My mom wrote me an e-mail yesterday. It said something to the effect of: “Gina, we’re back from our great boat adventure around Lake Champlain [in Vermont]! We had a great time! Also, it’s fun to read your new blog entries. By the way, who’s that woman Dennis is working with? I don’t recognize the name. You wrote all about it in your latest entry. Love, Mom.”
For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what my mom was talking about. What woman? Dennis isn’t working with a woman. Well, he’s working with plenty of them, but none that I’d put into writing before. And so I scanned the entry and realized that my mom though Donnie Wahlberg was a woman.
I don’t even know where to begin. So I’ll just start here:
Mom, (you should say that word with the exasperated voice of a twelve year old who thinks her mom is being stupid and embarrasing.) Mom, Donnie Wahlberg is, like, the lead member of the New Kids on the Block. Remember? NKOTB? Like, on the pillowcase I got for my 11th birthday? The one with all their faces on it? Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about NKOTB. They’re the band that I was, like, super excited about in fifth grade because they were so cool–and I bought all their tapes (even their Christmas one) and begged you–pleaded with you–to let me join their fan club when I got AN INVITATION in the mail in a pink envelope. Because it was only by joining the NKOTB fan club that I’d be able to get The Jacket. It was like the letter jacket of all letter jackets–with black leather sleeves and bright yellow fabric that said in big block letters on the back, NKOTB, and that older girl in 8th grade with the blonde curly hair and the tall bangs had it and oh, how I envied her; and you wouldn’t let me get it. You said I’d be wasting my money. But it was the New Kids! Donnie, and Joey, and Jon, and Danny! And JORDAN! Jon’s BROTHER! Jordan Knight?! Like, the romantic kind of knight who’d come in and sweep me off my feet while singing “Funky, Funky Xmas,” or “The Right Stuff,” or “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).” And then there were the concerts! The ones Katie and Kate and all the other girls with variations of that name got to go to and they’d come back with their t-shirts with the boys’ faces all over them and I’d secretly wish those t-shirts would catch on fire while the girls were prancing around wearing them during lunch.
Donnie was, like, the bad boy. He was the oldest I think and he had been through some rough times and he was like the high protector of the rest of the boys. Jon was definitely my favorite because he was so quiet and sensitive and skinny, and the other three just paled in comparison to Jon and Donnie. Plus, I liked that their names rhymed. Although Jon was my favorite, Donnie was the one I would have felt safest with if ever we were walking on the streets of Chicago or New York, since he had that tough attitude. He didn’t really smile all that much, but when he did, I knew he’d always take care of me, like I could count on him and trust him with my stamp and sticker collection. Jon, much more of a poet, appealed to my creative and sensitive side. It was with him I could imagine watching “Beaches,” or singing songs from the musical Cats by firelight. With Donnie and Jon I had the best of both worlds: sensitive but street smart; tough but intelligent.
I don’t mean to end this here, but I’m going to because it’s nearly 1am and even though I’d love to stay up late reminiscing about the good old days when there was real music, I’ve just got to go to sleep. Sorry to leave you hanging like this, but (Oh, should I? Do I dare?….Why the hell not?) it’s probably easier than hangin’ tough.