People hate the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas because it forces them to be with their families of origin. Take my family for example. I love my father's side of the family. They are a sprawling, outrageous bunch. Every single one of them can tell a story. And will, whether you ask or not. Being with that side of my family is like being in a Woody Allen movie. My mother's side of the family is very buttoned down. More like being in a Phillip Roth novel. Undercurrents. Witty, but genteel, reparte. I love being with them, too.
There is nothing I like better than being with these people. Either side of the family. Of course, it took about 10 years of heavy therapy for me to be able to embrace them so uncritically.
I do. I miss them terribly. I didn't enjoy the show when it first came out because I was living on the New Mexico/Texas border and too many of my husband's students looked and acted like Beavis and Butthead. But then one night I saw the show where Butthead is sitting in class, bouncing his pencil on his desk by dropping it eraser end first and catching it as it rebounds. Then he missed, and the pencil stuck in his eye and he just laughed and said "Cool. It really does happen."
I can't tell you why that struck me so funny, except that I have probably spent hours bouncing pencils off of desks during meetings and classes and what not.
But of all the pithy and profound things B&B ever said, the one thing that resonates more and more as I get older is this:
"Wow. This sucks in ways that things have never sucked before."
Like when my friend Gary died of colon cancer. Or when my friend's brother died. Or her other brother died. Or the Homeland Security Department was signed into law, with the evil Admiral Pointdexter in charge of legal wiretapping of all citizens. Or even the making of the president in the last "election". Yep, as the 21st century grinds along, things are starting to suck in ways that they have never sucked before.
I took communion on Saturday night with a few friends... few thousand friends. It was the High Holy Day of the Church of Rock & Roll, and we were there to see the Highest of the High Priests: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
. My husband has endured our religious difference with amazing tolerance for the past 12 years, and allowed me to drag him to previous tours.
Bruce & the NOT the E Street Band
Him: That was a good show.
Me: No, it was a good rock and roll show, but it was a lousy Bruce show.
Bruce solo on the Ghost of Tom Joad Tour
Him: That was an OK show.
Me: That was a good Bruce solo accoustic show, but it wasn't a BRUCE show.
The Reunion Tour of 2000
Him (day 1 of 2 shows): How come everybody knows all the words to all the songs? How do they know when to put their hands in the air like that?
Me: (Screaming in unison with a few thousand others) IT AIN'T NO SIN TO BE GLAD YOU'RE ALIVE!!!
Him (day 2 of 2): OOOOOhhhh, I think I get it.
Me: OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHmigod, they're playing Thunder Road.
The Rising Barnstorm Tour
Him (somewhere in the intro to the second song): BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN KICKS MAJOR ROCK AND ROLL ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: Well, duh. You finally got it.
And he does. He finally gets it. He'll never get it about BOB
, but that's OK.
So here's the set list from Saturday night in Miami...
Waiting on a Sunny Day
Out in the Street
She's The One
Mary's Place (and yes, this is the barn burner live that I thought it would be when I heard the cd. Damn. Damn)
Then Bono (yes THAT Bono) and Dave Stewart (from the Eurythmics) came out and joined in on
Because The Night
For You (with Bruce solo on the piano)
Into the Fire
So Young & In Love
If I Should Fall Behind (a duet with the great, great Dion -- Dion and the Belmonts, not Celine Dion)
Born To Run
My City in Ruins
Born in the USA (back to being something of a rocker, not the high lonesome sound of recent years, performed on a 12 string steel)
Land of Hopes and Dreams
Dancing in the Dark
and if the freaking Miami crowd had arrived on time, instead of late or 10 minutes to curtain, the show would have started on time and we could have had three encores, OK?
As it was, it was the cure I needed for these days of loathing and fear.