Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Ballad of Tommy and Gina

I was listening to Bon Jovi, and the following lyrics suddenly struck me as, well ...

...epic. And funny.

"Tommy used to work on the docks/Union's been on strike, he's down on his luck. It's tough. So tough."

Let's break this down shall we? Poor Tommy. I picture him as being early twenties, heavily tatted up (and so, probably, dreamy since I like 'em that way), with longish hair. And he'd be strong, right? In good shape, anyway, because working on the docks is, like, super hard work. That's physical labour. He's got the kind of build people go to the gym for, but he doesn't have a gym membership because, dude, his JOB'S a workout. And gyms are for people who have MONEY. Which he doesn't, because since the strike started, he's, like, SO broke.

And that's tough.

But it's not JUST tough? It's so tough that Mr Bon Jovi needed to tell us how tough it was TWICE. It's tough -- SO tough.

And that, my friends, is TOUGH.

"Gina works the diner all day. Working for her man, she brings home her pay for love. FOR LOVE."

I confess that I used to hear this as "working for THE MAN" and not working for HER man. In my head, Gina wears a light blue old-school waitress uniform and has blonde hair with dark roots. She aspires to cooking, though, and everyone she and Tommy have ever entertained in their studio apartment in Long Island City have been mad impressed with her skills -- not that she has the cash to do that anymore, though, because since the strike started down at the docks, they've been pretty much living on her tips, and she's not sure how they're going to pay their rent. But that's okay, because she believes in Tommy. And their love.

And those crazy kids are gonna hold on! To what they've got! It doesn't make a difference if they make it or not. Except that it sort of does, because ... well, if they give up, this song's going to kind of suck.

So I giggled to myself a little bit, because now in my head, Tommy and Gina were real people.


I realized that Gina's parents were Brenda and Eddie from Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant". You know, Brenda and Eddie? Who were still going steady in the summer of '75 and decided the marriage would be at the end of July?

Which is why it makes SENSE that Gina is holding on to what she's got. Her parents are divorced, and she doesn't want to lose Tommy over money issues -- especially since she KNOWS that when her parents got married, every one of their friends told Eddie he could never afford to live that kind of life. I mean, yeah, Brenda and Eddie got a divorce as a matter of course AND they parted the closest of friends -- which was nice for Gina because it made it easier on her -- but she's determined to stick it out.

That's also when I realized that Gina's best friend? Was Maria from the Blondie song. Walking like she don't care, smooth as silk and cool as air. That girl would NOT take a diner job for her man, that's for damn sure. She's a free spirit. She'd be all, "Whatever, peace out" but she's super loyal to Gina and comes into the diner when she's working to cheer her up, because she's a good friend like that.

I could keep going. I populated an entire universe with song people, all of whom had their own backstories. (Don't get me started on Iggy Pop's Candy. That woman is INSANE.)

Popular music. It's a soap opera.

In my head, anyway.


  1. You need to get out more. And listen to better music. :)

    1. I DO need to get out more (hey, I'm working on it) and I kind of love all music. I have an undiscriminating musical palate.