Saturday, April 11, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: I'll Take New York

I listen to the radio in bed. Hot, eh? Wait, I should tell you in this much of story I'm underage. 15, to be exact. One night, I happened upon a song the likes of which I'd never heard before. And yes, Jersey Girl was technically the first Tom Waits song I heard but some dude named Bruce was singing it and the videos for In The Neighborhood and Downtown Train also came before this precise moment I'm writing about, but the greatness did not set into my young mind until I'll Take New York by Tom Waits was on WFUV, way way down the dial. Now, by "night," I mean around three in the morning. It's called chronic insomnia for a reason. Creaking around looking for a pen to scrawl "TOM WAITE" did not wake my family, and that was not a misspent moment at all, come to think of it.

Neither was the afternoon in April of '90 when I put Frank's Wild Years on for my Poppy to hear:

The time I brought my Tom Waits tapes with me on the trip to California and then fell asleep two seconds into Rain Dogs because I was exhausted, that could be the misspent bit. Or all the time I wasted not being me, until I heard Tom Waits and realized holy moly it's cool to not be a cookie cutter run-of-the-mill person, that time was wasted. Different is good, kids. Different rules.

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