I’ll take your part/ When darkness comes…
When I was little my parents had a Simon & Garfunkel album. I loved it. Listened to it all the time. I loved all the songs, but I especially loved “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I remember interpretive dancing my heart out to the dramatic conclusion of that song, but my favorite lyric then remains my favorite lyric now, almost 30 years later. I’ll take your part. I just liked the idea of it. Loyalty. Someone to have your back. Someone willing to help you fight your battles.
In addition to Simon & Garfunkel, I had my very own Mickey Mouse record, wherein Mickey and friends sang patriotic songs, Peter and The Wolf, as narrated by Sterling Holloway, and then I liked three of my sisters’ records an awful lot – Van Halen, Def Leppard, and Ozzy Osborne. Rounding out my favorite record collection was an odd little 45 from National Geographic that was nothing but the song of humpback whales. So, to recap: humpback whales, Ozzy, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Walt Disney, and Simon & Garfunkel. It still serves as a useful summary of me as a person. (Important addendum: when I went to my friend Amanda’s place, I got to listen to Joan Jett, repeatedly leaping off the arm of their couch whilst playing air guitar. Joan is important part of the mix.)
Not last October but the October before, October 2013, I found myself rather magically in Madison, Wisconsin. I met Ben LeRoy in person, watched Nick Hart and Cody Hughes kill it at Comedy on State (great room – all comics should go there), and crashed at a La Quinta. The next day, Cody and I drove around Madison in my dad’s truck, just sort of taking in the town. My dad didn’t have much music on hand, but one thing he did have was a Simon & Garfunkel CD – the same recording from my childhood. I remember “Bridge Over Troubled Water” came on just as the waterfront came into view. Madison is a pretty town, especially in fall. (I presume especially in fall. It’s the only time I’ve been. But I’m guessing winter is a safe bet for a sucky season up there.) Cody and I were driving around in part to stave off the inevitable return to Chicago. We decided to go to Milwaukee en route, which was a pretty effective time killer. Especially when I took a wrong turn leaving Madison.
Tonight I heard that song again. It’s funny. Normally, I loathe cheesy, melodramatic songs, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is nothing if not melodramatic. The dials hits eleven on the sincerity scale. But I still love it just as much as I did when I was four, coming up with interpretive dance moves in the living room. It wasn’t Joan Jett, but I’m sure there were leaps off the couch arm all the same. Not with air guitar, but with a modern dance expression of ecstatic joy. After all, it ends so happily.
Sail on silver girl, sail on by/Your time has come to shine/All your dreams are on their way