Strongarm vs. Gladhand

Written by

Okkervil River – On Tour With Zykos

Between jobs and apartments, Ryan moved in with his brother and sister-in-law in Phoenix for a couple weeks. Ryan paid rent by babysitting the kid, Oliver. After the parents left for work, Ryan and the baby would eat unsweetened cheerios together for breakfast, sharing toothy grins over unarticulated jokes. (Ryan had lost his most recent bar fight.)

While carrying the diaper-clad infant around in one arm, Ryan taught Oliver how to high-five. It seemed the most natural expression of male camaraderie available. But Oli didn’t so much slap Ryan’s outstretched hand as much as press his own tiny, ruddy palm into it solemnly. The act resembled the sealing of a pact, unspoken like the jokes — a pact that said Ryan would do everything within his power to protect Oli from the harsh world outside the single-bedroom apartment and that Oli would promise not to grow up to be like Ryan.

[Buy The Stand Ins. Also, read this Believer interview with lead singer Will Sheff which begins with the line: “So the first thing I wanted to ask you was if you’ve ever been in a fight.”]

4 Responses to “Strongarm vs. Gladhand”

  1. Sam says:

    Okkervil River are great, but Black Sheep Boy has to be their best. It is such a great collective, that although the individual songs on it aren’t as good as say Unless it Kicks, Lost Coastlines or Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe off The Stage Names and The Stand Ins, it is still superior. Also, if you buy The Stand Ins, you should also buy The Stage Names because if I’m not mistaken they are essentially two parts of the one whole.

  2. Zac says:

    Quit yer bitchin’. I posted this song, not because it is the best, but because it fit my story best.

  3. Sam says:

    I wasn’t complaining, really. I was just stating my favourite album, my favourite songs for anyone interested.

  4. Zac says:

    OK. Carry on then.

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