The Summer has come and gone once again (too quickly for some, not soon enough for me). Well, it’s not really over yet, we’ve still a couple of weeks to go, but I already saw a commercial for Dunkin Donuts Hot and Iced Cider, so that definitely means that the Summer is over, right? Anyway, the Summer may or may not still be here but now I’d like to share with you all what could be the best or the worst memory of the past season for me, which is also the reason why I can’t quite make up my mind about which one it is.

You see, I may or may not have met one of the greatest frontmen in Rock history and a Rock God over the summer and I am DYING to know whether I actually did or not. Here’s the story and maybe help me decide which one it is by telling me what you think:

So I’m on the train early in the afternoon and there’s hardly anyone in the car with me. I always pay attention and take notice of who exactly is with me on the train, nearby, in front of me, and make a mental note of everything that’s gong on, just in case. Hey, this is New York. Can’t be too safe, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, the fact that there are only a handful of folks with me for this ride makes it easier to do my job of staying alert. Always discreet, but alert nevertheless. And it sure made it easy to notice when the lead singer of my favorite band of all time MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN of TOOL walked into the car just a few stops later, and sat in the seat right in front of me.

OH MY GOD.

OH MY GOD, MMMMAYNARD JAMES KEENAN IS SITTING RIGHT FUCKING ACROSS FROM ME ON THE TRAIN! WHAT THE FUCK. OH MY GOD!

It was the only thought that came to mind and it kept running over and over and over again in my head while this is happening.

On the outside, I’m trying desperately to be cool. Or at least I hope I don’t have a ridiculous look on my face. On the inside, I am flipping a shit. The thing is, and what totally gave me a mindfuck about all this, is that I was listening to TOOL when this was going on. I was listening to this guy’s voice when all of a sudden, there he is right fucking there, in front of me. I mean, naturally, you listen to your favorite band in the whole world whenever you want. And you do this often. Why not, right? So, you know, you’re listening to this shit, and you never expect that you’re gonna bump into one of these fuckers one day. And you don’t expect to meet them right when you’re listening to their fucking songs! I mean you would, I guess, if it was all planned and shit like at at cheesy meet & greet concert event thing. But this was completely unplanned. And I have never even had a thought or a hope so ridiculous as to meet Maynard James Keenan this way. If at all.

But–and here’s the thing that’s driving me nuts–something is throwing me off and now I’m not sure if this is really him.

ARE YOU REALLY WHO I THINK YOU ARE?! SHIT. SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT HERE. I’M A LITTLE CONFUSED FOR SOME REASON. WHAT THE FUCK.

The thing is, and feel free to tell me if this is totally the dumbest reasoning you’ve ever heard in your life, (because I’ve already thought of it plenty of times since): at first I absolutely knew it was him. He looked like him–and trust me, this is the kinda person that has such a distinct look and thing about him that you just can’t miss nor duplicate–he looked like MJK. I don’t know what else to say: this man looked like Maynard James Keenan and more importantly, he felt like MJK to me. Totally fucking creepy, I know. But I’ll explain:

I was instantly starstruck and I felt chills. That never happens to me. And I’m not saying I meet celebrities all the time or I roll with them or something like that. But I have come across several famous people in my life, which is nothing special when you’re a New Yorker. I’m sure you’ve seen and / or met someone famous, here in The City, too. I’ve seen people I’ve never heard of and met people I do know of, and not one of those times did I get starstruck. So you’re famous. I don’t care. Get out of my way, I’m late for work. And I move on. I’m not the type to get starstruck. When I recalled this story to my sister the first couple of times (because yes, I’ve told it over and over) she was surprised and told me that was unlike me to get all emotional about a celebrity. “I didn’t think you were the type to get starstruck,” she said. Oh but I am. At least for one person. Because on this day, earlier this summer, BAM! It hit me and I didn’t see it coming. Sudden and embarrassing like instant diarrhea. I got the chills as soon as he walked into the train and before he even sat down. And when I found my balls and looked up at him for the first time I was done. That was it. I was starstruck beyond belief. I’m surprised and very thankful that I didn’t scream or jump up and down or something typical like that. In fact, I’m not sure why I didn’t or what stopped me from making an outward fool of myself. And now I’m gonna go ahead and give myself some brownie points for that shit because as I already mentioned, I was freaking out inside.

I know that face. Like, I just know that face. DUH. It’s like when some crazed fan spots Beyoncé  from a mile away, or when people instantly recognize Tom Hanks when he goes out in public. Even if they are trying to play it off and go incognito. People just know. And I think I would know if my favorite fucking singer was less than 2 feet away from me in person.

Or would I?

I wanted to just go up to him and say “Um, I fucking love you, you make great music, and I fucking love you.” Something to that affect, right. But as I calmed myself and started to notice him more and more, paying attention to details like what he was wearing and where he was, things just weren’t flowing.

Maynard James Keenan or whoever the fuck that was  was sitting across from me on a train that is Bronx-bound, and wearing a greenish tracksuit. Running suit. Thing. Um, yeah. What the fuck.

The clothes don’t bother me. No, they do. But not because of what they looked like (it wasn’t the most attractive outfit anyone could wear however) but because of who was wearing it. Shallow, I know, BUT LET ME EXPLAIN:

Um, see, I sort of picture someone like MJK, who is the frontman of a badass  supernova of a rock band not to wear a lime greenish track suit outfit thing when he goes out. Maybe he would. Maybe he does. It’s possible. Anything is. But you know, what really threw me off was the whole track / running shorts thing.

Yeah. He was wearing short–a little too short–running shorts with his long sleeved jacket. Both matching. Both lime greenish with those black stripes going down the arms and on the sides of his thighs.

