Meet the Nieratkos - YOLO Killed My Crab Tee

By Chris Nieratko

YOLO.

SWAG.

LIKE A BOSS.

These are the painful catch phrases of 2012. I don’t get out much, so they haven’t really bothered me at all. I’m generally not around people who use that type of language aside from SWAG, which is uttered by tweens in my skateshop on occasion. I politely ask them to take such ugly language outside.

I actually had no idea YOLO existed until last month when a friend of mine who was visiting from California taught me the word and its meaning. She said a grown man had used it on their first/last blind date. She immediately called for the check and left.

You Only Live Once. YOLO. It’s awful, isn’t it? I hope it doesn’t live past the winter. Where did it come from? The internet told me, “The earliest known use of the acronym is attributed to Adam Mesh from the third season of the NBC reality show The Average Joe. Mesh launched the “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) clothing line on March 20th, 2004.”

It also told me it was in a Drake song last year.

Both reality TV and Drake suck, so it makes sense that they are the sources. But like I said, I had never heard the term and I still rarely hear it, so I harbored no ill will toward it. Until yesterday. I drove four hours down to the cesspool by the sea, Ocean City, Maryland (a place that makes the scum on the beach of Seaside Heights, NJ look like The Hamptons) to interview Steve Caballero about getting his band Soda back together for a benefit and watch the other Vans guys, Christian Hosoi, Jeff Grosso, Alex Perelson, and Pedro Barros, in the Dew Tour. That is what I told my wife and my editor. The real reason for my trip was to get one of those fantastic t-shirts I remember from my youth that read, “I Got Crabs In Maryland.”

If you’ve ever been to Ocean City, you know that it exists inside of a snow globe, lying dormant until you decide to return and shake things up a bit. When you’re not around, it stays frozen in time. Brett Michaels is playing this weekend, for example.

All the restaurants and miniature golf courses are exactly as you remember them. No improvements have been made to the rides. The claw game on the boardwalk that swoops in and grabs you stuffed animals is still stocked with plush California Raisins and Spuds Mackenzies instead of modern childish interests like Angry Birds and iPads. It reminds me very much of my boyhood home of Sayreville, NJ (home of Bon Jovi and Skid Row). Walk into any dive bar in Sayerville (or Sewerville, as it’s regarded) and you time travel back to 1986. The jukebox is total cockrock, the girls have high hair, low expectations, and acid wash jeans. It’s quite entertaining on sad and rainy days, although the patrons are dead serious; you can tell by the endless amount of bondo on the Camaros and Mustangs in the parking lot preserving the Glory Days of all the now overweight high school football studs and sluts from nearly three decades ago.

I forced my wife and kids to walk for miles over my two days in Ocean City to find my shirt with no luck at all. The classic Maryland shirt had been replaced by YOLO sweatshirts, tees, shorts, tank tops hats, etc, etc. SWAG ran rampant. EVERYONE WAS LIKE A BOSS. I asked a t-shirt stand owner what happened to my shirt, “That shirt is stupid,” he said, leaning on a rack of neon colored YOLO ponchos.

I was heartbroken. And we decided to leave town three days early.

“Don’t you have to cover the event?” My wife asked.

“I can’t work under these conditions,” I told her.

I can just as easily watch the contest on NBC this weekend while I search the internet for my t-shirt.

More stupid can be found at Chrisnieratko.com or twitter.com/Nieratko

 

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