Bob Marley – “Get Up, Stand Up”

When: July 2004
Where: Gauss House, Crown College, UC Santa Cruz
Who: Several people
Weather: Cool
Book: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

At some point, I was recruited by the Center for Talented Youth to take a summer class in Santa Cruz on mystery novels. What they didn’t make clear is that not only would I be stuck there, I’d be forced to have fun. At best, I got to watch Hitchcock movies and write comics all the time.* At worst, I had to listen to everyone singing along to Don McLean with their own special added lyrics, all spontaneously from people who had never met each other before.

One morning, I woke up to what sounded eerily like John Corbett on the radio, I got out of bed and looked out my open third-story window onto the residency square and saw some guys playing Bob Marley, so I went down and checked it out.

Though mysteries were not my style, my instructor appreciated what I did with the material. When the program ended, I was eating dinner in town when I caught him and his TA Celine on the four-block line to see Fahrenheit 9/11.

His name? Jonathan Goldstein.

*My comics were inspired by American Splendor and would continue until school started, when my dad angrily forbid me to continue out of lack of respect for the genre and general compulsive rage.

Next: Our gloomy freshman year.

Big Mountain – “Baby I Love Your Way”

When: February 1994
Where: My mother’s ’88 Corolla (previously owned by my father)
Who: My mother
Weather: Unknown

This was the first version of this song I ever knew. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the original Peter Frampton version. As far as I am concerned, it’s meant to be a Reggae song. Bill Nye the Science Guy agreed with me when the show’s producers created a parody version of this version of the song, “Energy Comes in Waves.” And when I play this version for people, they like it better. And yet it was only created for the movie Reality Bites, as a nostalgia piece for an entire generation that was, for the most part, in their twenties.

I can’t imagine what my generation would use in its place. No product of the 2000s has the same level of popularity, crossover appeal, and positivity that that song did. But if we had such a thing, if we covered it, would four-year-olds get something completely different out of it?

Next: Hope Sandoval becomes the first of many to keep me out of latency.