August 11, 2020:

The San Diego Police Band is here to teach us cops are cool by performing "You're Pushin' Too Hard" and "You've Got to Change Your Evil Ways", a perfect pair of transparently misogynistic anthems, to an auditorium of incredulous grammar schoolers who quite rightly think this is the most ludicrous display of profound uncool anyone's ever seen.

It's astonishing adults in authority can be so absurdly, helplessly, irredeemably inept. While their posturing attempts to communicate, "Hey, we're your friends!", the actual language they broadcast is, "We think you little morons are so stupid you'll fall for anything." Not just patronizing, unmistakably so, with a perfect, limpid, glass-like transparency every non-adult sees through instantaneously.

Our jaws are dropped, our applause is scattered without either sarcasm or attempt at feigned politeness. We're all too stunned to fake anything.

This is the quality of adulthood in that city at that time. A clown show of inept authorities radiating mediocrity. This level of third-ratedness was so common it doesn't stand out as a milestone or a turning point or a fork in the road. It was more of the same, and I remember it for two reasons. First, because once I was home and had time to process I laughed so hard my mother called in through my closed bedroom door to ask what's so funny. Second, because twenty years later on holiday in my home town I caught a snip of the San Diego Police Band on local news, still playing "Change Your Evil Ways" before an auditorium of dumbfounded pre-teens.