My American Girl – Tom Petty and Gender Determination

Tom Petty has died, and frankly, I don’t know exactly why I’m crying.

For what music I knew of his, I appreciated it quite a bit.  He didn’t sound all that much like the rest of the singers of my youth, though he was still pushing out hits throughout the grunge/pop 90’s, like a hippie oasis on MTV.

Though he was ~32 years my senior, I saw his music as speaking to my generation.  We were and often are still a misguided sort, told you can be all you want to be and yet shown that frankly isn’t true.  If his words and themes didn’t convey the most current message my peers and I needed to hear, I’d say his and his band’s musical stylings portrayed the right balance between our personal dissonance and effervescence.

So it was no wonder when his song caught my ear in the fall of 2013.  I was driving to work, almost on time, and one of the catchiest tunes I’ve never previously heard got a hold of me.  “American Girl” played, I turned it up, and came to one of the most logical conclusions I’d ever devised:

“I’m going to have a daughter.” It was our first baby, and the ultrasound wasn’t for a few weeks, but something at that moment told me this kind who we waited 3.5 years for was a girl.

Was it Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers?

Was it right?

While I didn’t announce our daughter’s gender with this song (the lyrics aren’t….innocent, so “My Girl” it was), it still held a precious place in my heart and will continue to do so.


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