Monday, February 12, 2007

"Highway Patrolman"

Just for the heck of it, I'll fisk this song from Gerald Augustinus.

Highway Patrolman - Bruce Springsteen

My name is Joe Roberts I work for the state
I'm a sergeant out of Perrineville barracks number 8
I always done an honest job as honest as I could

Now that's comforting, officer.

I got a brother named Franky and Franky ain't no good

Now ever since we was young kids it's been the same come down
I get a call over the radio Franky's in trouble downtown
Well if it was any other man, I'd put him straight away
But when it's your brother sometimes you look the other way

Aristocratic corruption in a nutshell. Except the patrolman doesn't have 10,000 acres and 43, 000 people to deal with. And the aristocrat usually gets something out of ignoring his brother (who has the best army this side of the Rhine) when he pillages or destroys things.

Me and Franky laughin' and drinkin' nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin' like any brother would
Man turns his back on his family well he just ain't no good

What with my 11 siblings and all, staying out of law enforcement might be a good idea for me.

Well Franky went in the army back in 1965
I got a farm deferment, settled down, took Maria for my wife
But them wheat prices kept on droppin' till it was like we were gettin' robbed
Franky came home in '68, and me, I took this job

Yea we're laughin' and drinkin' nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin', teach him how to walk that line
Man turns his back on his family he ain't no friend of mine

Well the night was like any other, I got a call 'bout quarter to nine
There was trouble in a roadhouse out on the Michigan line

I presume he's referring to the Michigan-Ohio border.

There was a kid lyin' on the floor lookin' bad bleedin' hard from his head
there was a girl cryin' at a table and it was Frank, they said

"Well, Sergeant, just because you've never arrested your brother despite having been sent for him 23 times doesn't mean you can't go 'arrest' him this time..."

Well I went out and I jumped in my car and I hit the lights
Well I must of done one hundred and ten through Michigan county that night

Anyone who enforces the rules will also break the rules. God, for instance.

It was out at the crossroads, down round Willow bank
Seen a Buick with Ohio plates behind the wheel was Frank

Well, with your superturbocharged Crown Victoria chasing it, that Buick should have no chance. Right, officer? Riiiiiight?

Well I chased him through them county roads till a sign said Canadian border five miles from here
I pulled over the side of the highway and watched his taillights disappear

If I'm not mistaken, Frank, to avoid prosecution for assault and mattery, attempted manslaughter, and/or murder, has just driven out of Ohio, through Eastern Michigan, and has exited the United States south of Detroit. And only - only! - his brother was following him. What a ride.

Me and Franky laughin' and drinkin' Nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin' like any brother would
Man turns his back on his family well he just ain't no good

The moral? Blood is thicker than water, let alone badges. Personally, I would have caught my brother and whacked him hard upside the head. Still illegal, but just after a fashion.

All the same, this is the sort of music I like. Serious dealing with lowdown subjects.

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