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  • Writer's pictureNick Hartkop

July 20th, 2021 (Rehabilitation)

I am writing on some basic gear that I enjoy for this album. A fender Strat, Orange Crush 20, a Boss distortion pedal, and an acoustic. I have been starting with the acoustic and building off that to stick to my roots. Once the EP is recorded I will give away the guitars I use to write it.

The song I wrote today has a nice blend of older sounds (similar to I Hate This Body) and electric that brings out sadness but it is a faster paced so it’s something that’s catchy and fun. I have a name for the EP and am working with my artist on ideas for cover art currently. Because of the heavy interest in merchandise, I am going to be meeting with a production company tomorrow to see some options for very limited items. If you have something specific you want to see about, send a message through the contact form. There are no items planned at this time, but with the EP this fall I would like to give those interested something they would enjoy. ——— The Jackass Forever trailer came out today and it was fun, but sad to watch it. Jackass was the show my father and I bonded over growing up. He showed it to me in 6th grade and we would stay up late in our basement watching the DVDs of the show and CKY on school nights when I should have been asleep. I was obsessed. It was like finding this deep dive into skating culture and bad behavior. My mom was a conservative Christian who wouldn't let me watch anything, so my dad gave me that glimpse into a world I didn’t know existed and it truly changed my life. The music, the language, the idea of fucking with people for you and your friends to get a laugh at the expense of others (I particularly loved the Golf Course Airhorn skit), it was eye opening to me. It made me, a reject, feel like I had found a group of friends that let me in on their jokes. I wanted to be like Steve-O so badly growing up, an obnoxious loser who would do anything for a laugh, and that’s how I based a lot of my humor. I always tried to be the guy who took things too far, didn’t have boundaries, would hurt myself for attention and to make people laugh, it’s cringey and embarrassing to reflect on. The humor within the culture of those films was something I took with me into parts of my life where it wasn’t acceptable. Where that was a film and it started and stopped on set, I would do things like that at my jobs, at studios, and in social situations where it was unacceptable. Immaturely, and selfishly, I was in love with the idea of being a boy in adolescence. With all its insanity and grotesque coming-of-age tales, I chose to ignore the understanding of how “edgy behavior” plays into a larger role in our lives. I wasn’t cool and I wasn’t funny. I used to thrive on that kind of energy, the manic destructive high, and It was easy for me to attach myself to it because I was out of control and failing in my own life. Failing to control my own anger, failing with accepting my sexuality and how sex works, failing to be honest and admit I wasn’t a good person. I wanted to be so destructive that people would eventually leave me alone and just watch the show. But now as someone who has failed publicly and privately, I see how awful that is. I shouldn’t have had to fail that way. I shouldn’t have been an asshole with the social and emotional intelligence of a child. I wish I could go back in time. When I started treatment. I was at a point of utter failure with no place to turn. I emailed Steve-O and Brandon Novak for advice, they are two people I looked up to in my life who had severe public failures and I wanted to learn from them. I was inspired by people who had messed up their own lives, and I wanted to ask for direction on how to navigate into the next part of my life despite my past. There are a series of videos by Brandon that are really motivating, whether addicted to a substance or any kind of behavior, you can check it here: When I was in high school, right before Jackass 3 came out, there was a kid named Cody B. that I shared a study hall with. He was a troublemaker, getting in school suspensions and always starting fights. I liked him a lot and we would talk about our favorite skits from the films. The year the third film came out (senior year) he snapped his neck and died on his motorbike. Every time I see it, I think of him, and I hope wherever he is that he can see it, because I’ll be thinking of him when I see it, 10 years after his death. Looking back at my obsession with skating and things like Jackass from my youth, they make me feel pain and love. I feel pain because for the life of me, I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know why I thought making misogynistic jokes, or being toxic verbally and dismissing other people’s pain because they “weren’t in on the joke” was cool. It wasn’t. That culture was never about that, I just twisted it to fit my own behavior. The situation with Bam Margera is eerily familiar to me. He's Bipolar Manic spewing acid at everyone around him. He won't accept he is ill, won't get off social media, is constantly calling everyone out and is in a spiral of self-destruction. I hope to see Bam get the help he needs. It hurts seeing him constantly sticking to his sickness and manipulating those around him, causing his "fans" to harass the other JA guys because he got himself removed from the movie. The first step of getting help as a public figure is to leave the public eye. Social media and mental illness are a deadly combination. But I know how it feels to be narcissistic mentally, to feel grandiose, to live in an echo chamber. I hope seeing the movie release without him will make him want to begin rehabilitation. Even if the entire world begs for him to get better, he won't until he wants to commit to helping himself. I have so much shame about my past, and I want to be a good person so badly, I hope someday I’m able to earn that. I am not afraid to embrace my failures and to accept the way things are, everything is up to how we grow from it. I am thankful that my ongoing treatment will allow for me to grow privately and to stay healthy. I want to be the person I need to be. I am looking forward to seeing the new movie with my partner this fall, and all the things it will make me reflect on. Nick ————

One of my favorite songs, Dreamy Journey by The Peggies.

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