Single and album, No. 2 in a series: (1972) “Backstabbers,” The O’Jays / “Talking Book,” Stevie Wonder For someone slightly paranoiac like me? A theme song (that is, if I’d been old enough to listen, recognize it, avail myself of its dramatic sweep and claim its resonances as my own), as well as an album with the one early-Seventies song fit to embody my feelings — “Superstition.” A single that told you how it was: trust no one when you love someone. It wasn’t just one person you had to watch out for. “Their blades are long, clutched tight in their fists/Aiming straight at your back/And I don’t think they’ll miss.” A Caesarian fall, behind some fellows you knew who dug your old lady, too. This was AM-radio opera in a language I could understand, from the rumbling left-handed cross of a piano crescendo to the horns calling out the last drops of drama in the fadeout’s final seconds.
And when hasn’t there been a time when I believed in things I didn’t understand? Superstition has been the way. That’s been my life: thumbing through a crumbling, fragile-spined marigold covered paperback with orange lettering on the outside and numerological wisdom contained within; cutting circles out of the center of pie plates for the perfect circles they yielded so I could draw makeshift solar birth charts with Magic Markers; spending months one school year drawing pictures of planets and flying saucers and men in epauleted uniforms freely reconstructed from episodes of a long-forgotten TV show, “Project U.F.O.”