It was like any other evening in New Jersey, the light from the street lamps shone brightly off orange spray tans, who had sprung from cages on highway 9. My parents were driving their Toyota Carola from Newark to Trenton with two six-foot party subs that would be their sustenance for the week. Back then, that’s just how everyone ate food. There were party subs with whole chickens, with papayas, and even with just rice pudding; no food existed outside of a sandwich.

As they pulled into the driveway, immediately off the parkway, like the exit was their driveway, a restless feeling fell over them. Both of them knew they had early mornings in the factory, just working towards the American dream, but there was something special about that night.

After they unpacked the turkey, guacamole, pineapple, pork shoulder, and mayonnaise sandwich, they both went to separate sides of the house to smoke and stare out the windows. As they heard truckers giving the good ol’ Jersey hello to anyone on the highway going less than 90, something was just ignited in them. And as everyone knows, you can’t start a fire without a spark, it’s just physically impossible. But the feeling that night was enough for them to start dancing in the dark.

It started up passionately, all the “oohs” and “ahhs” and “ayyyy I’m walkin’ here” could be heard audibly. But little did they know that they were in Bruce’s mating grounds. His territory extends from Branchville to Cape May, which is the entire state of NJ, where he hunts, he feeds on the beaded sweat of people too cheap to rent an umbrella at the shore and on the leftovers from every Italian street festival. He never goes hungry.

But that evening, he heard my mother say the very words that summon him, “I love the way you ripped your sleeves off your shirt,” and he was there in an instant, running on all fours up the interstate, never signaling to change lanes. He knew there was going to be a baby made that night, and by natural law, any baby born in the state of New Jersey must be a direct descendant of the Boss himself. So like any NJ gas station, he was there as the attendant, ready to pump gas for you while you watched from the car.

My mother remembers him as charming, like a stranger in the night he knocked on the door, saying:

“Hey, little girl, is your daddy home?
Did he go and leave you all alone?
I got a bad desire
Oh-oh-oh I’m on fire”

And that was it. He left a single lock of Bon Jovi’s hair, and was gone into the night. One moment there, helping to consummate me, the next gone, like the reputation of Atlantic City. I’ve never met him, but he will always hold such a special place in my heart. I’ll always know that Bruce Springsteen, the immortal sex god, will be prowling the highways, doing his duty to fertilize the garden state.

New Jersey is a special place. Everyone here is family, quite literally. We share a special bond as offspring of the greatest rock star in American history. So next time you say something mean about New Jersey, remember you’re saying that about the Boss and his children. So if you want to make fun of our state, you better be born to run, because Bruce is ready.

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