Being America’s cool uncle isn’t easy. You’ve got roughly 320 million people wistfully looking at you, thinking, “God, if only mom and dad could loosen up a bit, this place wouldn’t be such a damn mess,” and then texting to ask if you can pick them up this weekend to go see a movie. Meanwhile, you’ve got much better plans, because you’re Bruce goddamn Springsteen, and that’s life now—an endless parade of pretty much whatever the hell you want. (Frankly, it’s weird that the Republican candidate for president didn’t just crumple inward by instantaneous folds in the space-time continuum after the Boss proclaimed him to be “a moron.”)
But sometimes, it’s the little things that count, and The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the Boss pulled a classic old-school cool uncle move yesterday, by signing a kid’s absence note. Appearing at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Thursday to promote his new autobiography Born To Run, Springsteen was greeted by a fifth-grader whose father had thought to bring along a note explaining why his son was missing school. Springsteen took the note, saying, “I have to read it first, that’s how I got in trouble with my first contract,” which is really funny if you’re a superfan like The A.V. Club, and a total dad joke if you’re not. But he signed it, handed it back, and the father astutely passed along a photocopy of it to the principal, because even dads know a cool uncle’s autograph isn’t just something you hand over. Now, if we could only get Springsteen to sign a note excusing everyone’s behavior on Twitter for the past decade, we’ll be all set.