It was an iconic moment for me.
I was sitting in our locker room, having just returned from wearing one of the Washington Nationals Racing Presidents costumes at the center field plaza, welcoming in fans as they attended that night’s game.
One of the other staff members sitting near me started laughing.
“Oh, you won’t like it,” he responded.
I shrugged. He showed me the video anyway.
It was the video of President Trump walking by Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist, while giving her the side-eye and a smirk.
My coworker loved it. I did not.
“She’s just a kid, man.”
Several months later, Trump tweeted that she needed to work on her “anger management” and directing her to “chill.” The tweet came in response to Thunberg being named Time Magazine’s person of the year for 2019.
That moment pushed me over the edge.
She’s just a kid, I thought again. How could he say those things? She wasn’t a politician…or even an adult. She was a 16-year-old child with Asperger’s Syndrome.
And so, my own anger formed into a new song called Just in Time.
When I was developing the song, I found inspiration in two of my favorite punk songs, Too Close to See by Strung Out and Bullion by Millencolin. The former had a lyrical structure and tone that resonated with me and I absolutely loved the closing guitar riff of the latter. When I put both together, I had something I was really proud of.
And that’s how it happened.
The song starts off with a slow drum beat and the first set of calm lyrics:
She comes to haunt you to stand up with the truth that the world is up on fire
She stands there waiting, you walk on by taking your pompous strides, so dire
And the chorus grows a bit of intensity:
She’s just a kid, man! What the hell is wrong with you?
She’s just a kid, man! How could you say those things?
She’s just a kid, man! You know her presence stings…
I wanted to continue the ending lyrics from the first chorus, so I go right back into them with this:
…you right where it hurts most, prevents you from the boast that you’re not worth the bother
Lucky for Greta, more adult than you are, and now she’s on the cover
Then back to the chorus, with the last line changed to this:
She’s just a kid, man! You know her presence rings…
Here, the song shifts to the chord progression I mentioned above with a drum roll that eventually explodes in sync with a cymbal crash, hard guitars and vocals that resonate:
Around the world!
As the guitar riff is being played, the vocals fade and end, and I added two harmonizing guitar riffs of four single notes that complement each other quite well. I don’t know much music theory, but I try to use the knowledge I do have to get riffs like this. And I will say that it’s my favorite few seconds on the entire album.
At the end of the song, I end with the lyrics:
Greta’s just in time
Of course, referring to her feature in Time Magazine.
Looking back, although this song is slower (in general) than the other songs on the album, it might be my favorite. It means a lot to me because it’s so touching to me.
Now that I am a parent of a daughter, I can’t imagine anyone, let alone a septuagenarian leader of a democratic country, talking about my daughter like that.
Like I said in the lyrics: She’s just a kid, man. What the hell is wrong with you?