I once had a guy in the cab who said he was David Bowie’s son. He was a homeless looking guy the city was paying me to take from the hospital to the Alcohol Recovery Center, but I wanted to believe him.
“My mom had sex with him back in the early 70s” he said. “She’s sure he’s the father, and she’s never wrong.”
I wanted to believe him. I didn’t argue. I didn’t check the mirror to get a good look at his face. I didn’t ask for any kind of proof, but he tried to give me some anyway.
“Look at my driver’s license. See how it says ‘Jones’ on it. That’s Bowie’s real name,” he said.
“I know” I said.
He knew the birth name. I wanted to believe him.
“One day” he said “I’m going to find him, and then he’s going to give me some of his fame and fortune.”
“Awesome” I said.
“Yeah, he’s waiting for me to come. He can’t wait to love me. I just have to find a way to contact him that’s all.”
“You’ll find him,” I said “I believe it.”
“Thanks” he said and then I dropped him off into the waiting arms of the Boulder drunk tank.
For MeToo! Night #2 I had to look awesome, so I asked Lola, who always looked awesome, to help me.
“What kind of look are you going for?” she asked.
“I want to look exactly like this one moment of this one song,” I said.
Then I played her David Bowie’s ‘Heroes,’ the long version. We lay back on her bed and took it in. About half way thru I said something like “get ready.” The song steadily picked up intensity until the 4 minute 34 second mark when I suddenly pointed to the ceiling and went “now!” It was the moment when Bowie goes “AND THE SHAME WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE,” and the way he sings “SHAME” is one of those purely Rocknroll moments when a singer takes things up to a notch with so much power and reality behind it that the lyric just busts apart in chaos and you can’t even understand what the word is you can only feel it and it feels perfect.
“Alright” Lola said “I know how to make you look awesome now.”
And then she did.
Just a few weeks ago I was in Ohio for Christmas, decorating cookies with my family. There was one gingerbread man who’d gotten squished in the oven and his shoulders slumped and his head tilted in shame, and I told my 8 year old nephew we had to decorate that one very consciously. I noticed a tray of tiny yellow sugar star sprinkles and said, “we need to turn him into Starman.” Then I sang with gusto “there’s a staaarmaaan waiting in the sky…”My nephew didn’t know that was a David Bowie song cuz he doesn’t know who David Bowie is, but he understood something nonetheless. “
Starman!” he laughed.
And then we got to work on the cookie, covering the whole thing in a coat of frosting and way too many tiny yellow stars until you couldn’t see any trace of sadboy gingerbread underneath. Then I played the song on my phone and we listened and danced and sang and it made everyone want to eat and chew and taste that cookie first.