Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And this bird you cannot change

Soon after publishing my wistful rainy morning post, a breeze from long ago blew through my in-box. It was the organizer of this year's 30th high school graduation reunion with an update on this month's event.

Anyone who went to an urban US high school in the late 70's remembers three groups of students: geeks, jocks, and stoners. I was never in the second group and might have ended up in the first if I hadn't first fallen in with the latter. Needless to say, I don't have fond memories of high school because, well, I have few memories at all.

Included in the email update was a request from the DJ who will be working the reunion party for a class song. I would imagine that the people organizing this event belong to either or both of the first two groups of students. I can't imagine many in the third group really caring very much one way or the other. And I would expect this organizing person to choose something upbeat and positive, a kind of Teach-the-World-to-Sing type song.

What was suggested instead was the stoner anthem.

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
'Cause there's too many places I've got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can't change.

Oh, the sweet, delicious irony. The music of the group of kids who were always on the out is now the anthem for the entire class, geek and jocks alike. Now I wish I were going so I could hold up my lighter one more time. "Oh won't you fly high, oh Freebird!"

The timing also seemed perfect, with lyrics suited for the occasion of leaving, of traveling on. I'm as free as a bird now.

Strangely enough, I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Miami Sportatorium on the opening night of the Street Survivor's tour in October 1977 (about which I also don't remember much). Five days later the plane carrying the band crashed, killing three members.



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