Orchard Park, NY—This week Bob Dylan turned eighty years old and Carl Lexington (76) of Orchard Park, a retired Raytheon engineer has finally come to terms with the poet laureate of American song going electric at the Newport Folk Festival in July of 1965.
Lexington attended the fateful concert with his girlfriend Peggy-Sue McGullicutty. At the time, both he and McGullicutty were twenty-year old Anthropology students at the University of Buffalo and were inspired by Dylan’s early folk recordings. And, according to Lexington they had big plans to change the world together.
“Peggy Sue and I had our heads in the clouds,” Lexington said. “Both JFK and Dylan did a number on us. But, of course, JFK got shot and Dylan came out at Newport and did that jarring electric thing with the Butterfield Blues Band. We felt betrayed, heartbroken and angry. While trying to process electric Dylan we came across these guys who turned out to be early Deadheads, and dropped acid with them. Well, Peggy Sue, took a liking to the guy with all the tabs and dumped me on the spot. I can still see her with purple skin and covered in bugs telling me to beat it. I maybe should have been alarmed that you know, she was all purple and covered with bugs, but the only thing that really stood out was that she was dumping me. I was crushed.”
Lexington went on to explain after that night nothing seemed to matter. Peggy Sue was gone and so were their plans to join the Peace Corps after college. Dylan put down his acoustic guitar and disavowed his demigod status. So Lexington took a dark turn and became an engineer at Raytheon. He worked on the navigational systems for the B52 bombers that dropped 7.5 million tons of ordinance on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. And with each blood stained paycheck he cashed, through Grenada, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again, he thought about goddamn Bob Dylan and his fucking electric Stratocaster.
“Don’t get me wrong, I had a nice life—a loving wife, good kids and grandkids. And I was a defense contractor in America, so I made a ton of scratch and I do mean a ton. But, I was in love with Peggy Sue and we had a plan for our lives, till the fucking jester had to evolve as an artist, totally blowing up my life in the process. I’m not proud of this, but I was kind of happy when he had his motorcycle accident and when his wife Sara dumped him in the 70’s and his ebbing relevance after that.”
Lexington continued by saying with time comes perspective and an appreciation of little things like not dribbling all over the floor when he occasionally tries to stand up and pee and getting a little rise in his pants watching old Ali MacGraw movies.
He also mentioned that he caught up with Peggy Sue through Facebook after not seeing or hearing from her for decades and she told him that he totally misread their relationship. She was never going to join the Peace Corps and there really never was anything between them. In fact, she said he was just a guy in some of her classes who had a car. She ended the brief exchange by saying, “The self-importance of you white guys—astonishing. Get over yourself.”
Given this information Lexington thought it was a time to finally let go of his anger at Dylan and forgive him.