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Forget Therapy When Tom Petty Can Do It For Free


Sometimes all you need to regain sanity is a good song. And a cold drink of water.

Forget therapy.

Tom Petty has done it for all of us sensitive males who read about ourselves all the time and never know what to say or do (quite) in sorting out all the stuff.

The other morning I woke up — well, it was between night and day. And I was sufficiently strung out to require at least three hours of my Napster library as a sort of surreal accompaniment to extended, if amorphous, angst.

What struck me, as Napster rang down through A2 and Dylan and Emmylou Harris and various and sundry others, was that none of the things that generally will create a positive twinge did a darned thing.

The music just sat there.

Until I got to the T’s — Napster alphabetizes by first name — just one feature of the verbal anarchy of this odd moment in history.

Up came the Rick Rubin production of Tom Petty’s song “It’s Good To Be King”.

And there I was in the Nevada dawn, finally getting a grip. Finally sensing what was bothering me. This song has to be the most therapeutic thing out there, if you are a warped male who has acceded to the possibility that women are your equals and put away as many of the unresolved feelings inherent in that sea-change in the nether reaches of consciousness.

Letting them fester.

[The song is on the album “Wildflowers”.]

I am not inclined to do the lyric thing. Anyone who can Google will find the lyric with ease. Anyone who can do anything can probably get a copy of the song.

I merely want to say that sometimes, when you are strung out, the cheapest and simplest thing provides the cure.

Once May night in the 60s, I was having an anxiety attack in a suburb of Birmingham called Mountain View, on the way to visit a civil rights lawyer named Charles Morgan, Jr.. The city was burning in the area around the Gaston Motel. And I was angling for a trip to the ER.

We stopped at a little food counter and I went in and did my best Hunter Thompson act to obtain a glass of water and the young thing behind the counter said, cool as could be, “That’ll be TEN CENTS, sir.”

I was instantly cured.

Same thing happened with this nice Tom Petty song, which simply and honestly reflects what most of us males think from time to time. I would be good to have all the power in the world and subjugate everything and generally function in the deleterious manner that has created such happy realities as the prospect of immanent nuclear annihilation.

There I am laughing in bed under the kicked covers as Tom Petty condenses into a few choice ironies four decades of male angst.

I like the fact that Rick Rubin saw fit to let the thing just end with a weird but somehow apposite resolution. A major it turns out.

Tom Petty irony is better than Imus in the Morning.



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