Hanging Tough for The Right Stuff
Ernest Hemingway once instructed writers (and himself), when faced with a blank page, to “write one true sentence.”
I believe what Mr. Hemingway undoubtedly had in mind was this - this very one true sentence:
I used to be a New Kids on the Block fan.
There you have it. The truth in all its delicious ugliness. Now, I could qualify this revelation by reminding you that my fan-dom occurred nearly 20 years ago, that I was a different person back then, that I’ve reformed my musical tastes since. But that doesn’t change the fact that I used to own all their albums (on cassette tape). That I was convinced me and Joey McIntyre were M.T.B. (after all, we had the same birthday, almost). That I hung pictures of the band, torn from the pages of Teen Magazine, on my bedroom walls, always taking care not to undress & change my clothes in front of them, lest…well… I don’t know what my rationale was for that one. Sometimes there is just no explanation for pre-teen behavior.
Anyways, I am choosing to reveal this secret former obsession today, to shout it from the virtual rooftop, because today, on my way to work, I saw Danny, Donny, Jordan, Jonathan and Joey. The fab five. NKOTB. Reunited. Singing their middle-aged hearts out.
Problem was, I didn't know that I had seen them until much later. I was in the presence of boy band greatness, fulfilling 11-year-old-Kristy's most cherished dream, and I was completely unaware.
Here's how it went down: walking my normal route to work, cross-town from the subway to my office on the east side of Manhattan, I passed by the plaza of Rockefeller Center. I heard screaming (of the enthusiastic variety) and saw a band performing on the Today Show's stage. I was running late, so I didn't pay them much attention - figuring they were one of those new pop-y bands that I remain in ignorant bliss about – The Jonas Brothers or the shiny kids from “High School Musical” or something.
As I hurried by, dodging tourists, my ear caught a snippet of lyrics (invoking the name 'Patrick Swayze') and I resolved to check the Today Show website when I reached my office to see just what band was responsible for bringing this Swayzified song into the world.
So imagine my surprise when I learned that the band I had rushed by was none other than The Kids, singing their new single “Dirty Dancing.” (The bridge of the song goes a little something like this: “Ooo, It's so crazy, she's like Baby, I'm like Swayze.” I guess my boyz aren't even trying to be relevant to today's generation; they're sticking with the same fan base that loved both them and Dirty Dancing so well back in the early -90's.)
"Oh, 11-year-old-Kristy," I tell my younger self, "hang up the phone!" There was no need for me to have so desperately & repeatedly called 105.1 WAVA to try to win tickets to see my teen idols in concert. Patience would pay off and our day would come, a day when we - Danny, Donny, Jordan, Jonathan, Joey and I - would breathe the same air under the same sky, sheltered by the same midtown sky-scrapers.
"It's funny, though, 11-year-old-Kristy," I muse to myself, "how a dream can come true without you even noticing, if you let yourself rush by, unchanged."