Friday, October 16, 2009

Footnote Regarding the Post Below

True story:  

A year or two back, Father Anonymous and some friends, having spent the morning at the General Seminary of the (D&FMS of the) PECUSA and having delivered there a learned discourse on gluttony, adjourned to a nearby diner for French toast.

After they ordered, but before their food came, an elderly gentleman with thick glasses sat down at a nearby table.  He was accompanied by a small party, which included a couple of people who were kinda-sorta fawning on him, and one woman who clearly wasn't.

"Holy *!@%," exclaimed the reverend Father.  "That guy is R. Crumb."
The rest of the table seemed, shall we say, less than bowled over.  Which is funny, since had the sentence following the profanity gone more like, "That guy is George Lindbeck," they would probably have all lost their composure in a mad scramble to have him sign their clerical collars. 

So we explained, as forcefully as possible, that this old man with the Coke-bottle lenses was a superstar of Linbeckian proportions, in the small obscure world of culture that is actually popular.  "He drew, you know, the album cover for Big Brother and the Holding Company.  You know?  Janis Joplin?"  The looks were blank; apparently, the late Ms. Joplin had doomed herself to obscurity by never recording a Buxtehude chorale.

"And I think that's Aline," Father A. went on, showing off the way his scary fanboy familiarity extended beyond the man's work to include his wife.  "And the young one, that could be their daughter."

"Um, well," said one of the presbyters, clearly more concerned about when her French toast would arrive.  "If you like his cartoons, why don't you go up and tell him so?"

Father A. spluttered, "Go up and -- and -- oh, no, I couldn't.  I mean, hound the guy while he's trying to eat lunch?  That's just -- it isn't done."  Which was a small untruth; it is done all the time, to anybody who has ever had so much as their Warholian fifteen minutes.  Even minor celebrities are routinely hounded to madness and violence by the importunacy of starstruck admirers, so desperate to experience even the faintest brush with greatness that they cast dignity to the winds and crazedly pretend to an undeserved familiarity.  You remember Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction?  She's real, and you don't need to actually sleep with her to get the treatment.

And we could only imagine that the effect is worse when the person hounding you wears a black suit with a Roman collar.  To much of the world, those people look crazy to begin with.

So, muttering "Get thee behind me, Mother Anonymous," we resisted the temptation.  We ate our French toast, and tried to eavesdrop, and can't have passed by on our way to the bathroom more than fifteen or sixteen times.

All of which leads to this little note, put in a bottle and set adrift on the waves of bloggery:

Mr. Crumb, if you ever happen to read the Egg, we don't expect you to remember that one glorious day we spent together in Chelsea.  We're sure it can't have meant as much to you as it did to us.  But please know that, somewhere in the world, there is a short cleric who just cares ... a little too much.

Oh, and here's a PS on a related note:

Dear Pete Seeger,  Do you remember that flight to Rome, in 1993 or thereabouts? You were in coach, about halfway back?  And a short guy maybe ten rows up who had to pee all the time, so he kept walking past your seat?  Yeah, well, funny story ....


Anonymous said...

tomorrow's new york times (10/18) has an interesting review of the Genesis book. web

Anonymous said...

gotta love your constant presence in this funny world!! kc

mark said...

In 1960 I trapped Mr. Seeger "backstage" at Sterling Forest and asked him where to get the neck lengthened on my 5-string banjo. He kindly sent me to Noah Wulfe to do the deed. Wish I still had that old banjo. Sigh.