Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!
Greetings once again, dear readers of The East Nashvillian magazine. I hope this issue finds you well, happy and enjoying this beautiful autumnal weather. It is I, James Moffitt Haggerty, your astute observer, chronicler of the arcane, bass player for hire. I use my full name because I have something important to tell you: I’ve had a realization about myself…
I am now officially a grumpy old fart. Me, Burgess Meredith, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon should be in a movie together. Hopefully, I’d be the lucky one who ends up with Ann-Margret. Allow me to tell you what led to this self-realization, which came as I stood at the corner of 4th and Broadway on a recent Saturday night.
But first, let’s back up a little, shall we? Earlier that evening, I played at some friends’ wedding reception. The newlyweds are big music lovers. They love each other and they love The Grateful Dead and Wes Montgomery. We played Dead tunes and soul jazz, and the invited guests had a ball twirling and grooving to the music. The reception was a lovely affair, and the event space was comfortable, welcoming and warm. Three stories up with great views of downtown. Very pretty. A great spot.
As the last notes of “Dark Star” cascaded into the night, we loaded drums, guitars, amps, keyboards, and people into a tiny elevator and made our way to the street. This was no ordinary elevator, apparently. It was a teleporter in which we were beamed to a familiar, yet foreign, planet where I didn’t understand the language or customs of the natives.
I discerned their food source to be Jaeger bombs, cinnamon whiskey, and cotton candy. And Snickers and Coke. They moved as one, slowly up and down Broadway, from bar to bar. Glassy eyed with mouths agape as if to silently say, “This is fun, right?” Hypnotized by the glittery neon, verbal communication was minimal as they staggered past, deafened by NASCAR and the sound of six different cover bands blaring ’90s Creed-like tone into the street, playing six different Journey songs at once. Burly bouncers herded the throng easily through elaborate velvet-rope mazes that were beyond my ability to comprehend.
It was all very shocking to my delicate sensibilities.
We had to load our gear but could barely make our way through the teeming mass of bodies. I shouted, “Hooters has free margaritas, right now!” This caused a shift in the tide, and we made a break for our vehicles.
As we drove away and headed back to the planet Earth, over the bridge to East Nashville, my breathing calmed, and I relaxed. Safely sitting in my living room, back from the strange planet known as “Young ’merica,” I put some Jobim on the turntable and opened a beer. Chilling in my armchair, it hit me.
I used to do that. Saturday night. Open mouth. Pour in alcohol — as much as possible. Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Adrenaline, beer, and hormones. The cocktail of youth. Now I’m Mister Haggerty yelling, “Hey, you kids, get off of my lawn!”
And I kinda like it.