I’d like to state that these days, anything I do in public in which I either make an ass of myself or turn into an asshole, I do with all my faculties intact. This is because I never have more than two beers. That doesn’t mean that 20 years ago I didn’t stagger on stage at a club to take an alcohol-fueled bow for a song I wrote called After the Blow Job. I did.
The middle-aged school teacher named Queenie who sat next to Red had no such high standards. Did I mention that the Pope should declare Red a saint, despite the fact that last time I checked she claimed to be an atheist? Red is nice to everyone, no matter how annoying they can be.
Here’s the thing about me and other human beings. I work retail. A book store manager has to listen to every moronic reason why someone is buying a book, especially books that I would use the poorly written pages to wipe my ass with during the zombie apocalypse. And don’t get me started on the conspiracy theorists. Those douchebags know a captive audience when they see one. Free range children? Their volume is turned up to 10, they’re weapons of crass destruction and their parents consider me an unpaid babysitter. When a pedophile does snatch one of them, he’ll probably bring the little shit back.
When I’m off the clock the only human contact I can barely tolerate is the Remote Control Terrorist IF he makes my dinner. So at the concert I silently congratulated myself for sitting between Debby Jo and Red, thereby avoiding conversation with Queenie. Unfortunately, at times I did overhear her.
Before we knew Jamie Kent would be the opening act, Queenie went into DEFCON 1 regarding which mic Huey Lewis would be using and from which direction he would appear; a concern to her right on up there with conflict in the Middle East, genocide in Africa, starving children and sex trafficking.
After each trip to the bar, she came back with a new bizarre statement. At the top of her lungs, “WHO’S THAT BLACK GUY WHO SINGS?” Gotta narrow that one down, Queenie. Then she did. “YOU KNOW…THE BLIND ONE!”
Since everyone in the country seems to be able to make every fucking thing political, Queenie decided to do the same. Her dismay at the long line in the women’s restroom caused her to go into the men’s and tell them she is transgender. Personally, my self-esteem is so low, I doubt I could handle some guy saying to me, “I thought you looked like a man.”
Jamie Kent held a contest where the person doing the most awkward dance would win his latest CD. Queenie was certainly up to the task, but since I really wanted that CD I convinced Red to slow dance with me. Debby Jo surprised us by not dancing and informed us she’s incapable of dancing awkwardly. You have to admire that level of smug. We lost the contest to a chubby woman who had no qualms about pole dancing.
Cool is a rule, but by the time Huey Lewis and the News appeared on stage, everyone in the audience dripped sweat like sumo wrestlers in the Sahara Desert. No matter. The band rocked the hell out that stage. They all looked better than the crowd and I swear Huey hasn’t aged a day in the 30 years since we’d seen him last. Some women in the front row were flirting with him and he told them, “Hey, I have to do a show here.”
Note to women interrupting the concert: You’re not attractive enough to be groupies. I should know. I dated a drummer in a mariachi band.
I had forgotten what a big horn section the band has and immediately started crushing on the trumpet player, Marvin McFadden. Remember how earlier I said I could be a roadie because of the simple dance steps? Marvin kept doing a power to the people movement with his trumpet and I decided I could graduate from roadie to band member until he actually played. Holy shit! No I couldn’t.
Near the end of the concert, Debby Jo and I began to emulate him with our own fist pumps. She leaned in and shouted, “Huey saw us doing that and he did it! Did you see?” No, I didn’t see, but also didn’t care because for this one magic evening, I stuck to crushing on Marvin. I’m usually more fickle.
My idea of a great time is being alone and reading a Stephen King novel, but despite the heat and all the sweaty humanity, Jamie Kent and Huey Lewis and the News blew me away. Go see them if you can and if you can’t, buy their music and rock out anyway.
At the beginning of all this, I said it wasn’t about drugs, but rock and roll. Well, I think rock and roll just might be the best drug ever. I feel 30 years younger.