So grateful to be alive at a time when Brandi Carlile is an artist.
When you were little you didn’t like when we over explained things to you. You were an extremely curious kid. (You still are.) Like a detective you’d ask a lot of questions to get at the truth, or at least your understanding of it. But once your curiosity had been satisfied, you wanted us to stop talking. You had no patience for anything that sounded preachy. When you sensed a lecture or sermon coming on, you’d interrupt and say, “I don’t want to know. And I don’t want you to tell me.” So please forgive us for writing this letter of unsolicited advice.
What follows are things we have come to believe and value about life and the human experience. Much of it we learned from you, by being your dads. All of the sentiments expressed below have been said or written by others, and with more eloquence than us. And our thoughts are repetitive, disjointed, and scattered. One passage may contradict another—sometimes in the same sentence—but that’s life: a complicated, repetitive, disjointed, random, beautiful mess. The route is seldom a direct express.
The tone below veers into commencement speech territory, including generalizations and nauseating clichés commonly heard at graduations. But since neither of us are likely to ever deliver a graduation commencement speech, this is our attempt at passing on what we’d like to believe is wisdom, all of which you are free to ignore. (Skip past the dotted lines if “you don’t want us to tell you.”)
So from us to you, in no particular order, here goes.
Thank you Mayor John Birkner Jr. and the Westwood Borough Council for hanging the pride flag on the borough hall. Reading about the flag raising at njersy.co/westwoodrainbow made me quite emotional. As a kid, I would have never imagined my mostly conservative hometown being so welcoming and inclusive to celebrate gay pride month. Of course back then I had no idea what gay pride was and the rainbow flag—what’s that?
The 59th Annual Grammys Awards are this weekend. Twenty-five years ago, I worked at the 34th Annual Grammys at Radio City Musical Hall. My friend, Christine, a fellow Montclair State alum, asked me, along with a bunch of other recent Communication Studies graduates, to volunteer as a talent escort and seat filler.
On February 25, 1992, we met at Radio City early, received an orientation, a tour of the hall, and our escort assignments. Some of us would escort performers. Some would escort presenters. Performers got dressing rooms. Presenters did not. I didn’t know if my nerves could manage a performer, which that year included Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Bonnie Raitt, LL Cool J, Seal, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Johnny Mathis.