Saturday, August 15, 2009

Like a complete unknown

Bob Dylan was found wandering around private property in New Jersey last month when concerned residents called the police. A young police woman confronted him and didn't believe his 'I'm Bob Dylan' story. She finally eased up after verifying Dylan's identity with his manager on his nearby tour bus.

As fun as it is for celebrities to be found in weird places, this story has an unusual layer that makes it more intriguing.

It turns out that the area Mr. Dylan was found(in sweatpants, a trench coat and a hoodie, by the way) was very near a house Bruce Springsteen used to reside in. Apparently the Boss lived there while authoring "Thunder Road" and other great hits.

This is just the latest in a pattern of Dylan sightings in recent months near the old homes of other legendary rockers: the former homes of John Lennon and Neil Young were also on Dylan's itinerary.

This is like Michael Jordan visiting the high school where LeBron James played basketball. It's like Johnny Carson watching tapes of Conan O'Brien's show. Like Napoleon poring over the memoirs of Norman Schwarzkopf! Is he loopy? Or is this just another extension of his genius?

I'm choosing to err on the side of genius.

Is it humility that inspires Bob Dylan to wander through the rain, searching for some key to his colleagues' greatness? Does he sense his own shortcomings and yearn for a more full life? What causes a man, who has already secured his spot in the pantheon of musical glory, to don a cloak of anonymity and genuflect in the presence of the very people who stood on his shoulders?

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