Roy Orbison

“This is making me tense.”

It’s the most feared phrase in any shared listening environment.

It strikes when you least expect it, when Luciano Pavarotti is singing “Nessun Dorma,” or when James Taylor is rocking “Sweet Baby James.” You never know. Certain things just hit people the wrong way.

I’m writing to you from my family’s beach week, which was the setting for the Great Orbison Showdown. There is some debate over the peripheral details, like how long ago it took place, where on the Outer Banks the rental house was located that year, and exactly how many times Roy Orbison’s Black and White Night concert DVD was played, but the words themselves are etched into my memory like footsteps on the moon:

“This is making me tense.” 

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