Monday, February 5, 2018

An Open Letter to Paul Simon

Dear Paul Simon:

I have something I want to say. And I'd like to say it the way your song lyrics taught me things could (and should) be said: With softness, strength, wry humor, and an economy of language that belies a wealth of emotion.

So here goes:

Godammit, Paul, you can't fucking do this to me!

Do you mind if I call you Paul?

No, your disarming smile won't make it all better this time.
Look, I don't know how often you read my little blog. In my humble opinion, you really should keep up with it. You would learn about monkey art, and how to make pea soup and sweetheart balls and how to grow beans. You would be introduced to my poetry, which sometimes is (I think) truly poetic and sometimes is just about penises. The way poetry is, as you know.

You would also see that I'm a longtime and devoted fan of your music and of you personally. To me, there's only one person in the world worthy of receiving the coveted "Left-Handed Jewish Singer-Songwriters Married to a Former Member of New Bohemians" tag, and it's you, Paul.

Even Artie misses by that much.
The point is, way back in high school - a long, long time ago, even before you released Graceland - I said in a high-school writing assignment that one of my greatest goals in life was to see concerts by Bob Dylan and Paul Simon (that's you). I've seen Bob in concert twice, as you surely know if in fact you do read my blog. Or if Bob reads my blog and has told you about it. If you guys ever get together and chat about blogs you enjoy. Maybe over some nice pea soup. 

But I digress.

But while I've seen Mr. Dylan perform, I've never seen you. I've actually seen a number of my 60s musical heroes live: Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, the Moody Blues, Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson. Yet if all these talented artists are like stuffed heads hanging over the mantel of my heart, then one mahogany plaque is still missing its lovingly amputated and painstakingly preserved trophy: Paulsimonicus harmonius newyorkicus.

If that's not, you know, pushing the metaphor too far.

Anyway, today you announced on social media that your upcoming tour will be your last. Thankfully, this will bring you to Dallas one final time, on June 1. Your retirement is not immediate, unlike Neil Diamond's, who just jerked the fucking rug out from under all of us who have spent their lives hoping to you see sing in person, just once, even while their sister has seen him multiple times, not that I begrudge her that joy.

You know?

Paul, I love you and Neil almost as much as I love
my sister. Can I call you Paul?
I don't hold out great hope that I'll have the opportunity to catch your final Dallas show. Or the means. My Precocious Daughter graduates in June, and apparently it now costs as much to graduate from high school as it cost me to get an entire college education. She's my priority, emotionally and financially, but believe me, if I could save enough money for front-row tickets to your show by not eating between now and June 1, I'd totally do it. I can always eat on June 2, right?

I'm sad, is what I'm trying to say. Sad that you're in the twilight of your illustrious career, sad that we can't always tick off all the items on our bucket lists, sad that time merely shrugs at our best efforts to slow it to an endless waltz instead of a headlong jitterbug through life.

Fucking time.

But I'm happy to hear your voice - on my records, my CDs, my streams, and of course, in my head.

Still, that long-ago invitation to come to my place and sing "Mother and Child Reunion" to me is always open. You can bring Edie. I'll make some sweetheart balls.


1 comment:

  1. I feel like I should send you a donation. Or even that you should put out a call for donations from those who read your blog, but only in the form of handwritten checks so when you get one from Mr. Simon--hello, Mr. Simon, I don't feel comfortable calling you Paul--you'll have his autograph as well.
    I feel like I should help make this happen, and I say this as a guy who's only been to two concerts: Midnight Oil and Dan Fogelberg.


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