Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Happy 65th Birthday, Bob Dylan

Once a symbol of youthful rebellion, Bob Dylan now takes his on-going war on diction into his Social Security collecting years. I've never been one to fawn over popular figures, but I will embarrassingly admit that I take great joy in the fact that several old wayward friends have told me that they think of me whenever they hear that wonderful verse from Tangled Up In Blue,

So now I'm goin' back again,
I got to get to her somehow.
All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter's wives.
Don't know how it all got started,
I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.
Gosh, I love that song. The whole album is magnificent.

It would be impossible to be a nerdy Jewish kid who longed to be cool growing up in the second half of the 20th century and not have Bob Dylan as one of your heroes. His ability to express angry derision in Positively 4th Street, the poignancy of Desolation Row, the empathy of Hurricane, the goofiness of Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, the humane longing of Simple Twist of Fate, the dead-on targeting of Masters of War. And with all of that, to still be able to write,
Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word "NOW"
And you say, "For what reason?"
And he says, "How?"
And you say, "What does this mean?"
And he screams back, "You're a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home"