Today I reported to work. It was my first day at the Pentagon, and I was quickly overwhelmed by the Joint Staff/Pentagon acronym centric vernacular known only to “The Building.” It was one of those first day, drinking from the fire hydrant, kind of experiences. At the end of the day, I boarded a bus bound for Egypt (Manassas/Bristow and beyond) exhausted, and it occurred to me – John Cougar Mellencamp is the greatest artist in the universe.
I’m serious. I sat staring out of the window of the bus, as we crawled along I-66 West, and I was reminded of a time when I wore a Levi jacket and soaked my permed hair with Aqua Net. Yes, I literally sported a perm at one time. I was reminded of an era long since faded with time when Harris Jones and I sat in his basement bedroom in complete silence, staring at each other through thin lipped grins, as Cougar wailed out poetry to our young ears. We listened to the seemingly endless intro to, “I Need A Lover” through Bose speakers that I was convinced would blow themselves or our ear drums at any moment.
John Cougar captured lightening in a bottle.
He sang, “Well there’s a young man in a T-shirt
Listenin’ to a rock ‘n’ roll station
He’s got a greasy hair, greasy smile
He says: “Lord, this must be my destination”
‘Cause they told me, when I was younger
Sayin’ “Boy, you’re gonna be president”
But just like everything else, those old crazy dreams
Just kinda came and went
Oh but ain’t that America, for you and me
Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby
Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses, for you and me, oh baby for you and me”
And of all people, an icon himself, John Fogerty, said, “It was perhaps the greatest song ever written.” I think he got it right. Now to bed. And back to work on the bus.