PHOTO BY // JENNY LANE STUDIOS
RELENTLESS RAIN WAS POURING DOWN OUTSIDE MY YOUNGER BROTHER’S LOWER LEVEL WASHINGTON D.C. APARTMENT. IT WAS THE FINAL DAY OF OUR QUICK VISIT. OUR SHOES WERE STILL WATERLOGGED FROM SIGHTSEEING THE DAY BEFORE AND WE DECIDED TO STAY INSIDE BEFORE WE VENTURED BACK OUT IN THE RAIN THAT NIGHT TO SEE CHER IN CONCERT.
I pulled out my phone and sent Cher’s assistant and tour manager a quick group text. I let them know I was going to be at the concert later that night and where I would be sitting. I told them to stop by and say hello. Yes, I realize it sounds completely ridiculous that I told the people who handle a worldwide superstar to stop by and say hi to little old me, but these women have become a small part of the experience for me since meeting all of them in Flint when I interviewed Cher.
Immediately, a response to my group text popped up from Cher’s assistant. It read, “No nicely or ignore.” I sat there in silence as the wheels slowly began to decode what this could possibly mean. It hit me, “Holy crap, I’m one of those people!” Before I could even fully process the response, my phone was vibrating in my hand. The caller ID said in big bold letters, “Cher’s Assistant.” I sat there holding it for just a couple of seconds before I dove into the pool of shame and answered. Before I could even finish saying hello, her booming voice loudly proclaimed, “David! That text response wasn’t meant for you.”
The words, “No worries, it happens,” mixed with an awkward laugh blew out of my mouth like a puff of smoke. The story I was telling myself is that the text was meant for me. However, she insisted it wasn’t. She proceeded to tell me that she was being bothered with someone else’s incessant requests. I let out another nervous laugh and said, “I can only imagine.” On a much smaller scale, I understood. I’ve had viewers who can be overbearing. I’ve sent her several texts over the years, many she’s replied to and many she hasn’t.
In true Midwest fashion to ease the awkwardness, I said, “Can you believe this weather?” She made a quick comment about it but went back to reassuring me one more time that the text wasn’t meant for me. I didn’t want her to feel bad about it. I wished her a good show and reassured her that I completely understood what happened and was not fazed by it.
I felt so uncomfortable after hanging up the phone. Immediately, Dan turned to me and said, “Who was that?” He could see and smell my shame.
I said, “That was Cher’s assistant.”
He went back to looking at his phone and said, “What did she want?” I let out another awkward laugh because Dan acted as if that was a normal phone call for me to receive on a random Tuesday morning. I explained it to him with my own assessment of how I felt that text was meant for me, to which he replied, “Hmmm, well, don’t let it ruin your excitement to see Cher.”
I confidently responded, “Of course not!”
That was a lie I told him and myself. I went to Cher’s show that night feeling as gloomy as the weather outside. I saw the tour manager and even Cher’s best friend who I always converse with, but I couldn’t do it this time. I was embarrassed of the idea that maybe I was more of a stalker than I realized and that’s how they all saw me. I wasn’t confident enough in my own skin to even muster up a simple “hello,” the one thing I was texting them about.
A LITTLE PART OF ALL OF US CARES WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF US. A LITTLE PART OF US STALKS WHAT WE ASPIRE TO BE. THE MORAL OF THIS STORY IS, IT’S TIME TO SPEND A LITTLE MORE TIME STALKING MYSELF AND NICELY SAY NO TO MY SELF-DOUBT AND IGNORE THE CALL TO SABOTAGE MYSELF.
The show started with two big opening numbers and everything came to a screeching halt for Cher to give her introductory monologue. This was the fourth time I heard this monologue, but it was the first time I received the message. The 73-year-old singer shared a story about how a bigwig movie executive called her on her 40th birthday. She was excited to take the call only to quickly be knocked down to her knees. He went on and on about why he didn’t want her in his movie. He was relentless and even told her she looked old. It broke her down and brought her to tears.
I am about to turn 40 this year. That bigwig movie executive type on the other line of Cher’s phone, he calls me all the time. He’s me. I’m always the first one to put myself down. I could easily tell you all the things wrong with my physical appearance, my lack of intellect and how most times I can’t even find the right word in a simple conversation.
A guy like me is just destined to idolize someone like Cher. I always believed she didn’t care what anyone thought about her and that was inspirational. Now, my broken self was sitting there listening to her story and nodding my head as if it was a church sermon. Turns out, she did care what people thought of her when she was turning 40 and she does now.
If I could turn back time, I’d be strong enough to believe that the beat goes on. For now, it’s time to be more like Jesse James!