Johnny Zero

By Zachary Harmon Talon Co-Editor

I usually listen to the same 5 stations on Satellite Radio in the car. The other day, I was tired of the same ten songs they seem to play on their “Hits one,” or today’s hits, so I threw a new station in the line-up.

40s on 4, playing the sounds of the 1940s.

It’s interesting, seeing how culturally things have changed, all the while the messages of the songs may have become more risqué now a days, some songs from the 40s would be deemed unacceptable now.

This song, “Johnny Zero” especially surprised me, and made me feel agrivated because I couldn’t quite interpret it at first. It has that mocking tone to it that you would hear on the playground, and at first I thought it was actually promoting bullying.

The song is about this kid named Johnny, who keeps getting zeros on his tests, (probably a sore subject, this coming out a week after finals) and all the kids on the playground are making fun of him saying “Johnny got a zero, Johnny got a zero.”

My first was “Wow thank goodness we aren’t in the 40s, we can only get a 50 nowadays.” In hindsight it’s sad that that was the first thing that came to mind. My second thought was “dang those kids are jerks.”

But it was the way that Johnny handled his bullies that inspired me to write this story.

Brief pause for a history lesson.

What major world event happened in the 1940s? More specifically, for the United States, what happened after December 7, 1941?

World War Two.

In the Pacific the Americans were fighting Japanese, and a large chunk happened in air to air combat. The Americans were fighting in their buffaloes and wildcats while the Japanese were in their Val’s, Betty’s and their lightweight maneuverable aircraft… The Zero.

Back in my car, Johnny Zero on the radio, I’m still slightly aggravated.

“Now we still call him Johnny Zero.” At this point I’m thinking that the 40s were a light rougher than I thought.

But wait! The song goes on to explain that he was an ace fighter pilot now, and goes by the call sign “Johnny Zero.”

That’s actually really cool, eh? Some brief research showed that this was a real guy. But the awesome part of the story was that he was a gunner, and before they even showed him how to use the equipment, he shot down two zeros. He flew a bunch of missions over the Pacific, and once they surrendered, he re-enlisted to go to Europe, but then the war ended.

So what’s the moral of the story? Hang in there and don’t let the haters define you. Maybe school isn’t your thing. That doesn’t mean you are a failure at life. Maybe you can go be an American hero, or major contributor to society. Just because God hasn’t given you a 4.0, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve greatness.