Suicidal Tendencies - How Will I Laugh Tomorrow

Written by Pete Looman - San Antonio, TX -
When I was a teenager, music was my escape.  The heavier and more somber; the better.  When transitioning from the mainstream pop of the early 80s, I discovered Suicidal Tendencies as many others of my era did.  The anti-pop yet still very singable thrash melodies were cranked to 11 in my hidey hole of a room.

I have a brother about six years younger than me that started embracing the same music as I and we found our common bond.  He'd sometimes come home with a tape from a friend's house of music I hadn't heard yet myself and share.  80s metal became our way to communicate.  Soon we discovered that even with the age difference our paths and the paths of our friends would cross on a regular basis outside of our home.  It made the brotherly bond even stronger.

When my parents decided that they had enough of Texas and were going to move back to New York where we originated from, I was given the choice of joining them or staying behind to which I decided to continue life as a Texan.  My brother didn't have this choice and so our paths weren't to cross for some time after.  When they did we'd find ourselves sitting in a room listening to the latest and greatest, rattling the windows with our reunion.

In 1997 my father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and given a month to two months to live.  I rushed to New York to see the greatest man in my life withered and worn.  My brother told me that this had happened in the few weeks since his diagnosis.  He was refusing to eat and it was clear he was ready to take his leave.  As we were sitting on the front porch and listening to my father tell us a story, he suddenly looked at us both and became speechless.  His ice blue eyes darted back and forth and you could see that he was trying to talk, but the words weren't coming out.  My brother asked him what he was trying to say but he just couldn't respond.

We wandered back inside and up the narrow stairs to my brother's room, speechless ourselves.  My father was a storyteller and to see what we had seen took our breath away.  Not knowing what to say my brother hit the play button on his stereo and the first licks of "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow" began.  For the first time in my life, or so it seemed to me, I hugged my brother.  We cried till we couldn't cry anymore.

To this day the song is a reminder of loss and love so much deeper than anything I had heard before even though I had heard it dozens of times in the past.  Whenever I miss my family the CD comes out and I hit play, holding back a tear when I reach the tune I hold so close to my heart.

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