Saturday, March 06, 2004

When you stare into the dimple, the dimple also stares into you

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The scene is Danvers. Wal-Mart. Thursday. Hundreds, thousands, possibly millions of teenage girls openly weeping and shrieking so loud it sounds like the screech of vultures.

At the center of this maelstrom is Jessica Simpson. You know who that one is? Of the blonde teenybopper pop music star trifecta, Simpson is the one who isn’t Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera.

Need more help? Simpson is also easily distinguished by a rather sizeable dimple in her chin, and a rather sizeable vacant stare. How sizeable a dimple? You could aim a vacant stare into it for hours and never see the bottom.

Like the other two, Simpson sings factory-produced bubblegum songs about love and dating boys. I don’t listen to it, myself. It’s just not my thing. I prefer to listen to real music — like AC/DC.

Simpson was in Danvers Thursday to autograph copies of her new CD for fans. Approximately 70 bergillion teenage girls showed up to touch the hem of her garments (good luck finding it) and acquire her signature.

I saw the images on a Boston TV news station. There were all these kids crying all over themselves while State Police troopers — yes, that State Police — were trying to corral them behind barricades. The girls were screaming, “I love you, Jessica Simpson!” but most were just screaming shit.

I don’t mean to belittle people’s heroes, but here’s a little tidbit of information about Simpson: On her MTV reality show, “The Newlyweds,” she became famously confused about whether Chicken of the Sea was chicken or tuna.

Any-hoo, after a while the crowd became more and more raucous. Then the rioting began, friends. Under police protection, Simpson slipped away. For some goddam reason, they called in the Fire Department. Three teenage girls were hauled off to the pokey, one for assaulting a police officer. That offense, I daresay, is going to be difficult to explain on job applications in the future.

The whole event got me thinking, which is good for a change. I wondered if I would ever cry and howl when meeting a celebrity.

If I met Jessica Simpson, for instance, I’d probably be perfectly sedate. She seems like a nice person, but I wouldn’t cry when meeting her. Much, anyway.

I mean, I don’t think. I don’t want to paint myself into a corner here in case I ever do meet her and start bawling myself sick.

Then again, Jessica Simpson isn’t a role model for me. I don’t want to sing like her, and I sure as hell don’t want to look like her. Although she does have excellent teeth. But I’m sure the teenage girls who went berserk in Danvers hold her in pretty high esteem. They might find a lot to admire in her. Like her cans.

For example, here’s another odd tidbit of information about Simpson: According to her Web site, she’s now endorsing a line of beauty products called Dessert, which smell nice and are, from what I gather, edible. So you can smell and taste like food.

If my sister were younger, she probably would have been there in Danvers, crying and screaming along with the other girls. She’s an emotional person. She even might have been taken away in the paddywagon — my sister is not afraid to use her fists.

My sister is extremely bright, but there’s something about celebrities that makes her go a little — sorry, sis — bonkers.

When she was younger, my sister became heavily preoccupied with the pop music group Duran Duran. They were these five guys who were big into mascara. In particular, she was, from afar, romantically entangled with the bass player, John Taylor. He had lots of hair.

One day, my sister got a phone call from a cousin with dreadful news. John Taylor was married. My sister locked herself in her room and cried for hours — those kind of wet, yowling tears that sound like puking. My mom debated calling 911. Later, we found out that it was really James Taylor that got married. He is old and bald. You may remember his music from past elevator rides and dental appointments.

My sister is now more mature, but she hasn’t outgrown this penchant to weep at the sight of celebrities, either. Not that long ago, she met Emeril Lagasse, the TV cook from Fall River. She told him he was an inspiration, and then turned into a pile of sobbing mush.

I’ve only met two or three quasi-celebrities myself. Once, in Boston, I ran into actor John C. Reilly. He is a tall, goofy-looking fellow best known for playing a tall, goofy-looking porn star in the film “Boogie Nights.” He’s one of my favorites.

We were walking in opposite directions in Boston Common. When he passed by, I waved at him. He nodded and smiled, walking away. See how easy it is?

Maybe it would have been different if I’d met him with a bunch of other people. That could be the secret. Maybe if John C. Reilly were signing copies of “Gangs of New York” or “Magnolia” at a Wal-Mart and throngs of other nerds were aching to see him, I’d start crying and flinging my arms out to touch him. Maybe I’d scream stuff like, “Over here!” or, “I just love you so much, John C. Reilly!” or, in a fit of temporary insanity, “I want to have your baby!

Somehow, I can’t picture it. But we’ll see — next time it comes up.

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