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It Was Nine O’Clock On A Saturday

Some people will mark the Sandy anniversary next week, I’ll mark the time a buddy and I got kicked out of a Billy Joel concert.

There should be a word for getting busted on something that’s a lot less egregious than a previous offence. Something a little less than Caponed. 

As you know, Al Capone was a bootlegger who killed people, had people killed, and was Public Enemy Number One. They got him on tax evasion. He got Caponed. I believe my legal eagle friends call that justice by proxy. Everybody knew he was guilty of vicious crimes so getting him one way or the other seemed reasonable. Few could argue, he got what he deserved.

In most cases, not everyone knows your crimes or transgressions. Say you were speeding on the Belt, doing 80. You get off on Flatbush Avenue and you get a speeding ticket doing 46. Part of you is pissed, part of you—should know— you got lucky. So, what is that? Justice by karma?

It’s like the Billy Joel concert. Basically, we were doing 46 miles an hour. We weren’t head banging at CBGBs or acting like this was ten-cent beer night in Cleveland. We were just kind of dancing around, trying to get the crowd around us to feel the vodka vibe like we were. We weren’t killing people, we were just evading taxes.

This was Oakland, California in the late ‘70s. Which was a pretty hardcore place. But the problem was, the crowd that night was one you’d expect at The Carpenters or Cowsills. No one was pushing you into a mosh pit or stabbing you with a hypodermic needle for laughs. You did run the risk of getting harshly shushed by parents with kids.

When Mr. Joel sang it was 9 o’clock on a Saturday, we did the pogo, while the rest of the crowd rocked back and forth like it was a campfire song.

Security arrived.

They told us they were moving us closer to a section where we wouldn’t bother people and we’d be with others having the same kind of fun. I believed them. And then I couldn’t believe it when they showed us through a door and we found ourselves, alone, in the parking lot.

Like Al Capone, we got what we deserved. We’d gotten away with so many other things during our wayward youth, so it was time for some divine justice, which, all things considered was a pretty light sentence. Although it didn’t end with us being bounced. Unlike Al Capone we didn’t get syphilis, but we did fall asleep on a subway car and ended up in an Oakland railyard. Who knew subways didn’t run all night long? Not us.

I got in touch with my buddy to remind him of the anniversary and right off he was stunned. He apparently had more vodka than me that night. Billy Joel? I thought we got kicked out of Simon and Garfunkel.

By Kevin Boyle 

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