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An Open Letter to the Other Guy Wearing a Ride the Lightning T-Shirt at This Show

Hi. You don’t know me, but perhaps you have noticed me, as I have noticed you. Frankly in a scene this small, I have a hard time believing that you do not know of me. Well allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mark, also known at Metallica Mark, and for the past 6 years I have established myself as the guy who always wears a vintage Ride the Lightning t-shirt to shows. It is a shirt I can see you are familiar with. You are wearing one right now.

Sir, you may as well be wearing my face. You may as well be wearing my beating heart.

I can confidently say without ego that I am something of a fixture in this scene. A staple. Go to any bar or venue in this city where music is played and you will find people who know me. Good people. People I consider to be my friends. People I consider to be my family. People who don’t know my last name. There are people who refer to me exclusively as Ride the Lightning who buy me a shot every time they see me. I have babysat children for people who know me only as Metallica Mark. I once received a wedding invitation addressed to “Metallica shirt guy” and I was given a plus one. That is how integral this shirt is to my persona. To my brand. To my soul.

Now, I’m not crazy. I know that there is every possibility that your wearing of this t-shirt is not necessarily a personal attack against me. Maybe you just didn’t understand the forces you were meddling with when you bought it. Maybe you’re not from around here. Maybe you’re a really big Metallica fan. Well, we can talk about that. We can definitely talk about that. After you take than damned shirt off.

To quote my favorite Metallica album, And Justice for All, Power wolves beset your door, hear them stalking.

When you wear my Metallica shirt you don’t just hurt me. You upset the balance of an entire community. Imagine a world where someone I know is telling a story to some people and mentions “the Metallica shirt guy” and someone has to stop and ask “which one?” The flow of the story is ruined. This creates a ripple. Venues shut down. Drummers die. Is that what you want?

Maybe you think I’ll back down. That I’m getting too old. Maybe you think it’s time for a new Ride the Lightningg shirt guy to step in, take over. Think again. I will not back down. I will not surrender. Metallica has sucked for 30 years and still I press on. Do the right thing. Nobody wants a war.

Although between you and me, if you’re looking to move in on someone’s territory, we could use a new Iron Maiden shirt guy. Iron Maiden Dave gets a little creepy with young girls.