Elton John. Sir. Past his prime; curdled milk. Bloated, sweaty, warbling. Has been? Never been, as far as I’m concerned. S*Q*U*A*R*E.
Tiny Dancer is a cheese grater on my gray matter.
A friend knows this well and upon entering his apartment he rarely fails to cue Reginald Kenneth Dwight. (Yes, Sir Elton’s real name is Reggy Dwight. Sounds like a farm league baseball player). I cross the threshold and am slammed with the particular cloying (bitter)sweetness of Candle in the Wind.
“Really?” I give him my full-blown dagger stare.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, voice full of feigned innocence.
“What’s right?” I shoot back. Clearing my throat, I recite with theatrical flair: “Loneliness was tough, the toughest role you ever played. Hollywood created a superstar and pain was the price you paid.”
He shrugs. “It’s poetic.” His shoulders shake with silent laughter as he scrolls through the playlist on his screen.
“It’s pathetic,” I moan, walking into the kitchen. I open the fridge, looking for anything to divert my attention. Ah, an iced coffee. As I reach in I spy some rotten peaches and can’t suppress a snort. “Did you do that on purpose?”
He does not respond. I call him a not-so-nice name. “You did that on purpose!”
“What?” He turns from his computer and looks at the bruised fruit I hold by fingertips, touching as little of it as possible. I watch realization dawn on his face.
“Sadly, I’m not that clever.” He grins and takes the opportunity to switch songs. He and Reggy sing:
“Rotten peaches rotting in the sun, seems I’ve seen that devil fruit since the world begun.”
I drop the peach in the trash and cradle my head in my hands. “Surely those aren’t the real lyrics,” I ask.
“Indeed they are.” His taps his desk with two fingers in time with the music.
“Ugh! Even you have to admit they’re hideous. They’re…. they’re….” I rummage in my brain for the best descriptor. “They’re…chalky, like Pepto Bismal.”
“You’re comparing song lyrics to Pepto Bismal?” He stops drumming and squints in my direction. “You have a problem, you know,” he teases. (I think.)
I roll my eyes, but a slight tug at my insides makes me wonder if he’s right. Other people seem to listen to Reggy’s quavering without wanting to bang their heads against a wall to drown out the noise.
“Maybe you should see a therapist,” he offers. “You know, find the root of the problem.”
“The root of the problem is his repurposed music and his junior-high lyrics,” I say with conviction.
“Maybe you had a crush on someone and he jilted you to Tiny Dancer.”
“I wasn’t even born when Tiny Dancer came out.” I cross my arms.
“Ok, how about Friends Never Say Goodbye?”
“That’s my cue,” I say, grabbing my handbag and heading toward the door.
“Ok, ok!” I hear him call after me. “No more Elton! I’ll put on…. Billy Joel!”
I visibly shudder, wondering which is worse, and close the door on his laughter. One thing is for sure: He is in no way An Innocent Man.
Each day of 2014, I’m
forcing encouraging myself to have at least one new experience (and chronicling it to keep it real). If you’re interested in why–though I can’t for the life of me imagine anyone would be that bored–check out the “about” page.