I’m not the biggest sentimentalist in the world. Heck, I’m not the biggest sentimentalist in my own room when I’m alone in it. But, lately, I’ve been feeling the directed herding of emotional return in certain productions I watch to mine for goodies for my own writing. Been feeling myself get at least shadow-weepy as the money shots tug heartstrings in heroic climaxes of Severide‘s Captain America heroism in “Chicago Fire” and the selfless dedication of the doctors and nurses in “Code Black.”
Forget that for a second. Tonight, my sweet princess D was admiring the way Christie Brinkley was holding up like a girl-power heroic supermodel at the ripe young age of 61. I cynically responded that “Of course she’s vital, she sucked 20 good years from the soul of Billy Joel when they were together in the 80’s. Dax wasn’t aware of how far Joel had fallen into a hole that now kind of defines the musical sickness that folks unfortunately remembers the that decade for. I had to show her the candy plastic Disney heart tug-ugly of “Uptown Girl” and what a perilous nose-dive into two sad dimensions it was from Joel’s “Bruce Springstein” cool daze of “Piano Man” to Uptown Girl.
Ok, forget that too. I had one more song Sweet D had to hear to fully appreciate how cool Billy Joel was compared to the depths of silly Brinkley “Yoko’d” him into. You see, Joel was a war hero in his own right. He had fought in Viet Nam, and wrote what was, in my mind, the best “in memoriam” ballad remembering the best and worst parts of what our brave brothers and fathers experienced there. “Goodnight Saigon.” It’s a song I can’t help but nearly be brought to tears by. A song I’ve loved and thought of my pops through since I got the album in 1982. One of my first cassette album and easily one of the biggest musical and political influences on me in my developmental years.
Goodnight Saigon is one that makes me proud of what my pop went through in 1964 there as a combat engineer, coming home broken and lost with a bronze star and purple heart that didn’t make things feel any better. He’d have to wait for my mother’s love to heal that series of wounds.
You can’t say “Happy Veteran’s Day” and be taken seriously, but I can say thank you for answering the call to defend the values of the United States so selflessly. You own all of my respect, admiration, and love.
Here’s the video that encapsulates the feelings I imagine Viet Nam would elicit in those who were there during our warring days there so long ago. Sung when Billy Joel still had an intact soul to draw the passion from: