Friday, May 25, 2018

Why I'm Not Yet a Rock Star

I have finally figured out why I have not yet become the (pop/)rock god I have long believed I deserve to be. I’m too well adjusted, and just too…nice. Lots of very nice people lacking substance abuse problems — Paul McCartney, the late Otis Redding, Pat Benatar — have managed to ascend to the top of the heap, of course, but in general audiences prefer those who are their own worst enemies, like Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Axl Rose, and Beyonce. That I have never known a day’s unhappiness, and am seen by most of my many, many friends as an exemplar of inner (and outer, thanks to the weight training!) strength, wisdom, patience, and empathy, has undoubtedly held me back. But you know what? I like me. I admire me. I am able to look at myself in the morning and think, “You’re a good egg, dude,” though I customarily scorn the use of words like dude and awesome and amazeballs. I can get away with it in the bathroom because I’m thinking the word, and not actually verbalising it.

Rock audiences want rebels without causes (those with causes are generally seen as tedious, self-important, and even messianic), brats, and scalawags. If one could somehow redeem the person-hours wasted over the years by young people in many lands waiting for Mick Jagger, Axl, or the guy in Jane’s Addiction to get their makeup just right and get themselves the fuck up on stage, he or she could compete with the Chinese in manufacturing. 

There are certainly many things in which I believe strongly — reproductive choice, mutual tolerance, fairness, peace, and what-have-you. But I believe equally that rules exist for the common good, and should be followed to the letter. When I received a parking ticket in Santa Monica, California, at age 18, I was so ashamed that I couldn’t leave the house for 24 hours. That’s the sort of person I am. 

And this sort too. While others of my vintage were feigning homosexuality or bone spurs, or heading for Canada or Costa Rica, I eagerly defended Our Way of Life in the steamy, fetid jungles of southeast Asia. I mention this not because I expect my fellow itinerants at airports to get all dewy-eyed when I walk past in uniform (it still fits, after all these decades, thanks to my rigorous physical fitness regimen), but because it goes a long way toward explaining why my beautiful music hasn’t been embraced to the extent many brazen rule-breakers’ has.

[The foregoing paragraph contains blatant lies intended solely for the reader's amusement. There's nothing about the American war machine I don't despise, and I was declared psychologically unfit for military service — as indeed I was, and remain! — when my number came up.]

I have a hair on my mighty (the weight training!) right arm that is now over five inches long, and am very proud of it. Sometimes, while we stare numbly at the television together, Dame Zelda will notice that I am stroking it proudly, and either hit me over the head with a rolling pin or stab me with a paring knife, but I think she’s jealous. I torment her by claiming to be considering having the hair highlighted, though I appreciate it’s probably impossible. And at some point the hair — which, no, I have not named — will fall out. And then where would I be? 

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