April 13, 1994: Cobain and Sartre

On April 13, 1994, I was a 21-year-old with long hair and a fresh English degree working in a low-wage clerical job at a newspaper in Raleigh, NC about a week after Kurt Cobain died (low-wage enough that I qualified for a low-income housing loan while there and delivered pizza at night to pay the rent). I posted a quote from Sartre’s Nausea on the Usenet group alt.society.generation-x that day in memoriam: “The disc is scratched and wearing out, perhaps the singer is dead. . . But behind the existence which falls from one present to the other, without a past, without a future, behind these sounds which decompose from day to day, peel off and slip towards death, the melody stays the same, young and firm, like a pitiless witness… . “

Looking back, it was at least a little pretentious at the time but amazingly pertinent now as I sit here 20 years later listening to Kurt’s voice from Nevermind. Remembering that moment now brings back that feeling of being 21, new in a job, not knowing how things might turn out in general in your life, only $50 in your bank account with a $75 check in the mail, feeling torn up about the death of a rock star you’d never seen nor met.