Saturday, November 25, 2017

Me and Bruce

Let's start with my loathing of Bruce Springsteen, shall we?

"I've got a '69 Chevy with a 396
Fuelly heads and a Hurst on the floor"
                                          -Racing in the Street

No, Bruce, you didn't. And either none of the people involved with the album didn't even like or respect you enough to tell you, or you simply insisted that it was going on the album like that.
Either way, you didn't ever have one of those. At least not in that combination.

I heard these lyrics in, oh, 1983 or 1984, 5 or 6 years after it came out. I eventually discovered the truth about the engine block/head combination impossibility and that ended my relationship with the man. Just. Like. That. Eventually, the "Born in the USA" single hit and if there was ANY love inside me at all for the man, it died with that song.

Let's fast-forward to Summer of 2016.  A woman who would become my partner professed her love for all things Bruce. It was one of the truly heart-breaking moments of our relationship, but we agreed to accept each other's faults (hers, for loving Bruce "her first boyfriend" ... me, for loving a woman who loved Bruce like that). We would find opportunity to banter on the subject, teasing each other about our respective positions. She hinted at dragging me to a concert, and I suggested she find someone else to take. It went like that a lot.

Until today.

I listened to this interview:

His emotional awareness and candor in the interview betray my view of the man called "The Boss". I  listened to him tell a story about his aging father dragged from a schoolyard fight by his grandmother (a woman who also had a hand in raising Bruce) and point out that his dad was most upset because "I was winning, Bruce. I was winning..." He talked of how he understood that his grandmother went to get her only living child from that fight because he was too precious to lose.  He spoke of how his wife saved his kids from his wanting to protect them from any time in the public eye. I listened to the man I couldn't stand for all of my adult life become a human being - a fellow traveler on the planet we share.

I thought of all the times I denounced his songwriting and his musical style. I thought of all the songs I never listened to. And as I sift though my new feelings for the man, I wonder to myself,"What else am I wrong about?"

I'm not wrong about that motor, but I can forgive one lyric in a career of artistic expression?
Yes, I can.
What can YOU forgive, my friends?

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