Friday, September 19, 2008


The girls in the Salem Witch Trials, for some reason, confessed. And not only confessed, but thrashed around like Things Possessed. Maybe, because they revered their leaders and families, that's what they were told they were. Possessed. It's bad enough to believe your own fears, but to believe someone else's fears ...

Let's say one of them was led to a pyre, stood at the stake, and let it burn her.

But for some reason, it didn't consume her. She took stock and a studious look back. And when someone new came at her waving a torch ... in a moment of triumphant euphoria she suddenly knew, and laughed and said, "Bullshit! It was all bullshit. And not only am I fine, I was nothing ever other than fine. And, actually, I am much, much better than fine."

The actual words of a 1700s Salem girl.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Everything old is New Kids again

Somehow, they kept their love for New Kids on the Block alive for almost 20 years, though Nirvana and Grunge, through two wars, and a crop of new boy bands that failed to woo away their First Love. New Kids.
And I'm talking love, because on Monday at lunchtime, I passed these people camped out in lawn chairs on 5th Ave, outside a Best Buy where the Kids would make an appearance the NEXT EVENING, promoting a new album. I walked that way to work again the next day, to see if they were still there. Yes. And the line had grown, and the police had corralled them all into heavy, steel-riot fencing on the asphalt of 41st St.
"The B-Town boys are back in town," one woman declared, as if I could doubt it. No way. Six-foot posters of the Boys blotted out the windows of the Best Buy where they were due to show (in only six more hours).
A little gang of these women, at the head of the line, had camped out over night. And they were great. I'm this random person walking up to them, "Are you freaks?" And they were more than ready to make scoot over and make room for me on the street, obviously recognizing another freak.
No, that's not how I approached them, or how I feel. The more hoopla, the merrier, and they had it going on.
"We're here to say hello to the cutest five men on the face of the Earth!" the office manager said, one of the passel of managerial-types in tanks, shorts and in full block-party mode.
A little farther down the line -- I'm afraid of people who have mullets. I feel like they're so tough, that they even resisted the passing of decades. They brandish their fists at Time itself. (Actually, it may have been a bigger hoot to have talked to them. "Why are you out on the sidewalk?" One would have leaned forward on an elbow, cracked her knuckles -- with one hand -- and said, "The B-Town boys never left.")
The IRS agent at the head of the line that I did talk to, explained that her sisterhood lived their New Kids fandom day-to-day by listening to the music, and writing to each other on message boards. Where she'd met most of the people she'd been hanging out with the past two days.
They mercilessly nudged awake this woman who looked like she'd melted into her lawn chair. Her head lolled to the side, she opened a serpentine eye, her whole manner bespeaking, "bus trip." Long bus trip. She'd come to this thing all the way from Dallas. And in only six more hours, they'd see the new New Kids on the Block! Arising from the ashes of musical obscurity like the phoenix! And just as glorious!
"They're hot," said the IRS agent, who'd met all five members of the band at one time or another. "And they love their fans."