going to the bank with his mother. Whenever she went to deposit whatever money she made from some lyrics she sold, or a check from her band playing some event, he loved the secure, calm feeling of being in a bank. He love the thick glass separating the teller from the customer, creating clear and distinct boundaries he was unfamiliar with in his rebellious home.
He even loved the sanitized smell of the bank: a mix of money and carpet cleanser, he suspected. Whatever the smell was, Iggy found it intoxicating and wanted to be around it as often as possible.
Iggy will never forget the month he started working at a bank. “It was like a dream come true. No more running from impromptu mosh pits, no more hours of Misfits and Dead Kennedys records, no more talks of revolutions…just a normal life. And the best part is I have my very own cubicle.”
Iggy stopped for a moment to admire inspirational posters, running his fingers over their glossy, cool surface. “Here, you can see I have a poster about success tacked to my wall…I love inspirational stuff. Oh…and this is a picture of my labradoodle, Vice President Dan Quayle.”
Martha feels that she failed Iggy. “When I look back, I guess I gave him nothing to rebel against. Maybe I should have named him Cody and let him watch Full House. Perhaps then he wouldn’t have turned out dull as fuck.”
Martha took a step back, kicked a hole through her Yurt wall (on the commune she lives on with her other, aging punk friends) and exclaimed triumphantly, “Wait a minute; fuck that! He’s a performance artist…holy shit, that’s what he is…a goddamn performance artist. His art will be his entire life. And I’m going to document it in my first book. Now THAT is some next level art. Iggy, you’re a genius!”
Iggy stood behind her and simply mouthed the words, “No, I’m not.”
He looked in the mirror, admired his neat hair, his Polo shirt, his beige loafers. Iggy looked back for a moment before leaving and said to his mother, “I love working in a bank.”
To which his mother replied, while winking, “Oh, I know you do, Iggy. You looove the bank. So punk rock.”
Punk. Fucking. Rock.
A version of this post originally ran on Bourgeois Alien
About the Author
Elizabeth Argyropoulos, also known as, “Bourgeois Alien” on Twitter and on her website by the same name, has always thought of herself as funny…but not funny, “ha ha” more of a, “ha ha, wow…that’s sad” kind of way. She has a degree in English Lit and studied improv at Second City in Chicago. While living in Chicago, she met, married, and moved to Greece for a almost a decade with her perfectly loud Greek husband. While in Greece, together they produced an even louder Greek-American son. They now all live in happily Florida, where they all fear they’ll be eaten by gators or man-size mosquitoes.