Now I wanna sniff some glue

Nick Baker

The global economy is in shambles. World War III and which Middle Eastern or South Asian country would make the best launching pad seem to be more a question of “when” than “if.”

The administration of our 44th president seems to be dumbfounded about what to do about the plummeting prospect of reviving American industrial interests, banks and the housing market. Meanwhile, the economy has Lady Liberty locked in the bedroom crying to her mother while Uncle Sam sleeps on the couch with a bottle of whiskey and a box of Pop-Tarts.

Just about every talking head in the news media maintains that being educated and informed about the economy and global politics is of the essence.

I say damn it all to hell. I wanna sniff some glue.

For the last couple weeks my mind has been quite an unpleasant and stressful place. Then I decided to toss in my old “Ramones Mania” album that I picked up when I was probably 13, thinking maybe the last thing I needed was to hear Tom Waits or Shane MacGowan growl out another whiskey-fueled ballad depressant.

After a few numbers, I had a revelation. I was pumping my fist, banging my head and altogether forgetting that I had significantly more important things on my plate.

I rediscovered a band that I now consider to be one of the greatest and most quintessential American rock ‘n’ roll bands in history.

The Ramones represented the purest form of rock ‘n’ roll since Chuck Berry, and they are as much a part of Americana as Bob Dylan or the Boss.

It was three-chords, two minutes, sing-a-long choruses and no social or political espousing.

They played fast (always power chords), never experimented with any creative time signatures (1, 2, 3, 4!) and sang songs that would make the average suburban housewife take happy pills because she couldn’t understand how little Ralphie could sing songs like “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” and “I Wanna be Sedated.”

The band only briefly touched on politics with “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” a song about a visit by Ronald Reagan to a German military cemetery where 49 SS members were buried. It didn’t reek of political opinion but simply questioned the merits of the leader of the free world laying down a wreath at a cemetery for war criminals:

“If there’s one thing that makes me sick, it’s when someone tries to hide behind politics. I wish that time would go by fast, somehow they manage to make it last.”

So many celebrities and musicians take it upon themselves to climb up on their Versace-and-Fiji Water pulpits and tell us what to think about politics. It’s nice to hear a band that wanted no part of that smug pile of steaming crap.

The best part about their catchy little numbers is that they were pop gold.

The Ramones were essentially apolitical in a punk movement that stressed activism. This was largely due to the fact that Johnny Ramone, the legendary chainsaw guitarist who had no use for guitar solos or deviation from a I-IV-V chord progression, was a staunch conservative in an overwhelmingly liberal genre.

Politics were for Neil Young and Jimmy Carter. The Ramones were there to do everything else.

What if everybody decided to take on the Ramones’ approach to life?

What a world it would be.

Imagine for a second if Wall Street was filled with maniacal, zombified, Armani-wearing, glue-sniffing social dregs.

“I say, Johnson, you did move the money from our Zurich-based Union Bank of Switzerland account to one that won’t rat us out for tax evasion or embezzlement, right?”

“No, you scum-sucking festering pus-oozing wound on the American economy!” Johnson would scream with fire-red eyes and a hint of drool running from the left corner of his mouth. “I’ve been on a malt liquor-and-rubber cement fumes bender for the last nine days! I haven’t done a goddamn thing! I’ve eaten nothing but 47 Filet-o-Fish sandwiches – no tartar! And here’s something else you ought to know, you fat old swine: Every Thursday afternoon for the past eight months, I’ve been nailing your wife, walking your dog and stealing cufflinks out of your bedside drawer on my way out!”

By god, the world would certainly be a better place if people like Bernard Madoff had decided at age 23 that he preferred Wild Irish Rose and the company of coke whores to money laundering, fraud, perjury and theft after a few brain-draining sniffs of good old toxic American horse paste.

So here’s to Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee.

Here’s to sniffing glue, remembering rock ‘n’ roll radio, being sedated, getting psycho therapy and shock treatment.

Here’s to burying your kids in the “Pet Sematary,” going to “Rockaway Beach,” hopping with the cretins, living on “Chinese Rocks” and beating that damn brat with a baseball bat.

Here’s to being too tough to die.

Here’s to the Ramones.

Gabba gabba hey.

Nick Baker is a junior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]