My favorite song of all times…Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones. I don’t know if it’s the song I love as much as what it reminds me of. Freshman year of college in a small town in North Carolina. New friends, new places, new expectations. The Lighthouse (our one bar). Cold beer on a Wednesday night, music blaring in a bar whose walls were painted black (I think) but exuded so much light you had to squint your eyes sometimes. The smell of keg beer spilled all over the floor or down your back, the sound of clinking bottles and classic rock, hustling bar tenders who still smiled and winked when they could, and the laughter…I thought I was in heaven.
There were no expectations…life was good…I remember standing at the end of the bar when the song started, finished my beer and ordered another. The roar of the conversation, the ring of the cash register and the sound of folks shooting pool. But…then it was there, muted at first but this song had no problem bursting through. And then he, one of the regulars, someone who had loved this place like I would come to, jumped up on the bar and began to sing. Not to the crowd, not to his fraternity brothers, not to himself. But to the Moose…. now I know, to this day, that this animal head hanging on the wall of a bar was probably more of a deer head than a moose…but to a girl from Baltimore who did not hunt…that is what we are going with.
To this day I see this boy, with his arm around the neck of this beast, mounted on the wall, singing. And there was no video to post on YouTube. Or anyone to tweet about it. His image didn’t go viral on social media…on Facebook. He was a boy, that we loved, in a bar doing a completely crazy and, at the time, normal thing.
And I go back, every single time I hear that song. I see him, closing his eyes, feeling Mick’s words. And when it was over, he jumped right down in his Sperry’s, grabbed another beer and shot a game of pool.
As I left my job today I thought of this boy, where he was now. Because I wanted to forget about 401K’s and taxes and tuitions and mortgages…and really just focus on the important stuff. A cold beer, good friends and Mick Jagger.
Numen Lumen my friends….