Picture It…America, 2000ish.

Let me set the stage for you. It’s 1998, 1999, 2000ish. Sometime in there. You’re with your friends because it’s Friday night and your parents don’t care. Everybody’s wearing their absolute best low-rise jeans and chunky heeled boots. The eyeshadows are glimmery and the lips are properly smacked.

It’s dark and smokey because people are smoking cigarettes in a public place. A waitress at this public place brings over a tray of drinks and before she pulls a pen and pad from her apron, she wipes her hands down the sides of the threadbare, probably borrowed flannel shirt that she’s tied around her waist. She smiles and the thick, black eye liner she’s lined her red lips with pops, even through dark, smoky atmosphere. She takes the order of cokes and a basket of fries and disappears elsewhere. You make a mental note to find a velvet choker like hers. Nice. It would go so well with the new low-rise bootcut jeans you bought at the mall earlier.

You suddenly know you’re going to have a good time because a song you love from the Jawbreaker soundtrack begins to play. It’s by The Donnas.

You give your friends a sideways glance. The four of you search the entire room (as much as humanly possible), and somebody grabs a lighter. Someone else pulls a pack of cigarettes out of their purse. And the four of you light up, since you’re absolutely sure nobody who knows your parents is there. And, just as you’d hoped, nobody gives a hoot that you’re smoking in a public place, but you’re only sixteenish.

THESE SHOES were iconic. ICONIC I say!

Your food arrives. You eat, drink, and are merry. Until somebody accidentally drops a little bit of ketchup on their Steve Madden wedges. Bummer. The music changes, and this time it’s Six Underground by Sneakerpimps. Everybody leaves the table and heads to a central area to dance. And that is your night’s beginning.

You end up at a house party somewhere else later because there were neon BYOB flyers in town with the promise of music your parents don’t approve of and beer your parents also don’t approve of. And, more than likely somebody’s burner cousin with a hookup will have weed. So, naturally, you have to go.

Somebody’s girlfriend is crying with a bloody knee at the bottom of the stairs. Two drunk girls are taking care of her, so she’s fine and you grab your best friend, link elbows, and head to the kitchen. Smoke is thick all the way there. You try not to trip over your JNCO’s but it’s really hard when your boots are so heavy and you’ve somehow managed to get a contact buzz within five minutes of arrival. But, there is a keg set up on the deck beyond the kitchen and a dude you’re into is out there kicking around a hackey sack. You grin to yourself because you know Manic Panic has your hair looking and smelling like candy.

Yeah. Totally foolproof career.

But, you never make it to hackey sack boy because somebody streaks past you, knocking his naked way into hackey sack boy, who then erupts into hysterical teenage boy laughter. Hilarity ensues, but your bff’s got your back and hands you a red plastic cup full of goodness knows what. And you drink it because that’s your best friend for life and one day you’re going to open a record store together in town. It’s a fool proof plan guaranteed to make money, right? Cause people will always be buying records!

You forget about hackey sack boy the minute you gulp half the contents of your drink down the gullet. You see stars. But, you drink the rest because you’re enjoying your night and are looking forward to watching your friend’s boyfriend fall over on his skateboard for the millionth time since your arrival. Because JNCO’s and skateboards, though aesthetically pleasing and acceptable, are quite hazardous.

But, then, you see red and blue flashing lights. The cops are there to break up the party and everyone scatters. Bestie is nowhere to be seen, but out of the corner of your eye, you see Eminem and he knows your name. He reaches for your hand and says, “I’ll drive you home!”

So, then, he does. You sneak past your dog, crawl into bed, and wake up the next morning to your bff sitting on the edge of your bed. She’s wearing one of those velure track suits, a black set, and doesn’t have on any makeup at all.

“Who drove you home?” She asks.

You shrug. It could have been any one of hundreds of local boys because they all look like the real Slim Shady these days.

Like. Literally all the dudes I knew were Eminem. Or, at least they thought they were.

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