Jonny always hated when she had to stay for the whole day in school. Most of the time she spent her day working on her business. Working on her phone or writing things in her planner. She had gotten good at her job. Two years since she had taken over from her step father, not that anyone knew that their gang leader was a fifteen year old girl. She ran her line well, her men terrified of a masked leader who could have been anyone among them, a good strategy to keep the men paranoid and hard working.
She had been away too long, not that many noticed, her homework was always done and she did her class work, having set recorders for most of them. She was the only fifteen year old who had a car, although again not many noticed her sliding into the drivers seat once everyone was leaving.
It was time for history, and there was nothing Jonny hated more than dwelling on the past. Finding it a waste of time, although useful if she had other work to do, she took a seat in the back of the class. She couldn’t remember her teachers name, she wasn’t here often enough for it to stick but she didn’t care.
Pulling out her small journal she began to write different dates and times, everything she wrote was in Latin. Although the chances of her losing her most important possession was rare and virtually unheard of, in the even that it was, many didn’t understand the old language, not to mention certain words written in another half a dozen dead languages. The class seemed to mutter something in unison, Jonny assumed a half hearted greeting to the teacher, she didn’t even bother to look up.
It sounds silly, but Bruce Springsteen is kinda one of
my Dads. I never met him or anything. But like a lot of us, I had a few different
dads growing up. The first one didn’t stick around, a couple of em were court
appointed, one of em died, another adopted me, another was the state itself.
So in 1984 I was flipping through the new cable TV channels
and I saw dumb looking guy in jeans & a t-shirt they called The Boss. I’d
been adopted 2 years before and given the last name Bos. I kinda looked like
him or maybe he kinda looked like my brother or something. Anyway, I felt
something real there. He was somehow celebrating something I couldn’t quite put
my finger on, but understood if only intuitively. Dancing in the Dark. What a
strange mid 80’s rock anthem. So I
became a big fan of The Boss. I wore out that Born in the USA cassette. I
played it until you could hear the other side of the tape in-between songs.
(something only people of a certain age know about)
Anyway, I got in a little trouble with the law and was
shipped off and made a ward of the state when I was 15. That X-mas I got The Tunnel
of Love on tape. And it was weird. The Boss was a huge Rock Star, but he going
through some weird shit. And he sang about it. He openly questioned who he was
and who we all were and what we were doing. He questioned everything. Maybe you
don’t understand, but in the mid 80’s Bruce Springsteen was about as big as it
got. He was THEE American working class hero, but He recorded songs about being
a frightened sad fraud and being a poseur. It was revolutionary. He was a guy
who was given the power and the mic and he tore into Reagan and the crooked war
mongers. Some people still don’t know Born in The USA is an antiwar song about
Vietnam Vets. He took on racial police brutality with the song American Skin (41
Shots) and was boycotted by the NYPD. He recorded an Oscar winning song about
AIDS for the movie Philadelphia that he sang in the first person, as if he, “The
Boss” had AIDS. He humanized the human struggle for dumb white guys like me who
had a hard time dealing with their own fear and pain. He pointed towards other
people who we couldn’t identify with and helped us identified with them all
while redefining himself, ourself.
And now the 65-year-old straight white gear-head from
Jersey has boycotted North Carolina for LGBT rights. Anyway, I guess I’m just
proud of my dumb ol dad. It’s important to have old straight white guy American
Icons stand up and say, no. “I feel that this is a
time… to show solidarity for those freedom fighters.” He continued, “Some
things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and
bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them.”