10.10.2004

That Joke isn't Funny

I wish I could laugh, but that joke isn't funny anymore...

Unbelievable. The timing could not have been worse. For several weeks I have looked forward to the concert of a certain artist whose name begins with M and ends in oz. Through all the crap of the last few weeks I hung on to the anticipation of that event. Two weeks ago I missed the last bus to Boston while trying to see a friend there visiting from out west. I was disappointed but thought, "I've still got Morrissey." Last week, at the end of class a student asked if they could do group work more often because, she said, "today I actually learned something and when you're up there just talking I learn nothing." I thanked her for her "input" in my iciest voice and closed my eyes to remember.

When Saturday arrived, my friend and I planned to meet 8ish in front of Radio City. I needed an hour to get there, just in case. I started to get ready at 6:15. When I tried to go to the bathroom, the handle on my door moved but the door didn't. Ha, Ha, very funny. I turned it again. And again and again. I couldn't really be stuck in my room. This was a joke. Not laughing. I was really locked in. I pounded on the door and yelled. No one was home.

I didn't panic yet, I had my tool box in here. All I had to do was take the doorknob off. I'm a handy person it shouldn't have been a problem. But I couldn't get it. The knob had been coming apart for awhile and someone put sticky stuff inside to hold it together. After working on it awhile the panic started.

All I could think was that I might miss the show. That's when I picked up the hammer. I'd knock the knob off. I hammered. Hard. It got dented and bent. But it was still there. I had to hit harder. Smash! smash! Smash! My blood pressure rose with each satisfying crunch.

The knob on my side broke off. But the rest of it stayed on. I had to laugh and cry hysterically. I called my friend to let him know the situation, I was the one with the tickets. He offered to come help me out, but he wouldn't have been able to get in the locked front door. No point in that.

I attacked the handle again. It could not taunt me this way. After more hammering, this time with a lot more force due to my increased frustration, the knob went flying out of the door into the hallway, broken to bits. Yay! All I had to do was undo the latch-thingy. I moved parts of it around but it didn't budge. Huh. I called my brother the engineer to ask how I could get the latch loose. He explained the anatomy of the knob and told me which piece to turn. But it didn't move. I'd broken it. He said I should take the door off the hinges and explained how to do it. But the pins were painted over and I couldn't get them out. At that he told me to call the police. It was already after 7. I didn't have time to wait for the police or anyone else.

I yelled and pounded the door. My life of late has been joyless. I trudge through my days, getting by, trying not to drown under the work that forever hangs over my head. This concert would give me 90 minutes of pleasure. What kind of cruel joke was this? Was God trying to teach me a lesson? I didn't get it nor did I want to. How could I miss this show? It was so wrong. All out of options--I prayed. Please, please, please, let me get what I want. It would be the first time.... Then I rested awhile on the floor.

The hinges! I had to try the hinges again. Maybe if I got the pliers around the tops tightly enough? The needlenose pliers closed on the top pin perfectly. I worked it up a little until I couldn't anymore. The hammer? Yes! I pounded the pliers up with the hammer. Movement. I had hope.

Woo-hoo! It came out! The bottom hinge was next. That one was tougher, I had to chisel around the wood. But I got it out too. Now I just had to move the door. No! The door was still stuck! I pulled at the top with my feet pushing against the wall, infuriated all over again. So close to freedom, how could the door still be stuck!? I considered the hammer now lying on the floor. No. That was my last resort. The door was really heavy and paint encrusted but it should come off. If not, then the hammer and I would bring a violent death to the door. It would not stand between me and my little piece of joy.

By then it was almost 8 pm. Finally, I lifted the door off the hinges and got it out of the frame. I rushed madly then to get ready and go. I got off the subway on 42nd, 9 blocks away and it was near 9 pm. I ran most of the way on the street to avoid the stupid tourist crowds. I made it. Sweaty and breathless. My throat sore from screaming. We only missed two songs.

Near the end of the show, they played 'How Soon is Now'. I never thought I'd hear that song live. I nearly wept. That alone made it worth everything. For my short review go here.

One day this will be funny. I laughed at myself last night, but not for the humor. For the hideous ridiculousness of it, like the laughter of the damned who can do no more. Right now, this is still a cruel joke. One of the kind we all find ourselves in, our hand forced by the random or controlled chaos of life. Despite my fleeting thoughts to the contrary, I don't think God caused the sticking door. I think the world was programmed to work this way, so that obstacles burst from the ground, randomly pushed by the entropy of nature. We cross the landscape of our lives and inevitably run into mountains, boulders, rocks, and pebbles. I think God eases the passage just enough so we can get by.

It all worked out in the end. I enjoyed myself and had a nice dinner with my friend afterwards. But, had I not been able to get out of my room, you would now be reading about a Brooklyn massacre instead of a defunct door.

Well, it suddenly struck me,
I just might die with a smile on my face after all


--The Smiths

Come back for more TRUE stories of the strange, sad and pathetic exploits of me not having sex in the city.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

JL's Short Review of the Show:

The first half of the show was a little disapointing, he held back and was doing a rote performance. Nothing like what I saw at the Apollo. It might be due to the blase crowd reaction and the audience was much further away from him. He feeds off the crowd. And the speakers were bad, I was not impressed with Radio City music hall at all. The high treble crackled and Moz's mic volume was too low. He got that fixed during his third shirt change and that's when he got his groove back and sang passionately. Maybe he just needed to have a few people throw themselves on stage before he could get into it. One guy jumped on his back, he had to stop singing but when security removed the guy he picked right up like nothing happened. I guess 20 years of that would make anyone used to it.

