Welcome to our regular Saturday feature “What Aggravates Me”

by Comedian John Knight

We went to the Bruce Springsteen concert in Cleveland last Tuesday. It was my wife, her sister and husband and me. I know he played Pittsburgh in January, but I had a booking that night and couldn’t make it. On this tour he’s doing his classic album, “The River,” each night.

On the way to the show we stop for dinner and a few drinks. The place is packed with people going to the concert. The first thing I notice is everyone is around our age. Many of them, like me, probably saw the original “River” tour. Back when tickets cost less than a beer at the arena does now.

The years have not been kind to a lot of these people. Maybe I’ve just been blessed with good genetics. It could also be getting ten hours of sleep a night and only working an hour a day. All I know, is nobody was looking at me and asking,

“What the hell happened to him?”

At least I hope they weren’t.

Once inside the arena, we head up to our seats in row 29. Back in the day we were, “Born to Run,” but now our knees are creaking as we make our way up the steps. A lot of the people have a different way of medicating themselves for concerts now than they did back then.

We have seats 13 through 16 in a row with 25 seats. That means any time we need to get out, we’ll have to squeeze by ten people on either side.

Since I had a couple of beers with dinner, I decide I should visit the rest room before sitting down. The men’s room is packed full of guys with enlarged prostates, waiting to empty their bladders before a three and a half hour show. I wait in line for my turn. A guy in glasses with a big smile on his face moves into the urinal next to mine.

About fifteen minutes later and twenty minutes before show time, I realize I hadn’t gotten rid of all of the beer. I squeeze past the ten people to my right and head back for the men’s room. The guy in the glasses is still standing at the same urinal. The smile is gone from his face and replaced with a look of anguish. He’s waiting for something to happen. I heard of this happening to men as they get older, something else to look forward to. I feel bad when I leave. I mean, I’ve already gone twice and he’s losing faith.

When the lights go out and the band comes out we are all transformed back in time. Of course the strange smell that used to permeate the arena as soon as the lights went down is noticeably absent. Also cell phones are used for illumination instead of lighters. Speaking of which, the couple next to us spent the whole concert texting and doing Facebook instead of watching the show. Yeah, it would be a shame if while you were wasting your time watching one of the great all time bands rock the house, you missed one of your friends sharing one of those unfunny cat photos.

It was three songs in when Bruce made the mistake and said “Pittsburgh” instead of “Cleveland.” I’ve been going to Cleveland for years and watched it transform itself from an ugly hell hole into an almost tolerable place. Like Pittsburgh, they now have a lot of great restaurants and night life. Both towns have new modern stadiums and arenas. In fact there is a lot in common.

Both cities are known for their blue collar history. Both have professional baseball teams. Where Pittsburgh has a professional hockey team, Cleveland has basketball. The biggest difference is Pittsburgh has a professional football team.

It shouldn’t have been such a big deal when Springsteen mistook them for Pittsburgh. In fact they should have been saying,

“Hey, we must be doing something right.”

Instead they took it as an insult. I guess some people don’t know how to take a complement.

Let me just say it was a great night and fantastic concert. It was probably better for me because I wasn’t one of the people who had their feelings hurt. I just hope that guy in the men’s room was finally able to pee.

Follow John on Twitter @jknight841

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