John Thomas was a devoted follower before many of us.
John was a devoted follower of Limp Bizkit. He was a rap-metal acolyte, and everyone in our circles in middle school knew it.
John would scrawl the lyrics to Limp Bizkit songs like "Nookie" and "Re-Arranged" into our school desks with his pen. He even did it to the desks in the classrooms of teachers we liked.
He would take teachers' chalk and draws his fish-in-the-sand on the blackboards of our eighth-grade Spanish classroom. It was the three-trunked tree familiar to all fans like him. It represented all that Limp Bizkit stood for: big, puffy jackets; backwards baseball caps; sexually-explicit lyrics.
John would run to the DJ's table at middle school dances and furiously scrawl the name of as many Limp Bizkit songs as he thought he would realistically get played over the speakers, songs like "Faith" and "Break Stuff."
"It's just one of those days when you don't wanna wake up/ Everything is f***ed up/ Everybody sucks."
This was heavy-handed stuff for thirteen year-olds. It was rock 'n roll rebellion. After all, who could forget the mud-covered, shirtless crowds of devotees at Woodstock '99 where Limp Bizkit reigned a supreme live act. John would have been one of them. He would have moshed with the best of them. But since he could not be at Woodstock '99, John just moshed with the best of our classmates on the floor of the middle school cafetorium.
Factoid: "Cafeteria" + "Auditorium" = "Cafetorium."
And what was the price of John's discipleship? This is how it was relayed to me.
John and two of our mutual friends went into the woods. John picked up a log to recreate the scene from the music video of one of his favorite Limp Bizkit songs "My Way."
John proved he belonged in the video. He acted just like the star. He swung a log up and down like a caveman.
And then John hit himself square in the forehead with what must have been a piece of wood that weighed something in the double digits. And John almost fell backward.
That's the spirit of rap metal, and it's a tough way to grow up.