I was riding a crowed B61 bus to Atlantic Avenue, smooshed up against a couple tweens who were talking excitedly about their crowded, unbelievable lives. One girl mentioned a friend of hers was teaching her guitar.
"He taught me 'Smoke on the Water.' It goes DA-da-da-da, Da Da Da Da-DAAA-Da."
I smiled to myself, recognizing the opening riff to Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love." I debated momentarily whether I should butt in with my middle-aged, pop-music knowledge and correct the girl, or remain silent and retain a shred of adult dignity. Before I could decide, however, the second girl piped up.
"That's 'Sunshine of Your Love," she said.
"No, it's 'Smoke on the Water,'" insisted the friend. She went into the Cream riff again.
I nearly fell over. I was stunned. And impressed. Not only that two 12-year-olds had heard of "Smoke on the Water" and "Sunshine of Your Love" but that one could tell their guitar solos apart—songs that were older than their two ages combined.
"No, it's 'Sunshine of Your Love,'" repeated the second girl, not with any hostility, but certain in her information. The first girl paused, thought, and said, "Wait, yeah. Da. Da. DA. Da-Da Da-DA...," hooking into the proper Deep Purple Riff.
I couldn't have been prouder than if they were my own kids.