meet the new boss (true tales from the men’s room)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

IT WAS 1975, and I was out of my hippie wannabe stage. I was playing it straight; not out of choice, but ne­ces­sity. (But that’s an­other story.) I was still as anti-authoritarian as all get-out—at least when it came to bosses who were re­ally bul­lies with authority—taking crap from no one. Ex­cept, of course, from my girl­friend. In fact, my boss at the place where I worked was such an ar­se­w­hole that to this day I wish I had asked him to step out­side and duke it out!

But I didn’t.

Being the wuss that I was, in­stead of having it out with him, I was petty in­stead: I took to calling every­body “boss” as a way to ame­lio­rate the pain of having to work under this guy every day.

So, like I said, it’s 1975 and my little sister is a stu­dent at Kutz­town and I drove more than two hours from Wilkes-Barre to Kutz­town to see her. It was a Sat­urday in July in Penn­syl­vania, so it’s hot. There was also a con­cert at the col­lege by the latest hot­shot rock & roller that every­body was talking about that I wanted to see.

The old two-stones-with-one-bird thing.

So I had lunch with her and met her super-cute co-ed friends. 1

I vis­ited a great little mom-and-pop record store there in down­town Kutz­town and bought a stack of old 45s that had been sit­ting in their back-room since 1966: Yard­birds, An­i­mals, Kinks, Byrds, etc., every­thing but Bea­tles and Stones, which were long gone).

That evening, I went to the con­cert and saw the up-and-coming su­per­star: he was good. In fact, he was a hel­lu­valot better than his first couple of al­bums let on!

But he wasn’t that good.

I gabbed with other people at the show, and everyone that had seen him be­fore agreed that he was off a little that night.

During a lengthy in­stru­mental break where the band showed off its chops, I went to the head and found my­self standing in the urinal next to the star of the show.

There was no one else in the room.

Wanting to be cool, I looked straight ahead. 2

But I’m a friendly guy so I just bobbed my head at the wall and I said, Hey, boss. 3

And he stops, shakes, steps back, and says, “You talkin’ to me?”

He does a Travis Bickle on me and all I can say is, Huh? 4

“You talkin’ to me?”

He does it again and this time I stammer out, Nuh-no, man! 

What did you just call me?”

Boss. I called you boss. Don’t take it per­sonal, man—it doesn’t mean anything!

And he said, “No, man. I like it!”

Now he’s Mr Nice Guy and all I can say again is, Huh?

“I re­ally like it,” and he gives me one of those little punches in the bicep. “Thanks, man. Thanks a lot.”

And he smiled a big old smile, nodded, and saun­tered back out to the stage and gave one hel­luva show the rest of the set and he in­tro­duced some new songs from his next album and blew everyone away with a blis­tering ver­sion of a song called Born To Run that segued into Thunder Road and he proved it all night that he was the boss!



This photo was cropped from the bootleg KUTZTOWN SERENADE, recorded live on July 25, 1975. I am as­suming this is a photo from that show.



1   About using the word cute here: I don’t re­member bandying the word hot around when de­scribing girls back then like every guy in the world seems to do today. I mean, there were hot chicks, but I re­member saving the word for REALLY hot chicks!

2   As all men are sup­posed to do in men’s rooms.

3   As all straight men know never to do in men’s rooms.

4   If you have to look it up, look it up. Then see the movie . . .


FEATURED IMAGE: Old Main, Kutz­town Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­vania (KU).


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