Before we get going, I’d like to make an observation. Have you ever noticed that just about the only acceptable way to approach a complete stranger on the street is to compliment them on their tee shirt? It’s true. I’ve done it several times and always received a positive response, be it the guy behind me at the ferry terminal in a shirt that read “In dog beers, I’ve only had one” or the chap in the coffee shop wearing a shirt from the Medicine Department of Miskatonic University or the guy in a different coffee shop in the Liverpool F.C.replica shirt with the number 10 and the name Coutinho on the back. On each occasion I’ve said “Great shirt, mate”, and received a smile and thanks in return. Actually, I had a really enjoyable, if short conversation with the Miskatonic “alum”, made even better by his response to my telling him I sport one from the Literature Department.
Of course, you can only get away with such comments to other guys. If the woman ahead of you in the coffee line is impressively shod and you say “Cute boots” to her, the next thing you experience will be lying on the gurney while the nurse rinses the mace out of your eyes and the E.R. physician prepares to remove one of the aforementioned items of footwear from the place where you used to have functioning genitalia.
You cannot believe how much empirical research went into the above statement, you really can’t.
This leads me to my story. A few weeks ago my sweetie and I went to see Wussy at the Funhouse. It’s a dump, a real scuzzy pit, to tell the truth, but the chance to see Wussy was too good to pass up. We skipped the first two openers, but had the misfortune to hear the third, and not even an unbelievably good margarita could kill the pain of having to hear them. Anyhoo, on our way from the door to the bar I saw a rather scruffy looking guy sitting next to the merch table wearing what I took to be a Joy Division “Unknown Pleasures” long sleeved tee. On my way back, drinks in hand I said ” Love the shirt, man” to which I received the response “Thanks, you have to go to Cleveland to get one”. It was then that I realised that the back bore the name of a Cleveland record store and the front was the “Unknown Pleasures” cover art trimmed into the shape of the great, I mean the state of Ohio.
I thought no more of it until my sweetie pointed out that the guy looked like, and it was here that I misheard her, because the guy looked nothing at all like the former Joy Division and New Order bassist, until the penny dropped and I realised she’d said “Buck”. “Nah, it can’t be” was my natural reply. She produced her phone and pulled up some pictures. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!!!!!!!!! “You’ve just freaked me out” was all I could manage to say. Of course, it WAS the former R.E.M. guitarist and I’d just not recognised him. Those of you who know me know that I love R.E.M., but never had the chance to see them live, don’t bother with music videos and don’t even touch”Rolling Stone” on the basis that I can actually afford real toilet paper. I was truly bummed not to have recognised him, but now couldn’t do anything about it. He sat with the headliners who were staffing their own merch table and during the show ambled around, having a good time. This town doesn’t really appreciate overt fanboy behaviour, so I just let it go and made sure not to stare, unlike the loser who made a point of introducing himself and shaking Buck’s hand. Wanker.
I bet he told all his friends, and anyone else who would listen about it until he was blue in the face and they were bored to tears. Don’t you just hate people like that?