Friday, March 10, 2017
Bob Dylan's shoes
Bob Dylan and I were having a late afternoon cocktail at Lawless Distilling Company, yet another small batch distillery that also serves superb cocktails within a mile of my house. It's amazing how many of them there are, and as much as I'm sure Bob enjoys my company, these little hyper sophisticated speakeasys do their share in getting him to fly out to visit me for any Thursday where he can manage it.
So we were sitting at the little bar there, enjoying our drinks so much we got seconds, this one created with a gin they made themselves, St. Germaine, fresh passion fruit, and god knows what else, when, as so often happens, someone came up to Bob. "I'm so sorry to disturb you." He said. "But I just have to tell you how much your incredible songs have meant to me. They are true masterpieces and have given real shape and meaning to my life. I just..." He had to take a little breath because he was getting so worked up and emotional. "I just had to come over with this one opportunity to say that not even the Nobel Prize is enough to say how much you have given to all of us. You are truly the greatest of all songwriters and poets, and I can never thank you enough."
Bob barely looked sideways at the man, and then did something I can only describe as a half grunt, half nod. Then he stared back down into his half finished pale golden cocktail. And that was it.
I smiled behind my hand. Then I took pity on the besotted fan.
"Hi." I said. "I'm acting as Bob's grunt interpreter for him today. By his grunt he means to say he's touched by what you had to say, and actually quite agrees with it, but is both understandably wary of enthusiastic strangers and of his own insatiable interest in praise. So he wants you to know, by his grunting, that from the bottom of his heart, bless you, you have made his wonder of a life possible, and by understanding his work you have helped to make it complete, but this is all terribly uncomfortable for him so he's hoping it can end as soon as possible."
The man laughed. Then he looked at Bob, said "Thank you", nodded at me, and then he walked away.
Bob looked sideways at me now. "I wish you wouldn't do that." He said.
I sang "Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes..."
"What?" Bob asked.
"Here, we'll roleplay. You be me." I said.
"Aw, man." Bob complained.
"I went and checked out your blog." I said. "I read a few of them. They're cute."
Bob just stared at me. I think he was getting a bit drunk, so I kicked him, in a reminding way.
"Cute?" He said.
"Anyway I think it's great you write a blog. You're a good writer. Good for you!"
"And your point?" Bob asked.
"Is that I too am overcome with hyperbolic praise. These people just don't leave me alone!"
"What do they put in these drinks?" Bob asked.
"Maybe their gin is extra strong."
"You are a good writer." Bob said, disarmingly.
"Thanks Bob, so are you."