Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumped Up Kicks

Driving my daughter to school before dawn yesterday, after the daily slap fight to control the tuner, I found myself enjoying a song she had chosen on the radio.  That alone was a miracle with the gravitas of a full galaxy convergence, but this song was good.  It had a fresh infectious beat and some auto tune effects limning the vocals in a creative way. 

The lyrics caught me too.  Something about a “cowboy kid” rolling his own cigs. 
Robert's got a quick hand.
He'll look around the room; he won't tell you his plan.
He's got a rolled cigarette, hanging out his mouth, he's a cowboy kid.

We were cruising along to this tune, bobbing our heads and I lost track of the lyrics in favor of the cute pop beat and the actual riff of whistling threading through the melody.
“I really like this song.  I guess that’s the kiss of death for it then?  If I like it, it must be crap, right?"
She looked at me like I’d fatally fired a rogue synapse.  “No, Mom. I like the song, but ‘like’ might not be the best word here…”  I hardly heard her.  I opted instead to lose myself in the tune again, bopping down the road with my surly daughter.

Yea, he found a six shooter gun.
In his dads closet hidden in a box of fun things, and I don't even know what.
But he's coming for you; yeah he's coming for you.
Cowboy kid.  Six shooter. I remembered when we played cowboys with our cap guns in the back yard with my cousins. I chuckled to myself about sharing some genetics with Jesse James, many degrees removed from the immediate family tree…

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you'd better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet.
Faster than my bullet?  Must be some reference to Superman. Faster than a speeding bullet. I spent a few seconds talking myself into some fantasy and out of what I had just heard. But then the story of it broke through the contagious beat.

Daddy works a long day.
He be coming home late, yeah he's coming home late.
And he's bringing me a surprise.
'Cause dinner's in the kitchen and it's packed in ice.
“Mom, you know what this song’s about don’t you?”  She was familiar with my expression, a face clench when something hideous just dawns on me.
“Not until now.”

“Well, it’s about an abused kid who shoots up his family and his school with his dad's gun.  You know, like Columbine."
The song was ending as I swung into the circular drive in front of Boone High. A silent stream of crusty-eyed disheveled teenagers shuffled by.  The sun was sending sprays of red above the horizon as my daughter jumped out of the car, adjusted her ass exposing low cut jeans, and threw her backpack over her shoulder.
She went to slam the car door…
“Bye , Mom. I love you.”
“Wait!” I blurted it out, a bee stinging my tongue.

I've waited for a long time.
Yeah the slight of my hand is now a quick pull trigger,
I reason with my cigarette,
And say your hair's on fire, you must have lost your wits, yeah.

I pictured myself jamming the car into park.
I saw myself running, (better run), and dragging her back into the car. I saw myself burning tire rubber to leave that god forsaken place where every angry looking kid with a backpack now haunted my mind; where every bitter bullied kid plotted mayhem to make "them all" pay for slights, real or unreal, finally attaining the kind of cool only a killer can earn. 

It wouldn’t matter if my daughter was a gentle unassuming shy person or the sharply witty, loud and sometimes confrontive personality that she is. She’d still be one of all the other kids.
I saw myself there to rescue her from it. But I can't.

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you'd better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet.

“I love you too. Be careful in there, ok?”

Thank you to Foster The People for their song Pumped Up Kicks.


  1. Linnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow, this story took an unexpected turn... I didn't see that one coming!! :o(

    How have you been???


  2. I am doing just fine my Antidiluvian U. Prof. Except for worrying my ass off for my offspring. Thank you for following me and reading my stuff. You are such a good friend!


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