[Today: A last minute Christmas shopping scramble turns to gold...]
Achtung Baby was released on November 19th, 1991 during fall term of my senior year of college. This was back in the days when it was possible for an album to reach the kind of critical mass popularity where you heard it everywhere, all the time. Achtung Baby was definitely that kind of album. I lived with four guys at the time, each with a different taste in music (metal, electronica, hip-hop, and classic rock), but this album busted genre borders and was played endlessly – and enjoyed without reservation – by all.
One morning a few days before Christmas, I was hanging out with my roommate Jonesy, and we started comparing notes about our holiday plans. Since both of us were lazy, no-good, class-cutting SOB’s, we eventually figured out that neither of us had done a lick of Christmas shopping, and were both staring down lengthy ‘to-buy’ lists. Emboldened by our mutual inertia, we decided to spring into action, piling into Jonesy’s (sah-weet) vintage Volvo sedan and heading out to Valley River Center to purchase the love and goodwill that comes from a few well-chosen gifts.
Normally neither of us would have willingly set foot within five miles of this gigantic mall, but on this particular day we caught the Christmas spirit, and powered through our shopping in a couple of laugh-filled hours. I don’t know about Jonesy, but I was on like a Nordstrom Nostradamus that day, buying perfect gifts for people that they didn’t even know they wanted yet. After we’d each checked the last names off our lists, we high-tailed it out of the mall and headed to the local bakery for a fat piece of pie. While we scarfed pie, we laughed about how a series of chores that had loomed so dreadfully had turned into such a great day.
Of course, Achtung Baby was the soundtrack of this entire day, and it’s now impossible for me to hear it without thinking about that trip to the mall. Jonesy would – for good reasons – drop out of school and move to Portland a mere few weeks later. So even though we didn’t know it at the time, that little shopping excursion was the last happy hurrah on our time together in college. But damn, what a great way to go out.