I got a good 20-years-delayed laugh, the first time I was with my wife and we heard this song, together.
We hadn't been going out too long, when we were somewhere and "I'm On Fire" came on.
She talked about how sexy Bruce sounded on this track. She'd always known that girls found him attractive, and she knew that he was handsome but hadn't yet found him sexy. Until she'd heard "I'm On Fire."
And when she said that (circa 2004/2005, sometime after we first met), I flashed back 20 years.
My Dad was a high school teacher and a coach. And in my youth I logged many, many miles in transit with my Dad and many other high school teachers/coaches.
I remember being in Dad's Toyota, heading North on 95 on a dark, cold winter's night, with my Dad and one of his buddies.
The silence of the ride was broken by the start of a new song on the radio.
I was known to know a thing or two about popular music, so the adults always liked to test me.
We rode in more silence, as "I'm On Fire" played.
But when Springsteen got to the line: "Sometimes it's like a knife, baby, edgy and dull, cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my skull . . ." my Dad's buddy said offhandedly, incredulously:
"This is what gets the girls all excited?"
I couldn't argue with him.
And even 20+ years later when I hear that lyric, despite what my wife and millions of others might think, it's hard not to laugh, 20-years-delayed.
Hear the song on Youtube.