Ripercorrendo la sua vita e raccontandoci del rapporto complesso con suo padre, la scrittrice e conduttrice radiofonica statunitense Katie Klabusich riflette su Catapult sul sogno americano, aspirazione che secondo la stessa Klabusich si tradurrebbe in realtà solo per pochissime persone — per altro spesso provenienti da famiglie abbienti — e che quindi per la maggior parte dei cittadini degli Stati Uniti non sarebbe altro che un mito irraggiungibile.
“All I knew was that if my Pops could work hard and pull himself up out of poverty, I could, too.”
“You don’t get something for nothing” and “Nobody owes you anything” were lessons I learned from my father. When I was little, he used to sing me to sleep—or try, anyway. Completely tone-deaf, well into my teenage years he would get a twinkle in his eye and threaten to sing as we were driving with the windows down, knowing I’d be mortified if someone from school pulled up next to us. If he was actually trying to sing, he stuck to songs he could “speak-sing,” like the most awkward slam poetry imaginable. One of my earliest memories is of asking him to sing “Sixteen Tons,” a song made famous when Tennessee Ernie Ford’s 1955 version reached number one. It’s about a coal miner, and the chorus laments:
You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store
Not exactly “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” When I asked my dad what the company store was and why anyone would owe it their soul, he looked at me, his four-year-old daughter, clucked his tongue, and said, “Well, Kate, work sucks. And you have to do it even though you’d rather be doing anything else. So it’s like giving your soul to it.” I often asked for the “busted flat” song, too. When he got to my favorite part, I’d sit up and sing with him:
Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free, no no
And, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know, feelin’ good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGhee
Immagien da pxhere.