My dad tells me he beat this guy up at a party because he’d never heard of Bob Dylan. That’s how strong his love was. He tells me love is always enough of a reason. It was 1966, the year before I was born, and my dad was a radical civil rights activist living in Nashville, Tennessee. There is a picture of him and my mother from that year, each holding acoustic guitars, smiling big smiles and gazing into each other’s eyes. Playing Dylan songs, I’d guess. Did either of them think: I might hate you in five years?
The details of the beating-up incident are fuzzy. I wonder, what was his poison back then. And what is it now?
The thing I can’t figure out is why I love this story so much, why it makes me happy. Why I can relate to it unquestioningly. It’s not like I go around hitting people. I’ve never hit anyone.
The last time I went to a party, everybody there except me was an evangelical Christian. There were guitars, but no violence.
I work with this Welsh philosophy student. He told me he hates Bob Dylan. Thinks he’s overrated. Listen, I said, my dad once punched a guy for not knowing Bob Dylan. If there’s a gene for that, I’ve got it. So look out.