Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Adult Contemporary Series: 'Only the Good Die Young' by Billy Joel

When I was 20, I thought that three months was an acceptable amount of time to wait before dating my best friends newly-exed boyfriend.

One time we were at a bar and he pointed out a guy in a softball uniform and said:
"See that guy right there?"
"He's the best hitter in town. ... Someday that's going to be me."

At the time it seemed admirable. Like a goal. These days, if someone said that to me I'd roll my eyes hard enough for my irises to strike brain.

Sometimes he would get drunk and tell us about the tattoo he was going to get: A cross with OTGDY written in an arc above it right on his arm. Only the Good Die Young.

He said it would be in honor of a sister he lost. Maybe that's true. But one time I watched him blow through a stop sign on a country road, cross Hwy. 52 without pause, and land in a ditch on the other side. He'd fallen asleep, with the assistance of a few post-game brewskies. So maybe it was something he expected for himself.

At 20, I thought we would probably get married. Sometimes I imagined a life with bleacher slats embedded in my thighs from the thrice weekly softball games. At 22 I figured out a good rule of thumb:

If your best friend sells her stock, probably don't buy it from her.

The Adult Contemporary Series explores the hits of the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s and what they meant to me, inspired by a song heard while listening to Adult Contemporary radio in my Adult Contemporary Car. 

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