By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE –– Sometimes it seems that there are two types of people in this world, and I don’t mean those who believe windmills cause cancer and those who know better.
It’s those who get Bruce Springsteen and those who don’t.
And I did everything in my power to have my own flesh and blood “get it,” but my turn at the plate ended while working a full count — and fouling off a few pitches for the sake of drama — before striking out, big-time.
The result? Sofia, now 12 going 21, is too set in her music-loving ways to open her heart and mind – let alone her headphone-covered ears – to the Boss.
The best chance at indoctrination came in September of 2016, when we took her to her first Springsteen concert at Lincoln Financial Field.
It was a moment I had dreamed about, except that everything that could have gone wrong did (in spite of a killer set list).
What would be the 33rd time I saw Springsteen live, and the first for Sofia, was also the first I left one of his shows early (fortunately, all we missed was a rendition of “Shout” and “Jersey Girl” in the final encore).
We got out of the packed parking lot quickly, too, but I am still carrying a heavy burden of guilt that missing a traffic jam can’t erase.
The guilt is religious in nature, even though I’m not a religious person.
I have experienced spirituality, with Springsteen concerts topping the list.
I have many converts to the Cult of Springsteen on my resume – including the wife — with concerts being the quickest route to saving souls.
With the one that mattered most, that of my Sofia, I failed.
She entered the show in question ambivalent and left miserable.
Hot and miserable.
The myth known as global warming was in full force, sending Sofia and her mommy to the first aid area several times to cool down (I still insist that if Chris Christie wasn’t one section over, there may have been some breathable air for the rest of us).
It’s almost like she still has PTSD from the experience – I guess dehydration will do that to a kid – and she shrieks at the sound of almost any Springsteen song for more than one chord progression (for non-music peeps, that’s not long).
The mission of mercy was nothing new.
For her own good, Sofia has been dragged to see a lot of other vintage acts.
That list includes Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, Natalie Merchant, America, Gordon Lightfoot, Loretta Lynn, The Eagles and Paul McCartney.
Other than McCartney (the Beatles are universal) – and maybe Mellencamp – she was not too impressed.
Then again, I was not impressed when forced against my will as a kid to sit through some shows that made me just about break out into hives.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel.
Sofia may not be interested in Springsteen or Dylan live – or fully understand why I cried like a baby when Tom Petty died — but the bands she now lives and breathes are making her just as passionate about her own thing.
I can work with that.
Just the other day, when a split second of a Britney Spears song accidentally came on, she changed the car radio to the Springsteen-only station (E Street Radio) on Sirius Radio.
“Even this (the Springsteen song, which I believe was a live version of “Dancing In The Dark”) is better than that (the Spears song),” she said, before quickly grabbing a CD from her meticulously alphabetized CD wallet that looks more like a suitcase that a stewardess would insist be placed in the overhead compartment of an airplane.
So, there is hope.
A lot of it, actually.
It is noteworthy that Sofia even recognizes Britney Spears, whose peak popularity predated her 2007 birth, and that she also knew instantly it was Springsteen she changed the channel to in her haste to escape Spears.
The bigger victory is that my little girl is as passionate about music as I was at the same age.
The apple doesn’t fall from the tree, even if when it tries to be a peach.
The only difference is that she knows every word of every song by My Chemical Romance and Twenty One Pilots, which I have been drafted to taking her to see in Atlantic City this summer, the way I once knew every word of every song by The Doors or The Cars.
She knows the life stories of the band members and, just like her father who never really grew up, searches for deeper meanings of the songs in a way that will also drive into trying her hand at writing her own.
While she swears she has not yet left Taylor Swift and Sabrina Carpenter in the dust, it is evident Sofia has moved on to a more alternative genre the way I did to Classic Rock from AM radio at her age.
“The only truth is music,” said beat writer Jack Kerouac.
My baby – and she’ll always be my baby (even at 12 going on 21) – knows the truth.
And the truth – whether you get Bruce Springsteen or not (or not yet) – can set you free.