“Now New York you know I love you
Because you made me who I am
Which is not that good of a person
I need to feel something again”
—Highly Suspect, “Serotonia”
Oh, I think it’s a good time as any to tell the Joker anecdote.
So I’m 17, right? The guy who took my virginity in the last few weeks of my 16th year (the guy well into his 20s at least) became psycho and was threatening me with his brother’s hunting rifle.
So I’m sort of sneaking around my Brooklyn neighborhood, right? Because I’m trying to avoid the guy with the hunting rifle. And then one day I’m like: “fuck it—I can’t live in fear.” So I figure, I’m gonna go confront this guy. And so I decide to go to this Halloween party in the neighborhood that I know he’s gonna be at.
Further: I decide to dress as the Joker from the recent “Batman” movie. (I guess it gave me a certain degree of confidence, considering the situation. I dunno.)
And so I go to the Goodwill, find a perfect purple dress jacket with tails. And I buy clown white makeup, and I buy green temporary hair dye (“temporary”).
Now I’m at the party dressed as the Joker. But, you know the way parties go, right? I got distracted. I started talking to people, drinking, etc. I’ve forgotten all about that guy.
But now the neighborhood “drunk” is talking to me at the party. And this guy, he’s this jovial ruddy-faced Israeli guy who was the dad of my sister’s best friend. Not a creep, but a guy his family is a little embarrassed of; because he’s on the corner drinking all the time, right?
So he approaches me and says, “Hey, JACK!”
And I don’t know what he’s referring to at first. I barely realize he’s talking to me.
Again: “Hey, JACK!”
I’m like: “wut?”
“JACK! You know: Jack Nicholson! HA! The Joker!”
Years later…I’m more or less an adult. Dressed in like a women’s “power suit” with the shoulder pads and the skirt and the heels. And I’m coming home from work, right off the subway. And I hear in the distance:
And I’m like: who the fuck is calling me?
And then I see him waaaaay across the street: that guy who was the dad of my sister’s best friend. He’s drinking on the corner. And he sees me seeing him and he goes:
“You know: Jack Nicholson! HA! The Joker! Hey, JACK! JACK! Remember me? At the party! JACK! Remember, Jack?”
After that, every time he saw me in the neighborhood, he’d go (as loud as the whole block): “JACK! Remember, Jack? Jack Nicholson! At the party!”
And at some point, I really need to move out of Brooklyn.