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Let me start from the beginning. I’m a huge fan of Bad Religion.

If punk is not in your wheelhouse, Bad Religion is a band from Los Angeles formed the year after I was born. If you go by number of albums owned, they are probably my favorite band. I like their bleak lyrics about fascist theocracies and environmental degradation as well as the speedy precision of their guitar, bass and drums.


When I was 15, I saw them play but smoked too much grass and had to leave early. That’s when I learned that punk rock and marijuana really don’t go well together. Noise and aggression don’t get along with weed. It’s probably why we lost Vietnam.

Anyway, my mom sent me $100 for Christmas, so the girlfriend and I ventured to Denver on Sunday to blow all of it at a record store. We scored some good stuff. I picked up, among other items, a 42-song compilation by northern Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers called “Assume Nothing. Question Everything” that seriously needs to go on the masthead of a newspaper somewhere. What a great sentiment for journalists. You know I …

Stay focused, John.

I also found it necessary to purchase a new band t-shirt as the sleeves fell off of one and I spilled coffee on the other. What I really wanted was a Joy Division shirt to match this I-thought-I-just-needed-a-good-night’s-sleep-but-it’s-so-much-worse outlook I’ve been working on for the past few months

Alas, they did not have a Joy Division shirt for the gentleman-of-size I gaze upon in the mirror every morning. So I perused the stock at hand and came upon the classic Bad Religion shirt in extra large. This particular shirt features a large, Christian cross with a no sign emblazoned over it. I gathered up our half dozen CDs, a sticker and two punk band buttons and paid for the lot. A bargain at only $75.

I realized about two blocks away that I will never wear this shirt out of the house.

Allow me to explain. I’m not a religious man. The whole business of a man in the sky watching everything I do always seemed silly to me, but I’ve got no beef with nice religious people. And they do exist in small pockets. The Bad Religion “Cross Buster” shirt is directed at the type of “Christians” who want to take away school breakfast from poor kids and beat up gay kids, you know, because that’s totally how Jesus would roll.

A real Christian would know the shirt is not directed at them and not be offended.

Unfortunately, I live in a part of the Denver metro area where most of the large pick up trucks have a nondenominational mega church bumper sticker right next to the assault rifle bumper sticker. These people won’t like the shirt, and I’m too tired to fight with them about it.

All of this is moot anyway. I found my cherished Joy Division shirt at the next record shop. I wore it today to pick up cat food.

I guess I’m just not that punk anymore.

Read more Bear: Stalk him:

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