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10 March 2010

Walk On The Wildside

I’ve got an iPod, but I really don’t need one.

There is always a soundtrack playing in my head, whether I am wearing headphones or not.

From Louis Prima to Lady Gaga, Iron Maiden to Toby Keith, and everything in the middle, I love music.

In fact, if I could do it all over again, I would’ve been a roadie for REO Speedwagon on the Hi Infidelity tour -- not that they asked.

Music has always been a major part of my life.

To this day, Nick Lowe's Cruel to be Kind instantly takes me back to summer camp in 1979.

When I was notified of my dismissal, U2’s Walk On helped me, well Walk On.

And at Ground Zero in New York last week, Bruce Springsteen’s Empty Sky definitely made an incredible experience all the more memorable.

Since adding Unemployed to my resume, my morning schedule now starts with an hour on the elliptical machine and a little bit of weights, all the while listening to tunes.

I use a very cool feature called the genius playlist, where you pick one song from your music library and then it plays 24 more just like it.

If I select Natalie Merchant as song #1, Sinead O’Connor won’t be far away.

If I’m in the mood for Eminem, Coolio or T.I. are sure to follow.

This morning, Bon Jovi’s Bad Medicine was the doctor's order. That triggered Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Poison, Skid Row, well you get the idea.

About 48 minutes in came one of my favorites -- Wildside by Motley Crue.

While I definitely enjoy that song, I couldn’t help but think of my connection to it.

It must’ve been around 1989 when my buddy Jeff and I stopped at a Los Angeles bank to pick up some cash at the ATM.

As I parked my 1982 Olds Omega right in front, we both saw an odd looking man walk in front of my car, headed into the branch.

We looked at him. He looked at us. We looked at him. He walked into the bank.

As the glass door closed, Jeff and I watched the man use his left hand to pull a bandana over his mouth, then used his right hand to lift up a gun.

A real gun. There was no Punked in 1989.

The entire time, Motley Crue’s heart-pumping, head-banging, guitar-blazing song was blaring through my speakers, only adding to the drama.

Our immediate reaction was to drive to the bottom of the parking lot, about 150 yards away and call the police from the pay phone.

(Note to kids: in 1989, when you were out and needed to call someone, you used an apparatus known as a pay phone by inserting coins into a slot, dialing the number and hoping that somebody answered.)

By the time we got out of the car and dialed the police, the man had already finished his business in the bank and was running directly at us.

Or so we thought.

When you are calling the police to report a bank robbery and the robber is sprinting in your direction, you don’t ask questions.

It was like a mix of Jesse James and Jesse Owens.

As it turned out, he never got closer than half way, cutting through a store and into what was probably his getaway car in a back parking lot.

Of course, by that time, with Wildside still going, we used my speed machine as our getaway car, getting as far away as possible.

As a 22 year old, it was quite the rush.

Now 20+ years later and out of a job, I look back with a much different perspective.

What must've been going on in that man’s life to make him do it?

What kind of desperation does it take to actually rob a bank, gun and all?

With more and more people out of work and out of money, I’m sure these things are happening more frequently than ever.

Fortunately no thought like this has EVER entered my mind.

I may not have a job, but I still have way to much to lose.

I’m not really sure if he was ever caught. Bank robberies don’t make the news in LA.

But thanks to him, Wildside will never be just a song to me again.

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