Wake Me Up When September Ends: An Open Letter from Billie Joe Armstrong
With Labor Day signifying that summer has come and passed, and that the beginning of the Autumnal month known as September has arrived, I’m here to ask you: Don’t wake me up until the end of the month.
I don’t quite know what it is that makes me hate this month so much. Maybe it’s the rapidly shortening days. Maybe it’s all of the bright and colorful foliage contrasting with my black eyeliner. Maybe it’s the fact that my dad died in September 32 years ago. It’s probably the foliage. Whatever the reason, I’d really rather not be awake this month – and I ask that you kindly leave me be in my month-long almost-coma.
And I know what you’re thinking: “Billie, there’s no way you can just sleep through these next 30 days. It’s humanly impossible.” That’s where you’re wrong. Let me lay this out for you: Ever since 2004, I have been perfecting a system – a system so intricate, so complicated, that even the slightest interference could leave the entire neighborhood where I live in burning desolation. I have hooked up a contraption of various tubes and systems that will give me exactly what I need to survive peacefully, healthfully, and – most importantly – asleep for the next four weeks. I have an IV drip of Lunesta that keeps me on the border of asleep and “in a coma.” I have a feeding tube filled with a mix of kale, tofu, Twinkies, and black coffee to make sure I’m fulfilling my punk rock nutritional needs. I have a sonic transmission broadcast machine stimulating my brain with a mash-up of Beethoven’s Fifth and London Calling. I have everything I need.
There’s no talking me out of it this time. Every year for the past ten years, I asked and begged and pleaded for you people to just let me rest for a mere 720 hours – and every goddamn year you insist on keeping me awake. You say spending a month in a Lunesta-induced dream state is “bad for me” and “fundamentally incongruous with what the human body is supposed to do,” but this year you’re not stopping me. You can’t – because I’m already asleep.
Yes, as of midnight, I have been peacefully dreaming about little puppies covered in mascara singing Everly Brothers songs to me. I am asleep, and it will be impossible to wake me up until the end of the month. Like I said, my sleep system is highly volatile. If you attempt to shut it off or wake me up, the entirety of Piedmont, California will look like the cover of Dookie. It’s too late now, so you need to just accept that this is how things will be.
I’m happy like this. This is what I need. My memory is resting, and in 30 days I’ll be ready to ring the bells again, like we did when spring began.
So please, please – just wake me up when September ends.
Billie Joe Armstrong