From the time I was nine years old until I was about thirteen I took Irish Bagpipe lessons at the Gaelic Fire Brigade at 84th and Western Ave in the south side of Chicago. The room would be filled with the off duty Irish firemen, policemen, and union laborers, and all of their cigarette smoke. We would practice on Tuesday nights for two hours. Free beer was served to ensure there was adequate weekly attendance.

One day during practice, my teacher, an old man from County Cork really let me have it. I hadn't practiced "The Wild Rover" at all for an upcoming recital. When he discovered this he completely lost it.

He screamed, "You're no feckin good. You never feckin practice, and you're never going to be any feckin good to the pipes".....He rambled on and on and took away my practice chanter and made me sit on the side until my mom came to pick me up.

After practice had finished the guys took to the bar and had shots. By this time they were plenty drunk. Among them was Doug. Doug was a massive burly tattooed punk rock guy. He was the Lambeg player, which was the one in the marching band with the massive drum.

My mom was late to pick us up, so I stayed on the side of the room to wait for her.

It was then that Doug came over to me and patted my head. "You alright kid?" he said. I tried to smile and nod. "Hey, come with me I need help to put my drums away."

A bit confused as to why he would ask the youngest for help with his big drum I hopped up and went to the parking lot with him. When we got out there it was Doug and his friend. There we no drums.

They told me how much of an angry asshole the teacher was and that I shouldn't feel bad about it. They knew which car was his, and with them drunken and maniacally laughing, they took me up to the car and encouraged me to take a piss on his car door handles.

They cheered and we went back inside. I felt so much better.

That was when I learned the whole point of art or punk rock or anything really.

There are very angry people in this world. They are going to take it out on you and they are going to try to make you feel like shit.

You might be little.
You might feel like shit.

You might be inept.

...But you have power too.