If you feel just like a tourist

in the city you were born

then it’s time to go

There’s a grey-haired man at a college concert. He’s sitting somewhere in the middle of the auditorium, listening to his favorite band. The college students are reserved; don’t stand out. Don’t stand up. Everyone is sitting, listening with their elbows on the rests. They are smiling and nodding their heads in appreciation. They aren’t that kind of audience—the kind that gets really excited about things. They get music. They listen to the lyrics and pick up on cultural references and they know what an oboe looks like. Half the concert passes like this.

A song ends, applause begins, applause ends, a moment of silence while the band gets ready. No one wants to talk too loudly, because the band might hear them. Quiet.

 

Then the drummer kicks:

BOOM DOO-KA

BOOM DOO KA-KA

BOOM DOO-KA

BOOM DOO KA-KA

 

Finally, the grey-haired man thinks, my favorite song! Maybe he whispers to his wife, “I’m going up there.” Maybe he’s not married. Maybe he’s there with friends. Maybe he’s there with his daughter who is about to be mortified by her father. Maybe he’s alone. Maybe it’s complicated. He doesn’t care that everyone is sitting: he’s had enough. He stands up with dad-courage—that courage that isn’t afraid of what the kids these days think. He lets out one head nod, and then says screw it. He jogs to the front where the students should be going nuts, and he stands there alone, going nuts, punching the air to death with his fist.

 

This fire grows higher

This fire grows higher

 

BOOM DOO-KA

BOOM DOO-KA-KA

BOOM DOO-KA

BOOM DOO-KA-KA

 

I’m watching him with admiration, jealous of his bravery. That guy is alone. Everyone is sitting, and everyone is supposed to be watching the band, but we’re watching him because he’s having fun. I would have gone up there too, but… What if I’m up here alone with him? What if people look at me? What if no one follows me? What will they think?

He was there alone for about fifteen seconds, eyes closed, loving every moment. Those seconds were an eternity. A mop-headed kid in a big t-shirt ran up behind him, grabbed his shoulder, and shouted, “I’M WITH YOU!”, or “YES!”, or SOMETHING IN HIS EAR. Whatever he yelled, they both smiled and they both rocked. Then another guy joined them, followed by two girls who ran down and threw their fists in the air. Then the levy broke, and people flooded to the front of the stage, where a sea of fists bobbed in the air.

 

This fire grows higher

This fire grows higher

 

BOOM DO-KA

BOOM DOO-KA-KA

BOOM DOO-KA

BOOM DOO-KA-KA

 

I stayed where I was, smiling and bobbing my head because the sight was wonderful. That looks like a lot of fun. I bet it’s more fun to be in the crowd than watching the crowd. BUT, I already missed the big moment, so I can’t go down now. Because what will people think?

Probably nothing, because it’s a concert. 100 percent of the people who I think would care, don’t. They’re watching the band. BUT, I didn’t start the movement, so I don’t want to be a part of it. I’m happy to watch, thank you. Besides, what if I got stuck in the back of the crowd and I’m the last one jumping up and down and everyone who is still sitting can see me and they know it’s me because my calves are missing that small patch of hair from wearing slim fit jeans? How bad would that be. “Is that Bart? Having fun? What a loser!”

 

When you find yourself the villain

in the story you have written,

it’s plain to see

 

That sometimes the best intentions

are in need of redemption

would you agree?
If so please show me.

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