Fit for a Prince

Winter in Colorado means different things to different people. For some, it’s reason to retreat to warmer climes and become reacquainted with pasty limbs. For others, it’s a time to burrow away until the sun’s rays return. For me, it’s a time to reflect, once again, on the fact that I’m getting older. That’s because my birthday falls in the dead of winter, what historically has often been the coldest day of the year. This affords plenty of long, dark hours to spend contemplating weird, stray chin hairs, trying to ignore the fact that it’s getting harder for me to read in poor light and imploring others to turn down the radio or TV because “I can’t hear myself think.” That’s right, it’s been a year since my last birthday editorial, and, low and behold, I’m a year older.

Not that I’m in any way insinuating that I’m “old.” Just because I now regularly check expiration dates on milk and buy shoes based on whether or not they’re comfortable does not make me old. Practical, maybe. Neurotic, definitely.

Nevertheless, this time of year always leads to a time of deep, inner reflection, what I like to term an “emotional and spiritual inventory.” Also known as an identity crisis. See, I’m not sure what’s worse, the fact that everything in my closet is dated at least five years, or the fact that I don’t care. Anyway, every now and then, the suppressed fashionplate in me makes a plea to not be so, well, mommish. Which would explain those shiny, black high-heeled boots that I wore once before banishing them to the dark depths of my closet. Let’s face it, it’s just easier to be a slob. And drab green, while not being the most flattering hue, does hide dirt a lot better.

Anyway, the bright side of all this is that getting older does not necessarily correlate with getting more mature. For example, a quick perusal of my CD collection would show anyone that my musical tastes have not progressed much beyond 1985. And with good reason. To this day no one has been able to match the musical genius that was Steve Perry in the Journey years (a topic for another day.)

Naturally, I was elated to hear that Prince, the elusive idol of my teen years, was going to grace the stage for this year’s Superbowl half-time show, on my birthday no less. Never mind that I had no idea what teams were playing let alone who Peyton Manning was (something along the lines of the second coming, from what I gathered.) At last, I had the validation I needed. I mean, if the guy who’s lyrics I knew backwards and forwards, whose poster hung on my bedroom door (the highest place of honor) as a kid, whose rendition of “Purple Rain” still makes me weep, was good enough for the most-watched television event in the free world, then maybe I wasn’t that much of a fuddy duddy after all.

I mean, it seems like only yesterday I was listening to “1999” in my friend’s basement, making a pact to be together in 1999, when we would be 29, which to your average 13-year-old sounds so ancient. Of course, I was also looking forward to Prince’s appearance because, not to boast, but we’ve got some history. Michael Jackson I never could understand – but Prince and me, we shared something. See, during his first Purple Rain Tour in the 1980s, he played several back-to-back shows in St. Paul, and I went to all of them. Anyway, the night of the last show, my friends and I were positioned a few rows back from the stage when a burly bouncer type escorted us to front and center. As if this wasn’t enough to make me die happily ever after, Prince bestowed upon me a lasting memento of his gratitude. That’s right – I got Prince’s guitar pick. And yes, it was purple.

OK, so it’s not as good as the story of a friend of mine who got to dance with him on stage in Denver, but I’m pretty sure some of his sweat did land on me. I mean, that practically makes us family, except of course for the obvious fact that I’m from St. Paul and he’s from Minneapolis. But other than that, it was like seeing an old friend playing for the entire world.

And we’re not talking some has-been, over-the-hill supergeezer with eyebrow hair longer than the receding hair on his head and whose extravagant sideshow detracts from the fact that he’s lip syncing because to actually sing would cause him to pass out. No way – Prince wasn’t just the halftime show, he was the show. And to top it off, he sang “Purple Rain” – in the pouring rain. I will allow a moment of silence for those of you to catch your breath over the sheer, beautiful irony of it all.

Anyway, the best part was not that he rocked, or the strategic positioning of his uh, giant symbol, behind a three-story backlit screen, or the circling doves overhead, or even that somehow through the deluge, not one single hair moved out of place, including chin hair. What was so damn impressive is that Prince is 48. That’s right, a full 11 years older than me. And fans were still throwing themselves at him and going completely gaga. All I can say is, it was a good thing it was raining, because he was so hot he would’ve melted all the stuff.

Kind of gives an old, guitar pick-hording groupie hope. Now if only I could find those black boots.

– Missy Votel

In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

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January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows