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**CURRENT PRINT: 318: Installment 25 features "318," by Birmingham's Nadria Tucker, the story of a stripper's daughter in prep for a beauty pageant and so much more. Also: "Big Doug Rides Torch," a short from Chicago's Jonathan Messinger's new Hiding Out collection.
**WEB: MIXTAPE: YOU OUGHTA KNOW Mark Snyder
MIXTAPE: HELL IS FOR CHILDREN Amber Drea
CONDOTOWN Robert Duffer
SLIP Charles Blackstone
MIXTAPE: GET ME AWAY FROM HERE I'M DYING Marti Trgovich
MIXTAPE: PIANO BAR Luis Amate Perez
THE ANTIPURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE: BUSHBABY | Andrew Davis

YOU OUGHTA KNOW
---
Mark Snyder

Based on: "You Oughta Know"/Alanis Morissette

The radio rumbled to life as I started my 1983 Chevy Caprice, the DJ hyping a "brand new song from a brand new artist" coming up at the top of the hour. My brother climbed into the front seat passenger side. My father drove his auto-tribute to his years at Ohio State University -- a gray paint job with scarlet interior -- with my sister hiding in the backseat. We would be following them out to the cemetery.

To distract us from our grandmother's funeral, I turned up the volume. I was being the good boy that year -- the well-behaved son, the honorable student, the responsible employee -- determined to finally make it out of my small, dying hometown. I was graduating high school in a few weeks, with plans of moving to Columbus, Ohio the following September 10th to start college. My entire being was focused on that day and sticking to the rules. It was time to move on. My grandmother knew when to make the proper exit and I was following her lead.

Fiction on Demand

The brigade of cars started moving ahead of us. My brother was chewing on a pen cap he found in the pocket of his navy blue sports jacket. As I started to shift the car into the proper gear, a woman's voice came forth from the radio without much of the way of introduction: "I want you to know that I'm happy for you and I wish nothing but the best for you both " There was a harsh quality to her voice, confrontational and strident, and it felt like she was grabbing me by the throat to make sure that her anguish fully registered. In those first few lines of her song, it did for me. I was captivated.

As the song's guitars kicked in and she told us why was she was here and how it was not fair to deny her, I sat in my high school car with my high school life beginning to eek from me, mesmerized by the specificity and her anger and the near-childlike bewilderment that she infused lines like "It was a slap in the face, how quickly I was replaced" and "Does she know how you told me you'd hold me until you died." This was rage. This was confrontation. This was a person who had been rejected and was not about to go quietly into the shadows of past relationships. No -- she was taking her stand and getting her 4-minute, 9-second moment. No rules for her.

As I moved my car behind my father's, I was convinced that my grandmother -- a nasty repugnant woman who criticized my mother every chance she could and emotionally terrorized her own children -- had been reincarnated as this singer from Canada whose album was being released in a few weeks.

As the song clashed to its conclusion -- Flea and Dave Navarro's guitars just keeping up with her wailing -- I practically shook with recognition. My brother sat impassively next to me, just waiting to get this burial thing over with. My father was climbing out of his car with my sister, barely holding it together. I realized how little I wanted to have in common with this reality and what possibilities awaited me come September. I realized that this Alanis Morissette person would be my way out.

"You Oughta Know" was my favorite song for the next year and a half. I played at it all hours of the day, in every version I could get hands on. It was a constant during my hours DJ-ing at the college radio station. When Alanis performed it on the 1996 Grammy Awards in a dramatic slowed-down version with orchestra, I shrieked through the halls of my dormitory and called my friends, the song having been reborn in a totally new way. And when her concert tour finally swung through Columbus the following summer after my freshman year, my wheelchair-bound friend Natalie insisted I go with her, so we could sit in the up-close section for the handicapped. For the record, Natalie and I held hands together and wept several times during that show.

Today, I refuse to apologize for my devotion to Alanis Morissette; despite the near-constant barrage of awkward lyrics and cheesy music she uses to accompany the songs of her psyche. As a fan, you accept the quirks of your singer-songwriters. No matter how far I think I've progressed or grown since that spring with my brother in my car, impatiently waiting to bury my grandmother and start my life, the song itself -- "You Oughta Know" -- brings me to that fellow following all the rules in his hometown and praying for a direction all his own, and the moment I realized the power and strength derived from tapping into those private and raw moments of complete emotional honesty within myself, and honoring those moments without judgment.

Without judgment.

Ah. There it is again.

I hope it is always like this.

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