February 2, 2008 § Leave a comment

“Have you heard Springsteen’s new song?”

“No.” (I always know when he’s hooked on a new song. He finds it on the Internet, plays it, talks about in wispy references. I understand it. He’s a musician. A good song lights him up like a good book gets me happy.) “What’s it called?”

“Girls in Their Summer Clothes.”

I pause. “Really? That’s the title?”

“Yeah. You wanna hear it?”

“No. Not now. After dinner.”

We sat down to eat. “You know,” I said, “there’s a short story, a famous one, called ‘Girls in their Summer Dresses.’ It’s a classic.”

“Oh, well, this is ‘in their clothes.’ It can’t be the same thing.”

Would it be so bad if a current pop chart hit was taken from a classic short story? This I did not say aloud.

So, this morning, I looked up the story. It’s by Irwin Shaw. I read it online. It is short. Well done. Sad. It holds up to time due to its subject matter.

Then I looked up and read the lyrics to Bruce’s song. OK, no, he didn’t borrow from the short story. Clearly not. But, there is some sameness, some like bittersweet essence.

Girls in their summer clothes really get to guys. It’s something deep; it’s not just the girls and it’s not just the dresses.

Excuse me while I go change into something, um, summery.

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