Well, howdy! Welcome back to my probably delusional saga! If you missed Part One, read it here.
On a side note, before I launch back into my tale, I’ve gotten a couple of requests for photos of the truly epic outfit I described in Part One. Sadly, there are none, as I spent a large part of my teen years actively avoiding having my photo taken unless a team of experts had been at work on my face and hair for at least an hour or so beforehand. Subsequently, most of my birthday photos from this time look like this:
However, rest assured that the outfit was so amazingly late Nineties that, were it for some reason a sentient being with a home, it would be legally obligated to answer the door by saying, “Hi, you’ve reached 1999. Inflatable furniture is to your left, and dial up Internet connections that go “SkreEEEEEEEESHHHHbeeepbeepbeepbeepbeeeeepboopboopskrEEEESHHH” are down the hall.”
I didn’t really tell anybody about my possible (alleged) celebrity sighting when I returned. As far as celebrity sightings go, “I may have seen Joey Ramone, or possibly Howard Stern, from a distance at Rockefeller Plaza. Or it might have been a bike messenger regretting his sartorial choice of leather pants” is about as interesting as “I saw that meteorologist from Channel 8 who accidentally said ‘dammit’ on the air when I went with my mom to pay the water bill.” In truth, I mostly forgot about it.
In March of 2012, I heard that a posthumous Joey Ramone album called …Ya Know? was going to be dropping on my 31st birthday – May 22. I made a mental note to check it out, but it wasn’t really at the forefront of my radar. I was in the middle of a huge, potentially career making project at work, and the album was going to be made up of remastered demos that hadn’t made it onto Joey Ramone’s first solo album, stuff he hadn’t quite finished writing – basically, things that got lost in the shuffle. Posthumous releases can sometimes be a bit creepy (remember The Beatles’ Free As a Bird, anyone?). Granted, Joey’s first solo release, Don’t Worry About Me, had been released after his death, but he had been actively working on it before he went into the hospital for the last time, so it didn’t have that slightly ghostly element of having all the instrumentals mixed around a vocal track recorded by the deceased years before. It also contains the best good-mood-inducing song ever, Joey’s cover of What A Wonderful World.
A friend on Facebook posted a link to a single from the new album called I Couldn’t Sleep, and I loved it. I checked out the complete track listing and was amused to see a song listed called Eyes of Green. “Look, y’all! Joey Ramone wrote a song about me!” I joked hilariously. (I was not at all hilarious).
And then, on a slow day at work, I listened to it.
Ok. Let’s talk about Eyes of Green for a minute.
As Joey Ramone penned love songs go, it is certainly not Danny Says, which is a gorgeous Wall of Sound masterpiece that is just now starting to be recognized for the work of genius it is. And it’s not My My Kind of Girl, a song designed to make every right thinking girl in America hope with all her might that Joey Ramone just happens to be hanging out in her favorite pizza parlor the next time she gets a yen to hear The Kids Are Alright on the jukebox. My personal guess is that Eyes of Green is one of those songs he didn’t finish – why, I don’t know. Maybe he got sick, or maybe he listened to the initial demo and decided, “Fuck this. I’m going to go write a song about Maria Bartiromo instead.”
Eyes of Green contains this very intriguing (if you are a sociopath) verse:
She’s dark and twisted like me/A creature of intrigue/She’s something that you don’t forget/An axe murderess I’ll bet.
You know what that sounded like to me? That sounded like the sort of girl who wears the lipstick of the undead to hang out in Rockefeller Center eating falafel and reading Helter Skelter, and OH MY GOD IT WAS HIM THAT DAY AND HE SAW ME.
My delusional lizard brain went into complete overdrive. Was it a coincidence that …Ya Know? dropped ON MY BIRTHDAY?? (In the real world, where rational people live, it made perfect sense – new books and albums come out on Tuesdays, and May 22 just happened to be the closest Tuesday to May 19, which is Joey Ramone’s birthday). Wait – there’s only three days between my birthday and Joey Ramone’s? WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!!1!
I was two steps away from looking for Illuminati secret messages in Katy Perry videos and seriously asking an online Magic 8 Ball important questions like, “Should I get that mole checked out?”
There are many, many other issues with my “Eyes of Green is about me” hypothesis. First and foremost, there were no references in the song to falafel. However, it is possible that perhaps it was the falafel based verse that broke the songwriter’s pencil and caused him to abandon the project. Yes. That was obviously it.
Less easily explained, however, was the question of distance. You might recall that Joey Ramone was fairly far away that day when I thought maybe I had seen him – so far, in fact, that it could possibly have been Howard Stern. As Joey Ramone was one of the most distinctive looking people on the planet, it is physically impossible that he could have been close enough to me to be inspired to song by my amazing eyes without me noticing. Unless – UNLESS! – he employed top Soviet era spy techniques which I know about because I have watched Get Smart. Perhaps he was disguised as, say, a flagpole (Romania’s, perhaps? That was a terrible joke. I’m going to shoot myself in the face now). There may have been a periscope device secreted in his glasses.
This level of stalkerdom would likely destroy any long held and cherished notions I had about Joey Ramone um…not being a criminally adept stalker, I guess. Indeed, I think such a revelation may have snapped even Riff Randall out of her marijuana induced haze of lust.
At the end of the day, though, I guess it doesn’t really matter. The song still makes me smile every time I hear it. And it reminds me of that time when I was starting to discover that there were people out there that wanted to be my friend – maybe even the lead singer of my favorite band.