Where is your boy tonight?
I hope he is a gentleman.
Maybe he won’t find out what I know
You were the last good thing about this part of town

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve sung that verse, I’d be a… thousandaire. Look, I wanted to say millionaire, but honestly, there are only so many times I could conceivably have listened to this song in my life.

Let’s assume it’s just 1,000 times, even though in my mind I’ve sung it far more than that. At a little over 3 minutes in length, listening to this song that many times is about 50 hours.

Can you imagine listening to 50 hours of Fall Out Boy, let alone just one of their songs?

I can.

When Fall Out Boy’s first big album, “Take This To Your Grave,” came out in 2003, I was in the midst of a whirlwind of change. High school was over, I was driving the legendary hand-me-down white Nissan Quest minivan, and I was enjoying the small amount of freedom I had by going out to eat with my friends.

Inevitably, my parents quickly tired of giving me spending money, so my mom helped get me a job at Rafu Bussan — an old-fashioned Japanese imports store in Little Tokyo. It’s no longer in that location, but it was in a big, department store-style storefront on Second Street, with a bright orange sign and automatic sliding doors.

They liked to hire college-aged kids to dust, clean, fetch merchandise from storage, and occasionally work the cash registers. One of my coworkers was a comely young woman named Annie (apologies if you read this!). She was a little older and was doing post-bac work in preparation for pharmacy school, she was funny and clever as all hell, and she was even more into this emo music than I was!

We’d have good conversations over the few lunch breaks we were allowed to take at the same time — our bosses were very old fashioned and wanted to discourage people enjoying their lunch breaks — and in passing during the workday. I was smitten, to say the least.

It just so happened that she had a neglectful boyfriend who came up in conversation every now and then. Naturally, that meant that “Grand Theft Autumn” became my anthem for the year I worked there. She had a boyfriend, I was jealous every Saturday or Sunday we worked together, and that was that.

My post-high school love life basically followed this pattern — become good friends with the object of my affection, hang out just the two of us on different occasions, do nothing. I was almost always too afraid to admit my feelings. Rejection was a very scary prospect, both because we worked together and because I didn’t want to lose the friendship.

You need him, I could be him.
I could be an accident but I’m still trying
And that’s more than I can say for him

The “trying” part — yeah, I was missing that back then. It wasn’t until like a year later that I finally admitted my feelings to her? And even then, I handled it embarrassingly poorly and was let down gently. I obviously didn’t feel that way at the time, but I needed that to see that there’s a time for everything, and I had let that time pass long before.

I clearly needed to take my cues from ancient wisdom.

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