Disclaimer: I have four talented young interns who inform my every social media move. They’ve suggested several blog posts for me, and I promise that those are forthcoming, but in the meantime, I have some rambling to do.

When I was a kid—and I say this deliberately, given my tender youngish-middle age and  simultaneous desire to use the word “kid” for anyone under 30—I discovered the public library. I was ten or eleven (an actual kid!). . . old enough to be let loose in the downtown library, you know? 

Anyway, my precocity back in the day led me to the magazine files. It led me to the multimedia collection, which at that time in my life meant cassettes. Cassettes, which I’d take home, copy on my dad’s cassette deck, and then return.

One of the cassettes was Louder than Bombs, by the Smiths.

Morrissey wrote this song about the YWCA, and it’s been in my head since. It goes like this:

Call me morbid, call me pale

I spent six years on your trail

Six long years, on your trail

And if you have five seconds to spare,

Then I’ll tell you the story of my life:

Sixteen, clumsy, and shy,

I went to London, and I,

I booked myself in at the Y . . . WCA

I said, “I like it here, can I stay?”

Right now and per usual, this song leads me to a complicated fabric of memories involving my cousin, a boombox, and road trips through Northern California. A follow-up post is already in the works. Maybe more than one, given the weave of the fabric.

Listen to the song. Does it make sense, in the context of the library and cassettes and feeling hashtag-old?

Half a Person – the Smiths

Published by kbirdsall

I write fiction, short essays, and the occasional academic article. I teach writing at a large university somewhere in the Midwest.

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