As the veteran of nearly a decade of marriage, I know that honesty is the cornerstone of a good relationship, and a smooth lie the bedrock of a happy one.
In the same vein, my relationship with my readers has been a happy one so far, but I can't end the year living a lie. In the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you the embarrassing truth:
I am a New Kids on the Block fan.
That wouldn't be so bad if the person at the keyboard was a thirty-year old woman who once pined over Kirk Cameron and knew the words to Wind Beneath My Wings. Instead I'm a thirty-year old man who stands 6'3" tall and weighs over three hundred pounds.
And except for one awkward summer at band camp, I never had any feelings for Mr. Cameron.
My bewildering obsession coincided with my marriage. My wife was a hard-core NKOTB fanatic in her early teens: a member of the fan club, obsessive stalker, hopeful future lover of Jonathan Knight, ticket holder to four concerts, and possessor of more useless trivia than Ken Jennings.
I was, most assuredly, the opposite. It shames me to think of how many derogatory twists on their name I created, how many times I insulted my sisters for their allegiance, and how many times I passed up NKOTB merchandise (at '80's prices!) without a second glance.
In 1999 two of the New Kids went solo, and knowing it would make my wife happy I indulged her long-suppressed impulses to scream and yell and wait in line for hours just to catch a glimpse of them.
And wouldn't ya know it, they grew on me.
They're not Led Zeppelin or Benny Goodman by any means . But Face the Music could hold it's own with any R&B out today, Jordan Knight is incredibly gifted, Donnie's a hoot, and the worst of their schlock is still pretty catchy.
I still don't understand my wife's love for Jonathan, but hey, to each his own.
So five years later my wife and I have twenty-nine videotapes devoted to NKOTB. We have NKOTB slippers, dolls, trading cards, marbles, cups, jackets, books, comics, magazines, a sleeping bag, sheets, pillows, toys, and more. We've been to every concert in Wisconsin and once flew to Boston to see Joe McIntyre.
I even made the newspaper thanks to the New Kids.
Back in '99 Joey McIntyre appeared for a CD signing at a local restaurant. We waited in line outside for hours on a bitter cold winter night. When we finally reached the front of the line security declared the event over and closed the doors.
Correction: They tried to close the doors.
The 'security guards' were local high school football players. That might have been sufficient to intimidate the average fan, but the only place I'm average is the bedroom. I thrust out my paws and kept the door from closing. Whatever I said to the poor kid didn't matter. All he saw was a very large, very angry man who, given the circumstances, was apparently quite gay to boot.
He let us in.
The next day the signing was in the newspaper, because at some point somebody (?) had knocked the front door off its hinges.
Now my wife sometimes doubts my sincerity, pointing to my constant thirst for attention. True, there really was no call to wear the No More Games tour jacket to a job interview, but aside from that I'm on the up and up. But she can keep doubting me if she likes.
Me, I just keep keepin' on.
My wife wishes to add that this post unfairly maligns her home as some 'crazy house' where NKOTB stuff can be seen on the mantel. This is categorically untrue; the NKOTB stuff is kept in a room of its own.