Pool, Band, or School? Maggie May Confuses Young Mind
"It's late September, and I really should be back at school."
arrival leads to an annual four weeks of chaotic bliss where a wide
range of emotions rise and fall in my over-occupied mind. Looking at
the vodka bottle as being optimistically half-full, autumn does have
some fine qualities. For one, humidity is no longer an issue. Secondly,
I can begin watching Notre Dame every Saturday, which gives me a
semi-legitimate excuse to wear my Ron Powlus Jersey and look like a
jackass. But on the other hand, the ninth month usually means that I
must surrender to
weather and permanently put the top up on my Jeep. Summer is officially
gone. Nobody's on the road. Nobody's on the beach, and the sun will go
the previous three months, on warmer days, with the top down and the
tinted shades being worn, when I wasn't listening to Dylan,
Guns'N'Roses, or Howard Stern, I usually listened to some light rock
station out of Columbus that seemed to play Rod Stewart's "Maggie May"
every time I was tuned in. Make no mistake, I love the classic "young
guy hooks up with an older woman" hit. However, after a summer of
contemplation, I will now analyze why the song's narrator (not
necessarily Rod Stewart himself) makes no sense with the options he
presents himself at his moment of choice.
I quoted earlier, the protagonist of the track realizes that it is
"late September." We're not clear on just how "late" in September the
song takes place. After all, if the poor bastard missed registration
deadline, well, he's screwed for fall quarter. Hopefully, for the kid,
"late" means "almost time for classes to start." That is, unless he is
still in high school. Then, Dean of Students "Rooney" will be after his
truant ass because he is blatantly violating a state law. Of course,
this tale of young lust may take place in the
Anyway, after he accepts the fact that it is "late September," he presents himself with three options:
1) He can collect his books and go back to school.
2) He can steal his daddy's cue and make a living off of playing pool.
And of course:
3) Find himself a rock and roll band that needs a helping hand.
not sure what the job market was like at the time the song was written,
but if "Maggie May" takes place in the present, then option number one
would probably be the best. Whatever this guy's major is makes no
difference really. The bottom line is that a college education is a
MUST; we all want to afford to be able to buy cool shit, and unless we
have wealthy relatives, we usually have to work to get that money. As
for "collecting" books, I'm not sure how that works. I always had to buy
my damn books. Sure, I "collect" autographs, hats, and fashion
magazines, but never in my life have I collected my books to go back to
school. Make no mistake--I have a fine collection of
books. My library has a wide range of titles that would interest a
variety of intellects. But usually, when a class has been completed, the
book gets sold back to the original seller for a fraction of what the
buyer paid for it, only to then be sold again to a sucker for another
outrageous mark-up (supply and demand…capitalism.) So
in conclusion, the books that Rod's character plans on "collecting"
will probably be useless because when students take new classes,
usually, they need new books as well. But by all means, one should be
motivated to educate oneself.
next option that is presented is the ludicrous notion of playing pool
for a living. Unless you're Paul fucking Newman, this is an impossible
career. If this guy was any good at pool, he would probably own his own
pool stick. And why must he "steal" his daddy's cue? If he needs a
stick, he should just ask his father if he can borrow one. Hell, aren't
there usually a shit-load of those things at most places where people
gather to play pool? Never in my life have I seen a pool table without
a few sticks lying around nearby. When it comes
down to it, I simply find it absurd that someone would consider the act
of thieving a pool stick from a relative to pursue a career in
billiards as a legitimate choice for an occupation. Sure, chicks may
dig pool sharks, or maybe they did back in the day, but that's hardly a
justification for what is otherwise a ridiculous notion. And finally,
let's explore the idea of finding a "rock and roll band that needs a
helping hand." So it's that simple, huh? A guy can just open up a newspaper, look in the classifieds, and find an add that reads "wanted:
a confused guy who sleeps with older women, has a fine collection of
useless textbooks, and DOES NOT own a pool stick, but is contemplating
stealing one." What the hell can this guy possibly do to help a band? Does he own an instrument? More importantly, can he play one? Can he sing?
don't think that being a roadie would be a wise career move either.
Sure, you can say "I'm with the band," but honestly, that won't get
anybody laid or paid. Think about it, even if you are in
a band, which is a step or two above being a roadie, does anybody ever
ask, "So, I heard you made it backstage! Tell me, what does the
keyboard player/back up vocalist think about the films of Mike
Nichols?" No, people don't really want to hang with any of the trumpet
players, they simply would use them to get to Dave Matthews.
are a few exceptions to this theory. A band such as Aerosmith has a
mysterious lead guitarist such as Joe Perry, and hanging out with Perry
would be brag-worthy, to say the least. As would Mike Campbell, Keith
Richards, and a few other guitarists. I'd compare it to someone whom
may have had the opportunity to meet Scottie Pippen during a post-game
party session back when the Bulls were the ballers who balled above and
beyond all others. Sure, meeting Scottie wouldn't be as great as
meeting MJ, but it would be pretty cool. But think about it, would
anyone's street cred increase by saying, "Yea, I ran into Stacey King
the other night," or "Dude, John Paxton is the coolest. We went for a
post-game cruise after game 6"? Probably not. So the point of this is
that some bands definitely have more than one member that is a
brag-worthy hang out session, but those bands are few and far between.
Of course, groups such as the Beatles and Led Zeppelin would have been
the ultimate exception because every member of these legendary groups
would be equally cool to hang out with. Sure, my personal bias toward
John Lennon would force me to choose The Walrus over Ringo, but Ringo
would still be cool to drink a Guinness with, that is, if I drank
But before we get ahead of ourselves dreaming of rock and roll fantasies, let's be realistic. If, and I repeat, if
this guy gets involved with a band, be it as a roadie or a cowbell
-percussionist, the band, in all probability, will suck. And quite
honestly, the only thing more pathetic than a lame band cranking out
their version of "Sweet Home Alabama" in a bar full of
twenty-somethings is the drunken twenty-somethings in the bar that are
watching them (my friends and I) thinking that they "kick ass" because
Captain Morgan has led them to believe that.
my advice to Maggie May's lover is this: unless you can sing like Axle,
play like Eddie Van Halen, or have the swagger and charisma of a young
Mick Jagger, you're not going to make it in the rock industry.
If, however, this song is autobiographical, and Maggie May is based on the life-altering moment when Rod Stewart made
the leap from horny school-boy to hornier rock star, then this entire
essay is an absolute waste, and I am a complete douche-bag. (Although,
it's arguable that I'm a douche-bag regardless.) Either way, there are
some decisions in life that are above and beyond common sense. They
take realism, optimism, and an overall gut feeling.
Locke believed that human beings are born with three divine rights:
life, liberty, and property. Although I respect the writings of Locke,
I tend to lean towards the lyrics of Neil Young. Neil says that every
kid has a right to:
1) Go to school.
2) Fall in love.
3) Be cool.
is highly probable that I will never be cool. However, as a seventies
icon once said, "Two out of three aint' bad." We may never know what
Maggie May's lover chose to do when he realized that September would
soon be over. As for me, I guess I will just be glad to be back in
school. Like Wooderson in "Dazed and Confused" said, that's where all
the chicks are.
(Trace Hacquard is a graduate student at Ohio University. Email him: lh303403 AT ohio.edu )