Just in case it wasn't already apparent, I had a somewhat unusual childhood. For quite a while, our lone TV didn't actually get any channels -- it only played movies. And my parents didn't get satellite until I was already married and gone (and even then, it was only to watch Luke play with the Cavs in Cleveland). We didn't really listen to much secular radio; instead, it was usually Christian with the smattering of country and oldies.
Add to the mix the fact that I was homeschooled for many years, and it really should come as no surprise that I truly believed the lyrics to "Secret Agent Man" were really "Secret Asian Man" until my husband told me otherwise in my early 20s (hey, it made perfect sense to me. "They're giving you a number and taking away your name"? Isn't that what they did in the Communist Chinese labor camps during the time that song was written?).
Hence, my exposure to Hollywood hunks was very limited. Oh yes, I had a major thing going on for Jonathan Taylor Thomas for quite a while. I even requested his poster be allowed to hang in my room (1 guess as to whether my dad said yes or no). And how could I not mention Michael Landon, a la Little Joe on Bonanza? Ask Nick -- that fire still burns.
But really, my first celebrity crush was Carman. Who's that, you might ask? To a 1990s church girl (and her mother), he was a singing Brad Pitt.
One of my very first concerts (the honor of the first being Trisha Yearwood at the Hult Center) was Carman on Halloween night at the Rose Garden in Portland. I was probably around 8 or 9 and allowed to stay up waaaay past my bedtime. This was a very big deal in my world.
I'll never forget watching this handsome Italian guy take the stage with dozens of breakdancing backup dancers and vocalists, all at the high point of 90s fashion...you know, one overall buckle undone and neon scrunchies aplenty. They were just so cool. I went home that night after hearing hits like "Satan, Bite the Dust" and "Mission 3:16" dreaming of someday becoming a backup dancer for Carman.
For my next birthday, Mom scored big points when she gave me this:
My very first cassette tape, brand-new, even! (And don't ask if I still know every word. It's not my fault I have an insanely good memory).
If I'm being totally honest, I'd have to say that there's a good possibility I still have some Carman CDs in my music stash. I just can't get rid of them.
So when I saw a headline about Carman this morning, I instinctively clicked. But the news wasn't good: he has cancer, and only a few more years to live unless a miracle happens. And oh yeah, I discovered he's my dad's age.
Wait, he's not in his 30s still? When and how did that happen? His mother is 90? He's dying? HE'S MY DAD'S AGE???
Suddenly, I felt so very, very old. But then I remembered that our 16-year-old Celia has a thing for Tom Cruise, which made me feel immensely better.
I'll be praying for Carman's health. In the meantime, I'm going to proactively petition heaven on behalf of JTT, since Little Joe is already on his own Highway to Heaven.