Charmer’s Take on Only the Good Die Young

I admit that this was the first song that I thought to write about with this prompt. And then I tried to think of another because it was one of my first anthems and I figured that I must have moved past that by now. And started spinning and asked Snake what song told about me and guess what he said? Yup.

When we first met and even before that, I was seen as the good girl. Part of that was realistically growing up as the younger sibling of an alcoholic and I felt like I had to not make my parents worry because they had more than enough on their plate with my older brother. So, good grades and not causing a fuss.

The thing is? While everyone else wanted to be Sandy from Grease, I knew that I wanted to be Rizzo. She was strong and loud and sensitive and bad ass. I loved her.

Betty Rizzo

I was never fluffy and pink like Sandy. I was sarcastic and flirty and Rizzo. I was in speech and debate and drama and was part of a great fun group who I still see.

I also was valedictorian. Guess which of the two personas everyone in high school saw. I was a “brain,” so I didn’t do any of the normal high school things. Or so most of the class thought.

My best friend was also a good girl. She was in student council, had great grades, worked in a political office and had a job doing recreation with kids. She was also my cohort in crime on Friday nights. We went to parties in the wash and drank and loudly played music. And guess what our favorite song was?

At this point, Snake entered the picture. If I was good, he was pristine. And looking for me although he didn’t know it at the time. We started out as friends and that quickly escalated. And he loved the bad ass that I was–in retrospect, I probably was a lot less of one than I thought I was at the time, but maybe that’s the case with a lot of us.

Although there was the incident on senior trip when I was dared to take a swig of Southern Comfort–ewww, for the record–and I shocked the poor boy who was surprised that the valedictorian could drink and hold her liquor….

So, why is it still my song? Back then, I thought partying and sex and rebelling was what the song was about. And while I still enjoy the wine and sex and will always be a rebel, there is more to it than that.

Sitting in that box of shoulds is limiting. Being what other people tell you is the right way to live is limiting. Staying in that comfort zone is limiting. Comparing what is “good” for someone else to what is good for you is limiting.

So, for me, the song reminds me to step out of that box and explore. Some things work. Some things fail. Some things sound like a lot more fun than they really end up being. But each of those experiences opens up a new part of the world.

The stained-glass curtain you’re hiding behind
Never lets in the sun

Bottom line? Snake was right. It really still is one of my favorite songs and I still love to rock it out loud. And it reminds me to live.

6 thoughts on “Charmer’s Take on Only the Good Die Young”

  1. Always a fan of Billy Joel! I loved the peak into your “Rizzo” years and how you tied it into the song. It’s a great anthem and reminder that we only live once.

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