A rose by any other name


I was in Walmart with Nick the other day and I picked up two Bruce Springsteen CDs for twelve bucks. Greetings from Asbury Park had always been one of my favorites; it’s grittier and dirtier than a lot of his new joints and I remember driving and crying to that album in the 70s.

I’d never really heard of the other CD, The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle, but I do remember one of its iconic songs, Rosalita, which has since become my nickname.

I hadn’t listened to that one, again, since I was driving and crying in the 70s, but I realize now that Rosalita was — not to put too fine a point on it — a bit of a slut.

As were many of the other Rosies, immortalized in song.

No one was more shocked than me when it was revealed that the “Rosie” in the Jackson Browne song wasn’t a girl at all, but a hand-job.

Rosie, you’re alright/you wear my ring/when I hold you tight, Rosie that’s my thing/when I turn out the lights, I gotta hand it to me.

Really?

I was crushed when someone told me that. I thought Rosie was the groupie with a heart of gold.

Nope, talk to the hand.

Another great Rosie song was Cracklin’ Rosie, the Neil Diamond classic that was about riding the rails. I loved that song. How romantic. Then I was told the Rosie referred to was, in fact, a bottle of hooch.

My real name is Rosalie and there have been a couple of tunes written about that girl. She was a ballerina once as well as Nelson Eddy’s main squeeze — no, that’s not right, that was Rosemarie.

There was the Yellow Rose of Texas, My Sweet Irish Rose, Rose of Washington Square, Rosie, You Are My Posey — the old boys at the Press Club used to sing those songs to me when they were drunk and smelly.

Not to mention Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes…that, too, I believe, is a dirty song.

I’ve never really liked my name. I am a person — believe it or not — who likes not to be noticed. I like to blend into the background. So when a drunk starts singing to me in the middle of a bar, I get antsy.

I want to be Joan.

I bet nobody ever wrote a song about Joan.

Or Esther or Pia.

Pia, not Chia.

If I could have been a song, I would have liked to be Suzanne, feeding Lenny tea and oranges that came all the way from China. Suzanne was a classy dame.

I’m sure as hell glad I wasn’t Barberanne. Or Billy Jean.

Mandy might have been alright.

Anyway, I’ve gotten used to all the attention. I kind of like it now.

I am a song in someone’s heart, a flower, even a masturbation device.

Nothing if not versatile.

And definitely unforgettable.

I like that.

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