The Follies of Youth

Eons ago, when dinosaurs ruled the land, my college boyfriend and I got to see Bruce Springsteen live during his 1984 Born in the USA tour. Having been baptized several years earlier into the Church of the Boss, we had a grand time. We could only afford the cheapest seats (because…college students), which were behind the stage. But we didn’t care because there was the Boss and the Big Man and the rest of the E Street Band pouring all their sweat, blood, and love into every song.

That same year, on that same tour, Billboard Magazine columnist Mitch Myers also saw Springsteen perform. However, he had much better seats than we did, as he revealed in his most recent column. Of course the *reason* he had those awesome seats was based on a lie. Which, apparently, he took more than 30 years to reveal.

Now I am pretty sure some of you will say that well, he was young and foolish, and didn’t know better. This seems to be the case, based on his accounting. But there are two problems with this.

First, and most obvious, when he felt (rightfully) ashamed of what he had done, he left the show. Had that been the end of it, I likely would have just shaken my head at his story and moved on. However, that’s not what happened. Instead, he and his buddy decided to return to the show *using the very same tickets meant for disabled people* and proceeded to jump around with glee to the music. Not much shame there, if a mere 15 or so minutes later, he was back inside the arena using the tickets that were meant to go to the people at the rehab facility.

Second, when I was 19, I did not identify as disabled. I thought nothing of climbing up to almost the last row of seats for that Springsteen concert. I was young and relatively healthy, so it was not a burden for me to do so. Nevertheless, it would never have occurred to me to even consider pulling off a stunt like that of Myers. Handicapped/disabled seating was for people who were…well…disabled. In other words, people not me.

Frankly, Myers can blame it on youth, peer pressure, or the follies of youth.The truth is that, despite what he might think, he really had *no idea* what it was like to be in a wheelchair. At the end of the evening, he could get out of that chair, fold it up, put it in the back of the van, and go on with his life as an able-bodied individual. There was no lesson learned.

Instead, Myers has a story to share in his magazine column, rather than a story shared by one of the rehab patients about the magical night they got to see the Boss play, up close and personal. And no amount of confession 30 years later will make up for that.

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