I enjoyed watching Billy Joel celebrating his 100th consecutive sell out at Madison Square Garden with a concert special tonight on CBS. But at the end, I couldn’t help think of Tom Smyth’s piece in which he imagines what it was like the first time Billy played “Piano Man” for the bar regulars he wrote about in the song — Paul the real estate novelist, John at the bar, Davy in the Navy, and the unnamed waitress, old man, and businessman.

OLD MAN: Hold on, are you trying to say that I requested a song without giving you the name or melody? That I just expected you to guess, like a mind reader or something? That never happened; that’s slander! And who the hell calls it a tonic and gin?

BILLY JOEL: Listen, it is very, very loosely based on my experience performing at various different piano bars. Don’t read too much into it. Anyway, this next one is called—

PAUL, A REAL ESTATE NOVELIST: So you meet a lot of real estate novelists named Paul, do you? They’re just scattered up and down Long Island, are they? Unbelievable.

BILLY JOEL: Aspects may be inspired by my time here, but that’s it. Very loosely inspired.

DAVY, U.S. NAVY: “Probably will be for life”? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

BILLY JOEL: Don’t take that personally, Davy, I just had to make a rhyme; I swear I didn’t mean anything by it.

PAUL, A REAL ESTATE NOVELIST: Oh, you mean you needed something to rhyme with your jab about me not having a wife?

DAVY, U.S. NAVY: You could’ve said “and has a really great life,” I feel like you were being needlessly harsh there. And did anybody else feel like the entire song was about how the only thing that makes our pathetic lives worth living is listening to him play the piano?

Read Smyth’s full piece here.