Byrne 2018… Wait What?

I was fighting the mold in the bowl with my peas, when a thought popped into my brain…

If all of us hated high school so much, why was nothing ever changed…

Okay. So if you have never heard “Punk Rock Academy” by Atom and His Package you have missed out. I first found this song randomly on a compilation CD of punk songs that I bought for $3 dollars. That compilation was awesome and well worth $3 bucks. It was called Punk Uprisings Vol. 2. I’m 90% sure I have the CD somewhere in the house, though I am pretty sure it wouldn’t play anymore even if I could find it. Fuck! Remember compilation CDs??? They were the SHIT. I mean some of my favorite memories involve listening to one. Like you ever see the Ska Sucks comp? Or the Punk-O-Rama Vol. 3??? There was that ADD song by Ten Foot Pole that was awesome. And what about all those Fueled by Ramen comps? OH! And Short Music for Short People! 100 plus songs that are all under 30 seconds!!! DUDE. When did I stop getting those things?

But I digress. There’s clearly something here to write about in the future. But not today. Or maybe I should. No. I have somthing to announce and now is the time.  Anyways, back to my original point. “Punk Rock Academy” by Atom and His Package. Okay. So I think we need to set the mood for what I am about to talk about. You need to hear/be familiar with the tune. Here’s the link to this gem:

I know you want to say… and you’re welcome. I love that song. Catchy, isn’t it? For those that don’t know, Atom was this neat little dude that made punk rock songs by himself. The Package he refers to is his trusty synthesizer. With it he wrote and performed songs by himself. I think eventually he did add a band, but I can’t remember. Sadly, Atom eventually called it quits. I believe he became a teacher. Though I think it was a regular school. I am not sure the Punk Rock Academy ever came to fruition.

Anyways, the point of this is not to go on about compalitions and dudes with synthesizers, subjects that I could clearly discuss for hours on end. No, this blog is to make an announcement: I, Clancey Bartholomy Byrne am running for School Board of the Ironwood Area School District.

I know, right? I too said “WHHHHAAAATTTT????” as I read/wrote that. But for real. It’s happening.

What brought this on? Okay… I have thought this out and there are several parts. First,it’s the wisdom that Atom delivered: If all of us hated high school so much, why was nothing ever changed? This is totally legit. Why wasn’t it changed? I am not saying that everyone had a rough time in high school, but I know that like the lion’s share of people didn’t love it. And even if you can look back on it fondly, most cannot deny that there were some suck ass moments. So many artists, writers, actors, comedians, film makers, poets, and various others have gone on at length about their feelings on the institution. And yet only a slim few try to change it. But we still send the bulk of kids back to a place we really didn’t like going to when we were kids. What in the world are we thinking? We’re kinda being jerks. Not just to our kids but to other people’s kids. There’s this sort of “I got out, good luck mother fuckers” mentality to it. That’s not cool, dudes. It’s totally bogus and heinous(someone mentioned Bill & Ted today if you haven’t guessed). I am as guilty as anyone with this. I have been apathetic and just said “eh” about trying to do much about it. But that’s lame and not something I want to do anymore.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions that I can immediately turn the tide of what made high school a drag for me and so many others. It’s a big job and while I may go by Clanman, I am not in fact a Superman. I ain’t even one of the Great Lakes Avengers(look it up). I’m just a dude. But I’m woke to the fact that I am a dude that isn’t a fan of how everything works these days, and I am a dude that wants to help. So while maybe I can’t change or fix it all myself, maybe I can make a shred of difference working with some folks that also want to change things for the better. If all of us hated high school so much, why was nothing ever changed… I think it’s as simple as it seemed too big, too hard, and too impossible to fix it all. We start little and we go from there. I am at a point where I can help do that and be a part of this.

Next reason is my kids. It turns out I kinda like these 4. I mean don’t get me wrong I get tired of them. And annoyed with them. And more often than not I feel like Steve Martin in Parenthood. Hey look! I brought up Steve Martin in another blog. If you haven’t watched Parenthood ya totally should. Steve’s character Gil is exactly how I feel sometimes as a father. I think about some of his stuff a lot. Now while I do really love being a dad, it kinda feels like this sometimes:

And while the Diahrrea Song is of course a hilarious right of passage, it’s not exactly the enriching experience my wife and I want for our kids. We want them them to have a full and diverse education. We want them to have access to more than we did. Who doesn’t want that for their kids?

Here’s what I learned growing up: the parents that participate make a better experience for their kids than the parents that don’t. Fact. I remember specifically watching the kids that had parents that were part of the school getting access to a lot more opportunities and support than those that didn’t. My parents didn’t participate in the school. It wasn’t that my Mom didn’t want to be involved in the school… it just wasn’t her scene or style. She did her own thing. My Father actually was a teacher but aside from some subbing he never worked at my school. He did for a short stint coach middle school football to some success. But it ended in what I believe was a physical altercation with the Athletic Director. So ya know, not a big help.

I want my kids to have the best. And my wife and I have chosen to keep them in public school. So it seems to me that if this where we chose for them to learn and we want them to have the best, I best make sure that the school has the help it needs to be the best. The last few months I have been attending school board meetings and here’s what I’ve learned: ain’t nobody showing up. Seriously. It is an empty room nearly every time I’m there. Which sucks. Ya gotta show up to be informed. If you have an issue or a concern you have to bring it to the people that can do something about it. And you gotta help with it to. I am watching as this community seems to have a perceived issue with nearly everything they feel is going wrong. I am also watching these same people do nothing about their concerns. And guess what? Nothing is changing. It’s like Keanu Reeves said in that movie Hard Ball, “something… something… words… Life is showing up”. I am of course paraphrasing. I never actually saw that movie but the trailer had that in it and I saw that trailer a couple of times. I get the gist. It’s like a modern spin on The Bad News Bears. Which BTW, you should all watch. Especially for the “Booger eatin’ moron” part. It’s hilarious.

