Lonely at the Top

So nobody wants to read a blog post about the intricacies of Utah voucher legislation.


Instead, here is a blog post with a vampire in it. He is not a mega gay vampire like the kind that live in Forks, Washington and make moony eyes at teenage girls when they should be sucking their blood. I’m talking about a real, hard-core vampire, a kick-butt, take no prisoners kind of vampire who really knows how to rock.

Keith Richards.

Now I have no proof that Keith is an actual vampire. But I do know that he’s undead. He no longer has an ounce of his own blood. I don’t what that stuff is that runs through his collapsed veins nowadays – some combination of smack and prune juice, most likely – but he’s definitely not alive in the same sense that, say Oprah Winfrey or Jeff Goldblum is alive. He’s not even alive in the way that Elvis is alive, because people still believe Elvis is alive, but nobody who looks at Keef can possibly think he is alive, even though Elvis is buried and Keith isn’t, although he probably should be.

Keith is really my favorite Rolling Stone; indeed, the only Stone that matters. When I was doing the show Fame with the Kids of the Century, who I have mentioned previously, everyone’s parents bought ad space to say “Good luck!” to their children in the program. My parents didn’t. Instead, I took out a full page ad with a picture of Keith Richards that said “Good luck, Keith,” because I figured if anyone needed good luck, it was Keith Richards.

I mean, look at him. He needed it then, and he definitely needs it now.

The ad cost eighty dollars, which was pretty much my annual salary back then. It was still worth it.

I really didn’t discover the Stones until late into my teens. Initially, it wasn’t Keith who interested me – it was Mick. I first saw Mick Jagger perform at Live Aid on July 13, 1985.

This is exactly what it looked like:


I was mesmerized. He was a huge hit, despite being the ugliest, strangest thing I had ever seen. (Keith, incidentally, performed at Live Aid, too. He dropped his acoustic guitar on the ground right in the middle of “Blowing in the Wind.” Seriously, if I didn’t know better, I’d have said he was drunk.)

Anyway, when I saw Mick prancing about, I was exceedingly heartened, because I knew, instantly, that I had finally found a worthy role model for my own boogie skills. See, I’ve never been much of a dancer.

Actually, that’s being kind. I’m a wretched, horrific dancer.

In all my singing-and-dancing stuff growing up, they always used me as scenery, like a tree or something. As one choreographer put it, when it comes to my dancing, there just aren’t enough back rows.

But on July 13, 1985, in front of the whole world, there was Mick Jagger, flailing like some kind of epileptic eel, and everyone was eating it up. Why couldn’t I do that?

Well, I could. And I did. And I do.

It makes my mother cry.

Back in the 80s, Calabasas High School had a lip-synching contest every year. People dressed up as their favorite rock bands, moved their lips along with the records, and then got their friends to applaud wildly. The top three applause getters got to do an encore, and then a final round of applause determined the winner after that.

Well, I entered the contest as Mick Jagger. Just me. Solo.

This is exactly what I looked like.

Everyone else had a fake band behind them, which means they had enough friends to pack the house and get enough applause to win, or at least to get an encore. Heck, the whole CHS Football Team sang some kind of Dream Team rap that sucked out loud, but they got way more applause than anyone else just by sheer numbers of football groupies.

So I didn’t win. But, miraculously, I got an encore.

I started out with a song from Mick’s then-recently released solo album, She’s the Boss. My first number was a hardcore, straight ahead rock-and-roller called “Lonely at the Top,” the tune Mick opened with at Live Aid. I was dressed just as he was back then, and, like him, I flung my shirt here, there, and everywhere. I flailed and ran and boogied and strutted and rooster-tailed, gesticulated, reticulated and granulated my way to just enough applause to get the number three encore slot.

And it was in the encore where I had my true brush with infamy.

I picked, as my encore, a ballad from She’s the Boss called “Hard Woman.” In rehearsal, the teacher in charge of the event told me I was making a big mistake, because nobody singing a ballad had ever won the Lip Synch Contest. I told him to stuff it. I knew what I was doing.

Here’s how it went down.

I started out on stage in the fetal position, curled into a ball like a flower ready to bloom.

And the music began to play.

“She’s a… HARD WOMAN to puhlease… And I thawt uhbout lettin’ her knu-ow…”

I reached, ever so gracefully, upward, upward, like a dying swan wilting in the noonday sun…

“She’s a… TUFF LADAH tah LEAVE… And I thawt uhbout lettin’ her gu-o…”

I was billowing now, all atwitter, fluttering in the imaginary breeze, yearning, soaring, or perhaps suffering some sort of seizure…


On my feet now. Reaching. Pleading. Flarging. Mincing with all my might.

And peeling off my purple unitard.

Did I mention I was wearing a purple unitard? Well, I was. I had thrown off all my other clothes in my first number. The unitard was all that was left.

But not for long.

I peeled it down to my shoulders.

The crowd went wild.


The air was electric. I was no dummy; I knew what they wanted.

So I peeled it down to my chest.


The girls all shrieked! (I like to think it was out of delight, not horror.)

Then I peeled it down to my stomach.

Then to my waist.

And then… and then…

It was pure bedlam. How low could I go? They were putty in my hands. And I was taunting. Always taunting. Do you want to see more? Will I pull it down lower? Will I? WILL I?



I had probably gone too far as it was. They told me afterward that if I’d peeled it down another inch, they’d have turned the lights out on me.

Still, the crowd went nuts. But they went more nuts for the stupid football team, so, sadly, I didn’t win the actual contest. But I think I won a moral victory.

I’ve imitated Mick countless times since then, including at several church functions. Most recently, my Stake President – a bigtime church leader, for those of you non-Mormons out there – watched me sing “Start Me Up” at our stake’s annual Family Fun Day. Don’t worry – I changed the last line about what the girl can make a dead man do in order to accommodate Mormon community standards. My stake president seemed to be having a good time until he stormed out in disgust when I made a little rooster tail behind my bum with my fingers. I wasn’t quite sure why that was so offensive.

So I performed it for my family, and my mother told me that the whole thing was offensive, and that it had always been offensive. (Surprisingly, she didn’t cry. But she probably wanted to.)

I’m very versatile – I can imitate Keith Richards, too. (That doesn’t seem to be as popular.) I also don’t strip very much in public anymore. I’ve been blessed with a body that no one will pay to see naked. But so has Mick Jagger, and he still does it, so I don’t know what I’m so worried about.

If Keith starts stripping, though, we should all be worried.

Explaining Vouchers to an Eight-Year-Old

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