One night Benjamin and I were watching the Jimmy Fallon Show, and as part of interviewing those fired from the most recent “Celebrity Apprentice”, Gary Busey was a guest.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Gary Busey looked…crazy sauce. He was nonsensical, rambling, and Jimmy Fallon had to work overtime to keep Busey on the right conversational track.
Now , who is Gary Busey you ask? He is famous for playing Buddy Holly and for snorting cocaine off his dog. In his defense, he didn’t set out to snort it off of his pet’s back, but when when you spill sweet Colombian icing sugar you kind of have to set up camp wherever the snow falls. I think it’s nice, you don’t want to be wasteful–that’s environmentalism and Gary Busey invented it. Though Busey is now ‘clean and sober’, his dog is still pretty sketched out every time he comes around…as perhaps most animals should be.
Watching the talk show, we remarked on how peculiar he looked–can drug abuse really have a degenerative effect on your appearance? Yes, yes it can. But this morning, with the help of Wikipedia, I realized a couple of things–there was a motorcycle accident/no helmet situation in the late 80’s, as well as extremely enthusiastic surgeons and dentists–PULL HIS SKIN TIGHTER, MAKE HIS TEETH WHITER!
Gary Busey’s big mouth reminded me of a strange little childhood memory; asking my mother : “Why do Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler have such big lips?”
She responded, her expression studious and deadly serious:
“Because they did so many drugs”.
“Yes, when you do drugs, its stretches out your face, starting with your lips”.
Holy Moses, my mother is so wise, how does she know so much?
It’s because she was making it up. But boy, did I believe her. So much so, that when Julia Roberts came along in the late 80’s, even though I was just a kid, I knew she liked to party.
What would happen over time? Would they just keep stretching out until the lips just hung off your face making wobbly, smacking sounds when you walked? When would the madness end? Though my mother was clearly doing a bit of maternal-improv, but she wasn’t wrong about the weathering effects of abuse. A long-time friend and faithful reader made a crack about my love of ‘Fat Elvis’–I am fond of the later years Presley, because he is an allegory for something practically biblical.
Talent, luck, exposure and timing equals fame, fortune, and god complexes. Elvis became his own golden calf–a false deity. With the money and success I suppose comes a feeling of immortality, though one can imagine God watching from his office in heaven, shaking his head in dismay. “When will these sons-o’-bitches learn? Isn’t it enough that their lips get all sloppy?” And then he has to smite all those whose britches got too big. It’s true there are many talented people who died way too young: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse–the list goes on and on, but I wonder if it’s God’s way of saying–“I gave you all this talent and success, but you just couldn’t be cool could you? You have to be a dick about it”. These are the human equivalent of the Titanic, this so-called unsinkable ship, or so they thought it was until God got all Old Testament on everyone’s ass, pulled out his mystical etch-a-sketch and dropped a wee iceberg in it’s wake. I wonder if that’s where ‘loose lips sinks ships comes from’. I think the lesson to be learned here is to never, ever think you are bigger than mortality, better than God or universal forces and the people around you. I don’t care how good your singing voice is, you were once a sperm and egg mash-up like the rest of us. Just limit with the booze, prescription pills and hollowed out bread loaves filled with peanut butter and banana, wear a helmet, and maintain a splash of humility, and that’s a fine start. Whatever Sting is doing…just do that.
Amazingly, Jagger and Tyler are still rocking out, despite the fact that they are now elderly grandparents–despite what Jimmy Fallon’s character had prophesied in “Almost Famous”
“If you think Mick Jagger will be out there trying to be a rock star at age 50, you are sadly, sadly mistaken.”
Hmm, can’t smite ’em call can you? Maybe God is a Stones fan, and a secret American Idol viewer. As for Busey, who knows why he was spared–maybe the good Lord was also watching Jimmy Fallon and thinking “He doesn’t make a lick of sense, but he makes me laugh, and so few things do nowadays”.
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