My wife has been known to accuse me of acting like a crabby old man or at least driving like one. Well, when you’re driving a Mercury Land Yacht it’s not exactly like you have the acceleration she used to experience when we had a Passat. But once in a while when I’m acting crotchety or just a stick-in-the-mud she’ll ask aloud, “what happened to you, what happened to Mr. Rock n Roll?” Well that’s just unfair.
In college I had somewhat of a reputation as being passionate about rock music. Posters of British guitar gods plastered on the walls, one guitar-driven record after another cranked on my stereo, and there was that time I accused a guy on my floor once of being “mellow” because he started the morning playing Boston (actually he agreed but his roommate was horrified – now that guy was MELLOW). My then girlfriend/now wife was used to hearing a caterwauling din upon entering my room, my car, or just my general vicinity. I was once chewed out by a property manager for playing the Who at what I thought was a reasonable volume. For the Who.
But see, I’ve never really had much of a rock star attitude. I am generally polite. I am aggressive only in a Scandinavian passive/aggressive sense. I may have been a type A driver at times but living in a major metropolitan area will do that to you. I might have had some swagger in my youth but that youth is a long ways in the rear view mirror. I am a giant nerd, which definitely doesn’t make one Keith Richards or Jimmy Page. I have not gotten into a fight since childhood and generally avoid confrontation. I’m a fat, middle-aged man. I still can’t play guitar worth a damn but that’s because life and procrastination gets in the way of practice. Sometimes I can get a little hot under the collar but that’s just being an asshole, not a rock star.
But lately I’m finding a little more swagger. Part of it is because I’m slowly getting back into shape and I just don’t limp as much any more. Another part maybe because my wife is gone a few evenings a week with something she’s working on and that leaves me alone. With the stereo. With a couple thousand CDs and several hundred LPs, many of which beg to be played loud. The dogs hate that, especially the chihuahua.
I suspect the swagger just comes from feeling good after a bad stretch these last couple years. I still have certain issues hanging overhead: my wife’s health is poor, there’s always some uncertainty with our finances, my insomnia is a constant issue as is my ADHD, and I’m a long, long ways from being in my fighting trim. But I somehow feel better, stronger, a little more full of it. And some nights now I pick up that guitar and sometimes those chords sound good. Rock on.
[This piece was written with Bruce Springsteen Live at the Nassau Coliseum playing in the background. Playing LOUD. Not a good night for the chihuahua.]