Born to runWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Springsteen is 62 years old but during his April 17 concert at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, he displayed the energy and athleticism of a man in his 20s.
The three-hour show often resembled a church service in its intensity and the 20,000-member audience’s call-and-response fervor. There was no intermission and Springsteen only left the stage to wander into the crowd to interact with fans, dance and carry one girl to the stage. At one point, he fell back into the standing-room-only floor area so fans could help him body surf back to the stage.
At this point in his life and career, Springsteen could be forgiven for slowing down, for focusing on studio work and easing away from the punishing rigors of touring. But he is living up to the title of the current “Wrecking Ball” tour, leading more than a dozen musicians through two-dozen songs, including such rockers as “E Street Shuffle,” “Light of Day,” an Apollo/soul music medley and an encore that pounded through five songs, including “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.”
For decades, Springsteen has set the standard for the onstage rock ‘n’ roll work ethic, and if the April 17 concert is any indication, it’s a title he won’t soon relinquish.
That famous Springsteen work ethic could serve as a lesson for at least two local people, who chose to abandon their posts and a co-worker at Westfield Franklin Park Mall on April 7.
Our family traditions for Easter include taking our 3- and 5-year-old sons to the Easter Bunny Train in Blissfield. It’s a slow, fun experience, an hour or so riding the passenger train as the Easter Bunny visits the children for pictures. But this year, dad wasn’t on top of the calendar and we missed the opportunity.
My wife and I planned to take the kids to our Lenawee County mall, but weekends melted away and we found ourselves on April 7, the day before Easter, without the annual photo opportunity. It became complicated when we learned our local mall did not host an Easter Bunny this year. It seems to me that a family shopping mall that doesn’t host the Easter Bunny has all but given up, but it’s more proof that the economy is hurting everyone.
As if anyone needs more proof.
We had business in Toledo on April 7, so we planned to swing by Westfield at the end of the day to take the boys to see the Easter Bunny. My guess is this trip means more to my wife and me than it does to the boys, who were excited but not pressing the issue.
The bunny was scheduled to be at the Macy’s court until 9 p.m. We arrived at around 6 p.m. to see two very long lines stretching through that wing of the mall. One was for two Notre Dame football players who were signing items at a sports memorabilia store. The other contained about 30 families (not 30 people, 30 families) winding around the court where the Easter Bunny sat while one person took photos and one person processed orders.
We took our place in line, which moved slowly but steadily enough to offer the illusion of forward motion. We were about nine families from our turn when the bunny stood up and walked to one of the people working. They quickly conferred and then hurried toward an employee exit by the sports memorabilia store. By this time it was close to 7 p.m. and there were close to 50 families in line. There were some murmurs as the bunny left, but the grown-ups in my area theorized about potty breaks and how hot and uncomfortable it must be for the Easter Bunny as he took photos with kids.
But after about 15 minutes with no bunny in sight, the murmuring grew to a rumble. I approached the young woman who was taking photos and quietly asked if the bunny was OK.
“They quit and walked out,” she said.
The woman told me that the long lines had freaked out her helpers and that both of them had just quit and left. She was professional and relatively calm as she told me the mall was securing a new bunny and her sister was coming in to help. Before too much longer, the bunny reappeared, took his seat and the photo-taking process resumed.
I was angry at the defectors. Not because of any great personal affront or major inconvenience, but with the idea that two people could flee from their commitments and leave 50-plus families with young children standing in the mall on the night before the holiday.
What exactly were they stressed about? The Easter Bunny is not Santa Claus, who has to talk and listen and interact with children. The Easter Bunny sits there with his big lifeless eyes, nods his furry head, sits still for a photo, hands out a piece of chocolate and repeats the process.
How selfish and irresponsible does one have to be to quit a job that has fewer than two hours left, while hundreds of people stand waiting?
There’s no claim that their job is a laugh a minute or super-cushy, but as someone who has earned money washing dishes, shoveling dirt, stacking boxes and through just about every other minimum wage gig, it’s infuriating that two people could abandon their duties with no thought to of the consequences.
You make a commitment, you fulfill the commitment. That’s work ethic.
If the bunny bounders at Westfield have no more sense of self-respect and responsibility than they displayed April 7, they’re not fit to carry a guitar case for Springsteen, much less be trusted with the lessons of his hard-working legacy.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Email him at email@example.com.