There are few things in this life that can take an average, respectable, middle-aged professional and turn him into a seemingly freewheeling teenager. A trip to Amsterdam, a new Harley and, of course, a Rolling Stones concert come to mind. I’ve been feeling the need for an adolescent freewheel outlet recently. I haven’t been to Amsterdam in a few years, and after crashing a bike with my wife on back, she isn’t so fond of the Harley idea. So I was stoked to hear that after 44 years of rocking, the Stones were touring once again. This was my chance to get my ya ya’s out.
For me, this was much more than a concert. It was an opportunity to relive my high school days and retain my youth through what I call my theory of rock star relativity. The theory states, “One’s self-perceived youth is directly related to the current age and actions of rock stars admired during one’s youth.” Therefore, the fact that Mick Jagger is both older than me and acts younger than me ensures that I will perceive myself to be much younger and more hip than I really am.
I began developing my theory the first time I saw the Stones in concert. It was Halloween night, 1981, and I was a 17-year-old high school kid who was willing to stand in an endless ticket line and shell out 25 hard-earned bucks to see the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band play an outdoor concert in the rain. It was spectacular. I remember seeing the then 38-year-old Mick running back and forth on stage like a madman. I was impressed that such an old man could perform a show that was so physical without getting winded. After all, he was the same age as my dad. So that day I learned that even though Mick was old, he was cool. And I translated that into hope for myself that I would be cooler than my dad when I turned 38.
Fast-forward 25 years. A few things have changed since that Halloween night. I’m now older than Mick was the first time I saw the Stones, and he is now 63. Today it costs 100 hard-earned bucks to see the show, and standing in line has been replaced with purchasing tickets online. However, some things have stayed the same. Mick still runs around the stage like a prancing maniac for two hours and I’m still impressed at how a man his age can do that. And, as predicted, I have become much cooler than my dad was at my age.
Then there is Keith. What can be said about the immortal poster boy of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll that hasn’t already been said? If he doesn’t make you feel young, there is no hope.
So there is the essence of my theory. As long as there are rock stars old enough to be my dad and they continue prancing around, acting like teenagers, I will continue to have an inflated perception of my coolness and view myself as being younger and more vibrant than I really am. Or, I could just go to Amsterdam and buy a Harley.