It’s been 38 years since John Mellencamp wrote the lyrics that sent Jack and Diane to superstardom. Back then, they were just two American kids growing up in the heartland. A lot has changed for this couple after nearly four decades of life together. I recently sat down with these fictional characters to talk about life, love, and what the future holds for them.
Tell me about those early days of young love. What was it like growing up in the heartland?
Jack: Well, back then we didn’t have a care in the world. We’d spend all of our days suckin’ on chili dogs outside the Tastee Freez. That may have contributed to my heart disease and Diane’s diabetes.
Diane: I’d be sitting on Jacky’s lap back then, while his hands were between my knees. He’d be begging me to run off with him behind the shady tree, maybe dribble off my Bobby Brooks and let him do whatever he pleased.
Did you let him do as he pleased?
Diane (laughing): Well, how in the hell do you think we ended up with seven kids?
Jack: Yeah. In retrospect, condoms would’ve been a good idea. They’re good kids though. Well, most of ‘em.
What exactly are Bobby Brooks and why do they need to be dribbled off?
Diane: Bobby Brooks were a tight brand of jeans girls wore back in the 1980’s. Jack was always trying to get them off of me. It worked every time, too.
Tell me how that fame affected you.
Jack (scratching his head and doing his best James Dean): Honestly, it all happened so fast. We thought the fame would last forever but eventually Mellencamp wrote more hits about other people and places and our light faded.
Diane (laughing): After a few years, we didn’t even have enough money to purchase one of those pink houses John was singing about! But it’s okay. We’re happy.
Jack, you were supposed to be a famous football star, right?
Jack: Well, after I tore up my knee in the state championship, I ran off to the city for a job as a Wal-Mart greeter. When Diane was interested in getting a job to help supplement our income I told her she wasn’t missing a thing.
Diane: I got a job anyway. We couldn’t sit around and let the bible belt save our souls anymore. We had mouths to feed.
You’ve been gainfully employed at the local laundromat ever since, right Diane?
Diane: Yes, that’s right.
What advice would you give to young lovers these days?
Diane: Well, I’d tell them to hold onto sixteen for as long as they can.
Jack: Damn right! Those changes, they come around real soon and make us women and men.
Diane: Also, make sure to use birth control. Raising seven kids wasn’t easy in our day and it can’t be easy these days either.
What’s next for you two?
Jack: Well, we’re in quarantine because of this damn Coronavirus. We’re nearly seventy years old and we’ve both got some health issues. Life really does go on long after the thrill of living is gone.
Diane (laughing): You’ll have to pardon Jack. He can be a little overdramatic. We’re still just two American elders doing the best that we can.
Jack: John should write a damn followup song about us!
Josh Lorenzo is a part-time humor writer, featured in various places, such as McSweeney’s and the Washington Post. He writes a regular satirical column, Don’t Feed the Animals at Political Animal Magazine. You can reach him on Twitter at @theathrofsrcsm, where he has at least 11 followers.