I went to a punk-rock show on Tuesday, and it was a needed dose of medicine: angsty screams (among loving smiles) from Laura Jane Grace, a welcoming crowd in a sea of combat boots and a one-on-one night with my brother.

I’ve been pissed off for a while for reasons I won’t clog pricy newsprint with, but I always wear a smile. That’s what I do. That night, something changed. I’ve never drowned myself in punk; I enjoy it, but I didn’t even really know who this band was. It was an excuse to tag along with my little brother on his last night in Denver after a visit from Hawaii that brought the love, giddy laughs and self-actualized tears I needed so badly.

Between the giant smile on Grace’s face as she belted out songs from albums like “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” and my brother — looming 4 inches taller, smiling down on me and hugging me between fist pumping and crowd jumping — was pure soul dopamine.

Wear-and-tear has eroded self-actualization, self-esteem and self-love. I needed to rise up. Maybe it was being surrounded by punk-rock ethos or the raw emotion of Grace or the extra-large heart of my brother, but that night, my inner distress twisted into self-fulfillment. (Plus, the band came out of Gainesville, Fla., my college town, and the bassist did the Gator chomp. Go Gators. Cherry on top.)

I’m still pissed off. But I’ll try to stuff what I can’t control in a sack and watch it be engulfed in flames in my mind. I’m going to try to let inner rage drift into different energy. Maybe some watered-down nihilism or something.

I had two other realizations that evening.

One, I was watching a pair of big dudes stationed below the stage tasked with catching crowd surfers. One floating body after another, all sizes of human, these guys were lifting punk rockers out after they surfed atop the Sea of Pit. “Bend at the knees,” I yelled in my head. Is his core strong enough for that 300-pound surfer barreling his way? Dudes. Your backs will turn on you! I only float a 45-pound toddler and I own two canes.

This was weirdly therapeutic to watch. These men were there to capture potentially dangerous incidents and toss them to the side (like a steel-toed foot clobber to an unsuspecting head or a faceplant to concrete). That’s what I’m going to do with problems from now on, I thought.

Two, I need a new phone. Even though I’ve given my iPhone 6 a much-needed PopSocket lipoma to help curb shakey photos, where the shit do I put my beverage when I’m trying to zoom in on the stage? I gazed in amazement as these kids would single-handedly hold up phones and the mini-robots would zoom, sharpen, click and save the perfect photo.

Alas, I live on a journalist’s salary. Instead I’ll keep my brother’s beaming face from that evening forever burned into the iCloud of my memory.

*Not enough storage. Your brain cannot be backed up because there is not enough iCloud storage available.*

Time to purge and burn.


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