How To Be Yourself, Even When You Don’t Fit In

Tropical storm be damned, I wasn’t about to miss The Oblivians.

I sloshed over to the South Street Seaport through the rising flood and headed out on Pier 17. There was a big tent, this must be the spot.

I approached the hand-stampers, a couple of young girls. The one looked at me.

“Are you here for the concert?”

“Yes. Why, is there something else going on?”

She smiled and stamped my hand. “No, go ahead in.”

I was wearing my work clothes, shirt and tie. Maybe she thought I was too square for the rock show.

When I got inside, I saw why. Everybody, and I mean everybody, was dressed the part of a rock n roller. It was kind of a turn off. My bullshit detector kicked in immediately and I was kind of sizing people up trying to figure out who was the real thing and who was just playing pretend.

This kind of put me in a sour mood. I started feeling like a crabby old guy. But then I realized, no, I’m not just a crabby old guy. I’m searching for authenticity, in myself and in others.

Or maybe I am grumpy cause my socks are soaked.

The opening band started playing and I went to the back of the tent. Got myself a hot dog and sat down on a picnic bench. Took my book out and started to read. It’s fun to do whatever you want to do, even when it’s totally weird like reading a book at a rock show.

The band ended and The Oblivians were up next. I started to get pumped. I stood up, looked around, and suddenly felt very proud that I was the only guy in a shirt and tie at the whole show. I’d rather just do me than look like eveybody else.

As I waded up to the stage I started seeing some familiar faces. Jon Spencer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Eric Davidson from the New Bomb Turks. Yes! These people made me feel at home. It didn’t matter what I was wearing, I was among kin.

The Oblivians took the stage. They sounded perfect. I felt victorious. End scene.

Here’s me singing my favorite Oblivians song, Bad Man.