There are 9964 songs in my iTunes (30 straight days’ worth, 61.92 GB). The last time “Dirty Water” by The Standells played was on January 6, 2009. This Tuesday, the day after the Patriots’ Day bombings at the Boston Marathon, while listening on shuffle, it came on again. I think the odds of this happening are something like 1 in 10,000, but I’m no expert. Whatever the odds, it was a hell of a coincidence.
The song goes like this:
I’m gonna tell you a story
I’m gonna tell you about my town
I’m gonna tell you a big bad story, baby
Aww, it’s all about my town
Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles (aw, that’s what’s happenin’ baby)
That’s where you’ll find me
Along with lovers, fuggers, and thieves (aw, but they’re cool people)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you’re my home (oh, you’re the Number One place)
Frustrated women (I mean they’re frustrated)
Have to be in by twelve o’clock (oh, that’s a shame)
But I’m wishin’ and a-hopin, oh
That just once those doors weren’t locked (I like to save time for my baby to walk around)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you’re my home (oh, yeah)
Because I love that dirty water
Oh, oh, Boston, you’re my home (oh, yeah)
Well, I love that dirty water (I love it, baby)
I love that dirty water (I love Baw-stun)
I love that dirty water (Have you heard about the Strangler?)
I love that dirty water (I’m the man, I’m the man)
I love that dirty water (Owww!)
I love that dirty water (Come on, come on)
I didn’t grow up in Boston, but Boston is my home. It’s the first city I loved and it’s where I really became myself; an entity separate from my family. I haven’t been back in over a decade, but the attack still feels personal. I walked or rode my bike on Boylston Street hundreds, possibly thousands, of times. I worked at a restaurant that was half a block up from the second bomb. That strip of pavement and the steps into the Boston Public Library were literally my stomping ground for years. I spent hours in the BPL because it was free, air-conditioned and full of books making it the best place in the city for a college student on a budget.
I don’t pray but my thoughts are with all the people of the greatest city I’ve ever lived in. I know them and I know they’ll bounce back and be tougher than ever, but the physical and psychic wounds will take time to heal, even from the other side of the world.
And now for something completely related
→ Dennie Lehane, Boston writer extraordinaire (Shutter Island, Mystic River) says “Bostonians don’t love easy things, they love hard things — blizzards, the bleachers in Fenway Park, a good brawl over a contested parking space.” Fortitude is in the water there.
→ Reddit is trying to solve the mystery of who the bomber(s) is/are by crowd-sourcing the crime scene. I have conflicted feelings about this. Right hand says that the wisdom of the crowds can offer valuable insights. Left hand says that mob mentality doesn’t lead to anything good.
→ A weird question I was asked by a Spanish friend once was “What does it feel like to have a national anthem?” I never figured out what he meant, but today I can say that it makes you feel like you’re connected to hundreds, thousands, millions of people you’ve never met. Here are 17,000 of them.