I was helping another friend of mine (an older person like myself) put up some fliers for his rock and roll band. Well, not helping him exactly – actually, I ended up doing it instead of him. He’s told me on many occasions that the thing he hates most in life, now that he’s an older musician type, is putting up fliers in his home town for his rock ‘n roll band -he says it’s the single experience in life he finds most humbling. So, to get him to shut up, I said, oh, Christ, fine then, I’ll do it; give me the damn things.
There’s only one thing in life worse than being middle-aged and putting up fliers for your rock ‘n roll band, and that’s being middle-aged and putting up fliers for your stupid friend’s rock ‘n roll band; I mean, how dumb can you get? Is there anything more pathetic in life than an actual musician?
So I go out there, in the snow, with my thumb tacks and broken tape dispenser (this is a quandary in itself: sure, it’s broken, and a new one is only $1.29, but I’ve hardly used any of the roll -am I supposed to just toss it or what?) I don’t know where I’m supposed to go; it has been ages since I’ve flyered.
I pull in for a donut at Dunkin’ Donuts in Orleans, and on the way out I have to wait for a couple of cars backing out of Willy’s Gym, long enough that I consider the idea of popping in there to put up a flyer -after all, it’s a clientele that’s at least ambulatory. I park; I go in.
There’s about five hundred people in there, in the biggest room I’ve ever seen, working out on machines. Normal, regular looking people, strapped in to an assortment of dire-looking harnesses. The room goes on forever. Actually, it used to be Star Market. There are actually as many people exercising in this room right now as there were buying food twenty years ago. What the hell? I’m frightened. I start to babble; I drop my thumbtacks. I’m in there for about two minutes, yet I will never be the same. Either that, or I always will.
I start to think about my wife (or, more accurately, I resume thinking about my wife), who is not married to a nice looking person, or even to a person who is even thinking about trying not to get any worse looking. (Some of you may remember my wife from previous columns: gorgeous, celestial, perfect, loves animals and long walks in the other direction; keeps me from ever being bored or serious for too long or restless or being able once ever to predict anything about her; knows what I need at all times, and that it’s best not to give it to me. Has figured out somehow how to always be hilarious and fascinating and lovely.
Cooks sparingly. Disagrees with me about colors. Hates when I write about her, especially when I just make up stuff about her -especially last week. Has no idea how utterly dependent I am on her at every moment, or how thoroughly much she enthralls me, luckily. Her- Mrs. K. I would post flyers for her band (if she had one), every day (if I had to), just to maintain proximity. The flyers could say anything she wanted.
I like her. We’re friends. I tricked her into going out with me, and then marrying me, and then not divorcing me, somehow. I don’t know how I did it. Even I think I’m a genius sometimes.)
I love her, is the real truth. She still makes me feel like I’m fifteen (funny how it’s always your oldest friends that make you feel the youngest), and I’d like to take this opportunity to ask her, in the face of God and up to possibly as many as forty or fifty readers (or, at least, users), tops, if she will please be my valentine, despite the fact that just being in Willy’s Gym made me nervous enough to drop my thumbtacks. Though I may be a burnt out husk of a man, I ask her to find a use for this husk, and to remember that this might be one way to keep the corn fresh.
As for local music, well, there isn’t any for this week, really, except the music in my heart for her, which is protected by my burnt-out husk.
Oh, oh, right, except for one thing: the new Patty Larkin album is amazing, and possibly the best thing she’s ever done (which is saying something.) It’s bold, dark, and sensational, and I’ll try to explain next week how badly you all need one; but why wait, there’s no point in trying to resist, buy it (“Red=Luck”, on Vanguard) right away! Along with the Rhino re-issue of Randy Newman’s “Good Old Boys” (which includes an entire extra disc of Randy’s solo blueprint for the original album with extra songs and Randy laying out the plot line.)
I’d also suggest purchasing a copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s remarkable book, “Everything is Illuminated.” There you go: three sublime, deep, romantic pieces of art that will still fail to make you as happy and interested on Valentine’s Day as I am. Ha!