Getting back to the point I was making, I want to do Keanu proud. I want to show up for my kids. I want their experience to be better. I also want to show up for all the kids that may be on the outside. That’s what the Punk Rock Academy would have been about. Making a place for kids that don’t fit the mold. You all remember what it was like. The groupings and social orders haven’t changed much, it just involves selfies now. But society has changed. It is cooler now to be a nerd or in to nerd culture than ever before. Our school can embrace that and diversify it’s selection of molds. Right now there are some really cool things involving technology happening to improve the classroom experience. I want to help foster that.

Okay two more reasons left. Third, I’m not running against anyone. There are 4 seats up for reelection. And 5 of us are running. Throw that data in a calcamulator and BOOM you get the sum of -1. I think. Maybe it’s +1. I guess it depends on order of operations? Either way, somebody is going to go home sad. That of course sucks. Nobody likes to lose. I don’t want to beat anyone. I respect all 4 of the other candidates. They’re all incumbents running for reelection. The fact that they’ve already served and want to continue to serve shows that they’re good people that want to help. I want to help too. I want to help with that they are building. I think there are opportunities for them to improve what they do and how they do it. I think communication between themselves and the community can be better, and I think I can help with that. I’m super chatty and I don’t have trouble seeing where peeps are coming from. I’m not saying I can do it better than those that are there. But I do think that at the very least I have a unique perspective on things and can bring a different, fresh set of eyes to the scene. Incidentally, the school counselor at my high school also used the term unique describing me. So there is some consistency.

And the last reason I’m running is because of a fact I’ve learned: most people are not leaders. It is a weird thing to be someone that wants to step-up and be a face or a voice to a cause or a situation. And it is the height of foolishness and arrogance to proclaim yourself as someone that can lead a group and take charge. Who the hell are you to take the reigns? Do you understand the level of commitment it takes to be the face of something? Do you understand the level of trust people put in you when they follow? Being in charge seems fun and exciting, but it’s actually work and a bit scary. Your decisions, words, and actions all affect other people. If you’re not up to snuff and respect the severity of the situation, things can go wrong real quick.

I never really thought of myself as a leader. At least not before I turned 30. It wasn’t my style. I wanted to be a badass Wild Card. The loose cannon that did what he wanted when he wanted. And it worked for a bit with mixed results. However it doesn’t work once you’re a parent. At least not for me. Instead of awesome Wild Card status, being a leader has been the only choice that I’ve found that works. It’s the same at work. I run a store. I’m the boss. But I have had little interest or ability to be an authoritative figure that commands. I just am not very good at that. Instead I have found leading to be more my ability. To work with my team and to bring them up with communication and support. It’s become natural and I think I can bring that to this opportunity of serving on the school board. I don’t want to take over… I’m actually not completely clear on the rules of everything. But this board is made up of leaders. It has to be or they wouldn’t have run or been elected. I can work with this group of leaders to help lead. I can learn how it works and how to help. That I can do.

One last thing about being a leader I have learned: once you embrace leading, you find it hard to follow. It’s true regardless of the venue. You have a natural tendency to take charge. And you have trouble watching others not take charge. You can’t stand for watching poor leadership. Now I am not saying the board is poor at leading. Not at all. It’s the community that is falling short. The community has thoughts, concerns, and ideas about the school and what the school should be doing. And some local loudmouths have been shouting for years what they see as “the problem” and what they believe are “the solutions”. But do you know what they’ve done with this? Jack shit. Yep. Not a thing except a couple sentences on Facebook. Which by the way are generally misspelled and lacking the basics of grammar. Just sayin’. This is because those people are not leaders. They cannot take action because it’s not their special skill. But I am, whether I wanted it or not. It is in my wheelhouse. And I want to help this Board to lead this school and community with it’s choices.

Those are my reasons. Now that they have been written and explained I feel confident is stating the following:

“My name is Clancey Byrne and I am running for office. Vote for me.”

Holy crap. It’s a real thing. This is something I am doing. I am asking other adults to see me as an adult, trust me as an adult, and cast a ballot for me to make me part of a group adults that makes decisions for other adults and children. That’s a lot of layers of adulting. It’s enough to freak anyone out.


I can do this. I really can. Maybe not at any point in my past or at least not as effectively. But now? Yeah, now I can do this. And I will do this. Cause I’m going to take the wisdom I once heard the great sage Keanu Reeves impart “One of the most important parts of life is showing up”. Again, I never saw this movie. The trailer makes it look The Mighty Ducks which I have seen A LOT. But that trailer clearly spoke to me since I still remember it. And that’s what I’m gonna do here. Show up.

So vote Byrne in 2018! And like Atom once said:

Think about it and you’ll agree it’s the bizzity, bizzity, bomb.

And maybe we can get Asssuck to play the senior prom!

Yes, Atom. It will definitely be the bizzity, bizzity, bomb. But I’m pretty sure Asssuck broke up. Sorry, dude.

BTW. Here’s the trailer to that movie. It looks terrible:

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