Tom Waits

I saw Tom Waits on the TV when I was seventeen and at some exchange student function in Sweden, hanging out with American and Canadian teens. Tom Waits came on Letterman and played, and I said, "Hey, it's Tom Waits! That makes me so homesick. He lives in my town." And they all looked at Tom Waits and then at me and then at Tom Waits and on the Teen Popularity Cool Scale, I dipped from 4 to 2 (10 being best). Up until then, I had been unpopular for being from San Francisco (because, really, only people from San Francisco really love San Francisco). Now one of them said what everyone was thinking, "He looks like hell. Who goes on TV looking like that?" What could I say? That's what everyone looked like in Sebastopol. Now they all look equally weird but in a different way, and I still like Tom Waits.

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