During the brown shirt portion of the show (his 3rd shirt) is when the opening chords of How Soon is Now peeled out and my jaw dropped and I lost my breath out of shock. Not only did I have chills throughout, I nearly wept. I only wish they had played the long version. Now, Boz who is Moz's guitarist played it passably well. I was impressed and beyond pleased. It wasn't offensively inadequate like all the cheap covers done by other bands. It was not Marr. But with M's voice singing over the guitar, it was as close to the real thing as one can get.

He was looking good, he's worked out since May or something. And his drummer has also beefed up a little I think, he didn't wear a shirt. I'm hoping to catch the show in Atlanta next week. We'll see.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

P.S. I didn't find any cute men to flirt with, but I was out of sorts emotionally having come down from almost two hours of rage, so that may have been why. I did have some bonding moments with the gay couple next to me. They liked the shirtless drummer too and one guy high-fived me because we could see M changing his shirt backstage.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Hmm, my wife decided we should watch _Uptown Girls_ for family home evening. Because of this blog, I got the reference to Moz and being a celibate. Mark one up for literacy and the City.
 

Message from Ethesis (Steve M)

Anonymous said...

So when Moz performs, what percentage of the songs are Smiths songs and what percentage are Morrissey solo songs? Just curious. 

Message from danithew

Anonymous said...

I couldn't give you a percentage, but I think he played 5 Smiths songs, half of his new album and the rest a mix from his solo work. Did you ever see the Smiths?  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I never made it to see the Smiths. I became a major fan of the group before they put out their last album but it never occurred to me that they were on the verge of breaking up.

Morrissey's solo success has made him so self-sufficient that I doubt we'll ever see Marr and Morrissey together again. But one can never know for sure ...

I'm surprised that Marr hasn't been more successful in his solo career. His lush musical arrangements on The Queen is Dead (not to mention so many other great Smiths albums) seem to be the work of a genius. What the heck happened? 

Message from danithew

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine the noises in your house as you were stuck in your bedroom. Very vivid description...I want to laugh but at this point it's be cruel. 

Message from Jill

Anonymous said...

Genius it was. The only plausible explanation is that Marr needs Morrissey to inspire him? Morrissey has been quoted in a few places where he says that as a solo artist he'll never sound like the Smiths (he's sick of people complaining about it) and the Smiths were something special.

I don't think a reunion is impossible. It's a crime against pop culture that these guys are both still alive and not working together. But I doubt it'll happen until they're in their 60s. By then, that concert will air on the PBS pledge drive.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I'm going to see Moz tonight in South Bend, IN. Cheers from a fellow Mormon and a fellow Moz fan.

Marr, I agree hasen't been great without Morrissey. But then again, maybe he wanted to get away from that frenetic, post-punk guitar style he had with the Smiths (think Still Ill, Girl Afraid, Bigmouth, Ask, etc. etc.). Like many other post break-up musicians, he never found another great sound that fit with the other people he was working with.

Moz, on the other hand, has done fine with Boorer and White, post Marr. Even the Stephen Street stuff was good. The Moz albums have more throwaways than the old Smiths records did (were there any throwaways?), but if you add up all the great songs post-Marr, there are just as many in my opinion.

The typical number of Smiths songs at a Moz show, from the set lists I've seen, is 2 or 3. I'm hoping for Still Ill, This Night Has Opened my Eyes, and There is a Light That Never Goes Out. Fat chance on the first two. 

Message from Jeremiah J.

Anonymous said...

Jill,
The scary thing is that one of my housemates did come home about 7 pm and went to sleep. He's in the bedroom below mine and heard nothing. They don't build houses like this anymore. Go ahead and laugh, I got out so it's all good. :-) 

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Have fun Jeremiah!
He's in great form. At this show I remember him singing Rubber Ring, How Soon is Now, and There is a Light (seems to be his encore/exit piece). Maybe that is all he sang but it seemed like there might've been 1 or 2 more. In the May shows he sang Headmaster Ritual, There is a Light and...I can't remember what else, but there were definitely 3.

There are two Smith songs that should never have been recorded: Golden Lights and Meat is Murder.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I really love the acoustic version of "Back to the Old House" from Hatful of Hollow. That rendition captures both Morrissey's unique sense of retrospective melancholy and an exquisite Marr guitar melody.

I agree with Jeremiah about "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" which again seems to fit the perfect Morrissey/Marr meld. 

Message from danithew

Anonymous said...

Don't forget "Please, Please, Please" that'd be my pick for most exquisite marr/moz blend. So simple, so gorgeous, so classically melancholy.

That was the first Smiths song I ever heard. I remember being completely enchanted by the voice. Then going to find out more. Unfortunately for me that was in 1990. But I was 14 so it's not like I could've seen them in concert anyway had I known them earlier.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I had always thought that Everything But the Girl's "Missing" had to have been inspired by Back to the Old House. Then they covered the song so I'm sure of it now.

I agree on comment on Meat is Murder. Maybe if I were veggie I would feel different.

The show was great. They started the set with "How Soon is Now?", one of most loved and most hated Smiths songs among fans. Put me on both sides of that question. They got to Shoplifters, There is a Light, and Bigmouth. Except this time it was Joan of Arc's IPod which started to melt. The new stuff and other Morrisey stuff was great, too.

Nothing from Arsenal, Southpaw, or Maladusted, alas. 

Message from Jeremiah J.

Anonymous said...

I'm vegetarian and I still skip that song on the cd player. It embarasses me for them.

Yeah, he played Bigmouth here too, I knew he did more than three songs. Not Shoplifters though.

There are some of his older songs I really wanted to hear but he must be sick of them by now?  

Message from JL

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