The thought blew my brain off the road and filled me with youthful joy.
There I was, innocently listening to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run, as the guy from the Jersey Shore talked about how, when he reassembled the E Street Band around 1999, he didn’t want the tour to be the stereotypical oldies show where former stars sing their old hits in a pastiche of themselves, out on the road to milk a few bucks out of songs they stopped caring about years ago.
The stereotype isn’t always true, he conceded: Some artists can still present those oldies with a lot of heart, as if they’re singing them for the first time. And then he said it:
IF YOUR HEART’S IN IT, IT AIN’T OLD!
Amen and amen.
There are tired old folks who act as if they’ve seen enough life for one lifetime. And then there are the kids who are still bopping around in what appears to be an aging body, like the alleged 80-year-old guy wearing a T-shirt that said, “Sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.” That guy’s heart is still in it.
When a creator puts as much into his work as Springsteen has, they feel like an old friend. It’s been an amazing ride following this New Jersey boy as he recounts growing up and riding the wave from local guitar hero to international star, easing finally into the family life he thought would always be out of his reach.
He is about three and a half years older than I am, so I’m a freshman to his senior-year experiences, but that’s close enough to share and recognize much of it. And the difference in years is less relevant as we get up there.
Except our hearts are still in it, so The Boss and me, we ain’t old.