I haven’t written anything about Tom Petty. I like his music well enough and some of his songs quite a lot. But his death struck a little too close to home, literally.
He was a North Florida boy like me. His dad thought him effeminate, called him a faggot. Like mine did to me. He fled North Florida. Just like I did. Found a better life, too.
He seemed like a good man.
When I saw his videos on TV in the 1980s, someone told me that he was from North Florida. At the time I didn’t know his story. No internet then. But I thought, Strange-looking North Florida weirdos can do ok in this world, it turns out, and that truly did help me. Then, I needed all the help I could get. You have no idea. I make light of it now, but times, as they say, was rough.
Me. Tom Petty. North Florida weirdos achieving escape velocity.