Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Jonathan Knight/Dead Fathers
When I was a child I used to have a huge crush on Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block. I admitted this to no one, of course. Tellingly, the only figures in popular culture I would openly cop to admiring/adoring were:
1.) Shirley Temple
2.) General Patton
3.) Punky Brewster
4.) Bret Hart
5.) Saint Bernadette
About eight years ago I saw Mssr. Knight on Oprah Winfrey, having a panic attack and explaining his lifelong struggle with stage fright, depression, etc. I fell in love all over again. He is precisely the neurotic flavor of man I find most fascinating: talented, attractive and totally at the mercy of his fluctuating, punishingly intense emotions. On some instinctive level I probably recognized his issues all along, and, indeed, liked him primarily because of them; after all, I tend to be attracted to artistic people with depression/mood disorder issues as significant and longstanding as mine, even on a seemingly superficial celebrity crush level.
So. Lately I've been wearing this red enamel heart-charm necklace with Jon Knight's name emblazoned on it (bought on Ebay 5 years ago). Almost nobody notices. Even when I point it out, no one seems to care, sadly. I really want to see New Kids on the Block in concert. However, I don't have a single friend or acquaintance here in New York who would be super jazzed over the prospect of going with me. Everyone I know here has painfully good taste. Booooring. I need to make a new friend who shares some of the same guilty pleasures I do... come one, now, we can't go to Gemma and Film Forum all the time!
Today a repeat customer with red hair and freckles took me to the champagne lounge for a couple of hours. He recommended some P.G. Wodehouse works I always meant to read but never got around to checking out. Then he told me his father died Monday. It seemed sad. He didn't talk much about it, but apparently they were close.
"Tell me something good," he whispered in my ear.
After a moment's pause, I said:
"You are obviously a kind-hearted person, without any karmic roadblocks or sharp edges. I can tell you treat people well, and that means, without a doubt, you will receive the treatment same in return. You're going through a sad but very inevitable human experience right now, but I truly foresee a very happy life for you otherwise."
This seemed to satisfy him. I liked him when I met him the week before, and I liked him all the more after he spent a thousand dollars on me. Being in the prolonged presence of his grief, however, was not without its after-effects. A palpable veil of misery had been draped over me physically and emotionally. I felt as though I'd absorbed some of it by osmosis. The unpleasant sensation lingered the rest of the evening, but I shook it off by the time I stepped off the train back at home in Brooklyn.
Sometimes I wish I made less of a sincere effort to connect with customers on a genuine level, but it's my inevitable M.O. at the strip club or anywhere else.
I'm such a Pisces...
My own estranged father's last act after getting diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor (he was dead within a month of finding out about it, although the tumor had, in all probability, been growing clandestinely/insidiously in his brain for more than a decade) was to cut my brother and I out of his will and donate his body to medical science. My mother maintains that his dying acts simply proved the tumor made him insane. I think it just affirmed that he was an asshole...