Bye and bye, I'm breathin' a lover's sigh.
I'm sittin' on my watch so I can be on time.
I'm singin' love's praises with sugar-coated rhyme.
Bye and bye, on you I'm casting my eye.

Shufflin' down the hallways in that 50ish high school; it now seems like a portrait which has begun to fade in a old frame. One of those pictures you find when you're cleaning out the basement after a relative dies. You'd pick it up and look at it with your head cocked sideways. You'd think, "I wonder if these people are dead now?" If there was a dog in the photo, you'd be damn sure the dog had died many years ago. With the humans, it was hard to say.

I'm paintin' the town - swinging my partner around.
I know who I can depend on, I know who to trust.
I'm watchin' the roads, I'm studying the dust.
I'm paintin' the town, making my last go-round.

A previously self-assured kid had entered high school to learn the hard facts of life. When you're young, you don't notice money. There will come a time when the money will hit you in the face like a cheap social sucker punch. How many little cliques are you are part of during your short life? Some of you on this site are in a clique now. I read about them. Over and over. (I do wish you'd try to make those stories interesting to someone outside of your circle. You'd be prouder of them later on. (Just trying to help.))

No clique that gathered me up during my early life involved money. It was more geographical, I suppose. The kids in the neighborhood. But then high school rolled around. When I was a kid, the rich boys wore Gant shirts. They were noticeable by the stitches which held the label in place. You'd think it'd be more appropriate for stitches to be unseen on the outside of a garment, such a shirt, wouldn't you? But this was not true during that phase of Gantdom.

A Gant shirt cost about four times what a good shirt at J. C. Penney's would cost. The shirts at Penney's went by logic and not style. There were no stitches showing on the outside of the shirt. I got my mom to restitch a couple of my shirts so that they would. That's pathetic, isn't it? Then I learned how to steal the shirts I could not afford so that I wouldn't have to be a pretender.

Well, I'm scufflin' and I'm shufflin' and I'm walkin' on briars;
I'm not even acquainted with my own desires.

Being the good little chameleon who got what he wanted any way he had to, I changed my stripes and pretended I didn't live in the low-rent part of town. After all, there was one rich guy living on my block. There was no way for those in the clique to know that he was an intellectual alcoholic who didn't give a tinker's damn about the walls around him as long as he had a bottle in front of him at the prescribed hour each day. He was a good beard for claims of a wealthy neighborhood.

By way of the Gant shirts and some other underhanded tactics, I had wormed my way into the clique of the popular kids at that high school. This was crucial for one very solid reason: I was hopelessly, teenagedly, in love with the girl who would become the Homecoming Queen when she was a Senior. Her ultimate destiny was written all over her, like a youthful letter to Penthouse for Kids. The shapely lanky body; the perfectly aquiline nose; the unnaturally flowing naturally blonde hair hitting her at mid-back level. She was a classic beauty. I'd been perusing Playboy in the leisure of my study, avec pretend cognac and make-believe expensive cigars, and Becky M. definitely fit the profile. I had to have her. It mattered not how many lies needed telling or how many Michael Jackson-like makeovers might be required.

I'm rollin' slow - I'm doing all I know;
I'm tellin' myself I found true happiness;
That I've still got a dream that hasn't been repossessed.
I'm rollin' slow, goin' where the wild roses grow.

The competition boiled down to myself and a rouge male named Mike W. This Mike W. was a rowdy boy who cursed a lot and drove a red Impala SS convertible. I couldn't compete with the car, but he was (fortunately) dumber than Mike Tyson on ludes. I would win this battle, as always, with wits, since that's all I had, really. It turned out the key to Becky M.'s heart was music. Thus, I was there. No one was more on top of the available cryptic masterpieces on the market at the time than moi. The prick that opened the lock to her heart was named Donovan Leitch. To add insult to the injury I was about to inflict on little Mike W. (who would soon be cleaning his plastic seat covers after spilling his seed in his little red Chevy, alone), I learned how to play Colours on the guitar. I also learned that it was not spelled Colors. Just the increase in the cool factor from adding that "u" could not be overstated.

Becky M. had her own guitar. She had perfect pitch. I asked her to tune it up and play a song for me one day when I went a'courting. She asked if I could play. I said, "Not really. But there is one song I've been working on." As soon as I floated effortlessly into, "Yellow is the colour of my true love's hair," she was mine. You could almost hear the muffler falling off of that candy-ass red Chevrolet somewhere in that small town.

Well the future for me is already a thing of the past:
You were my first love and you will be my last.

Becky M.'s mom and dad were very understanding during all of this duplicity on my part. But they were not fooled. They had done some investigative work during the time I was doing my dead level best to get that cashmere sweater off of their only child. When the time came around for me to go to college and attempt to convince the girl two years younger than me to, "wait for me here, darling. I'll be back to get you," mom and dad walked into her room one night and said something to her which made more sense than any of the bullshit I'd been peddling for around a year by this time.

Papa gone mad, mamma, she's feeling sad.
I'm gonna baptize you in fire so you can sin no more.
I'm gonna establish my rule through civil war.
Gonna make you see just how loyal and true a man can be.

I'm going to take poetic critical license and assume that Bob Dylan is speaking in the voice of my Becky M.'s dad in that last stanza.

Bob Dylan - - Love and Theft

CST approved

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