Ahhh, how my friends and I loved Jagged Little Pill when we were in, what, 8th grade? 9th grade? I could look it up but it doesn’t really matter. Suffice it to say that we were old enough to start having some drama in our lives and young enough to think it was REAL drama. Thus the joy in listening to post “You Can’t do that on Television” Alanis as a method to either work through our own “pain” or work ourselves up into manufacturing something to feel angsty over if we didn’t have any angst to speak of.
But even then, in the midst of feeling awkward and not cool enough and wondering “oh for the love of all that is good and holy was I ever going to grow boobs?” (answer: no) I was still an, if not unabashed, slightly nerd and knew the definition of the word irony. Sure, I sang in a really off-pitch adolescent voice about finding black flies in my chardonnay even though I didn’t REALLY know what chardonnay was other than some kind of wine. I bemoaned the trials of rain on your wedding day. I pretended I was one of the different Alani in the car on the way to the mall. Somehow I always got stuck being the spazzy hair-eater. All the while I had a dirty little secret. That damn song ate at my very being. I thought I would burst with know-it-all-ness every time it came on the radio. Finally, one day I snapped and yelled out “I hate this stupid song those things aren’t even ironic!” Only to be met with blank stares and “Of course they are. It’s on MTV.” Or something equally brainy and well-thought-out. So I’d sing along because, honestly, it’s really catchy. But eventually I’d have to pipe in my 2 cents. Sometimes someone would laugh when they realized the truth. A few people joined me in deconstructing exactly WHY each line was not ironic and we felt so stinking intelligent and just above it all. If there had been a coffee shop in our small town we totally would have hung out there being cool. But usually, in the true essence of teenagerdom, people just said “Who cares? This song is amazing. It’s, like, so totally exactly what I’m feeling right now, you know? I mean, gaaaaaah.” And I would cozy in a little further into my assigned role as the friend who didn’t really mind being the spazzy hair-eater Alanis on rides to the mall and who was “smart” because I knew what irony was.