It was 1967 and you and I and everybody else heard this song by The Doors. I was a nice middle class girl attending college, but I’d already been married for two years, so the full import of Jim Morrison’s full frontal sonic assault was not lost on me. Up until that time, the sexiest record I possessed was one of Richard Burton reading John Donne’s love poems – which, by the way, was pretty sexy. The Doors’ lyrics were nowhere near that verbal elegance, and the whole bit, in retrospect, has something of that kid-who–thinks-he-just-invented-sex bombast, but Morrison was definitely the strutting cock of the walk that summer.
Now, gray-haired and arthritic, beset on every side by decay, I go several times a week to a “Granny” gym class, a.k.a., Silver Sneakers©. It’s ordinarily helpful to listen to old pop music to get stiff, often painful joints moving. I can lift weights or work out with stretchy bands to “Money,” “Maybelline,” “Philadelphia Freedom” and “Downtown” without too bitter an experience of the heavy–handed irony of my current situation. However, the other day, toward the end of the workout, with a vocalist pumped up and screaming like a power-lifter on his final try, backed by a ghetto blaster beat, I was confronted with—for the first time in years—’Light My Fire’.
I wanted to laugh. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stop obediently working my triceps, drop the dinky weights, and go dancing around the room in my present old lame body. I wonder if I could have recreated, using muscle memory, just an instant of that long gone time.
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