Yes, I looked. Discreet, but alert, remember? ;-)

Anyway, it just didn’t look right. Like. At all. I guess he could’ve been using that as a disguise. . .sort of. . .but his face was def exposed to all. And not for nothing, but he’s not really that famous and there really wouldn’t be a need for him to go icognito. No offense, MJK, but there isn’t a mass following for TOOL fans out there. Nowhere near the levels of these mainstream bitches today. I’d say he was free to roam and walk around New York just as he is, and no one would bother him much. EXCEPT ME. But my point is, have you ever heard of Maynard James Keenan? Do you even know who I’m having such a tity attack over? Exactly. I rest my case against those shorts and the tracksuit look. Not a good look.

And yeah, about where he is. Um, what are you doing headed up to the Bronx? Do you actually have friends up here or something? The world aint that small, homey. So would MJK really be on a train headed to the hood right now? “IDTS.” Hmmm. . .

WHAT TO DO? WHAT THE HELL DO I DO? HOW CAN I MAKE SURE IT’S REALLY HIM?

I play tug of war with myself about whether or not I should fucking go up to him or something. I mean. he’s right fucking there. I could just talk to him from where I’m sitting and he’d hear me just fine. But I didn’t know if I should, and more importantly, I didn’t even know what to say. I’m not gonna go up to him assuming that it’s him and then find out it’s not and totally embarrass myself. But I’m also not gonna go up to him just to make small talk because we already no I DON’T DO THAT and plus, that would just be really weird. I mean, who does that? In New York City? Randomly talk to a stranger about music and shit? How about no. So finally, as the train keeps rolling I realize that more and more people have gotten on, and best of all, that this guy is still on the train. Wow. OK, I decide that I’m gonna go up to him and ask him one of the stupidest questions ever posed to another human being if his name starts with an M.

I look up and make eye contact. I have the cheesiest smile / grin thing on my face. I just know it. And I can feel it. I stare at him like this for longer than I can get away with but that’s because I’m waiting for the opening when I can just dive right in and talk to him. He looks back at me, SMILES, and waves hello. OH MY GOD! He looks shy and even nervous. I am, too. And this makes me more confident about what I’m about to do. . .because MJK seems like that type. Introverted. A recluse. So here goes. . .I’m going to talk to him.

BUT THEN THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS AND I TOTALLY MISS MY CHANCE.

We get to the 42nd St stop and he gets up to leave. I can still see him as people start to crowd the train and then I have the biggest urge to chase him down and ask my question. I would do it. I’d do it for Maynard James Keenan. I would.

I don’t because I realize how crazy that would be, and if it turned out to be him, then I’d probably freak him out and ruin my chances to get an autograph by having him call the cops on me.

I do the first rational thing I could think of. I text my brother Tsuneo who’s busy at work about it and ask him what he thinks.

“Just met Maynard James Keenan on the subway. Maybe. Call me.” He calls me back soon enough and I try to tell him exactly what happened, without bias, so he can make up my mind for me and tell me if I just blew a once in a lifetime opportunity or if I just saved myself from being embarrassed in front of a stranger.

“So, what happened? I don’t get it.”

“OK,” I say, and I go ahead and tell him. MJK walks in to the train. Looks exactly like him, acts shy and nervous just like him, feels like him, but is not dressed like him and is totally on the wrong train.

“But you said he got off at 42nd, right?”

“Correct.”

“So technically he wasn’t on the train to the Bronx if he got off when the train was still in the city, and he got off at one of the busiest and most popular stops.”

“Uh huh. . .”

“So it really didn’t matter what train he was on.”

“Um, OK, but I didn’t know he was like gonna get off there.”

“Exactly. So you shouldn’t have just assumed he’d be going all the way on the ride home with you.”

“OK, well then what about the track suit and stuff?”

“What about it? I don’t know what to say. He’s definitely out there so I don’t know. But it sounds like you totally blew your chance.”

“Yeah. . .my chance to meet him and get an autograph and all that. I know.”

“And your chance to become Mrs. Keenan (laughter)”

I laugh, too. “Ugh, shut up dude, this is not funny.”

“No. It totally is. Wait til I tell Jules (his wife)” and he continues to bust out laughing.

About two weeks later we meet up to go watch a movie. We’re on the train and my brother takes every opportunity to make fun of me. “Maybe you’ll see Maynard and not do anything again,” he says as we punch one another. “Oh, ha ha. Moving on.” I say, laughing. Unlike me, my bro never misses his chance. I ask him if it really could have been him. He just asks me right back “Well, what do you think? Do you really, honestly believe that it was him?”

I really do.

Then trying to help me make my case, he tells me that MJK is actually putting out a new album with Puscifer in the next couple of months, which is a side project he has when he’s not working on TOOL and his other band  A Perfect Circle, and it could just be that MJK was here in the city putting on the final touches and working in some famous studio.

But that only makes me feel worse. I think I totally blew it. I turned what could’ve been a totally kick-ass memory into one that has me kicking myself in the ass with regret. “Write to the fanclub or something, and be like ‘MJK it’s me. That chick on the train who didn’t say hello,” he says “I’m sure he’ll remember you.” I laugh and 86 that plan. My days of being a crazed fan are over. Except not totally.

I’m taking this moment now to make my public appeal to Maynard James Keenan: dude, if you’re out there and you were on the 1 train in New York City earlier this summer, sometime around 1PM in the afternoon (yes, I wrote down the time), and you got off at 42nd street, then I am truly sorry for not saying hello. I’m such a huge fan. Me. That girl that was sitting in front of you, staring at you like crazy and smiling for no apparent reason. You waved at me and said hello. Maybe. Anyway, I just wanna say that I fucking love you, you make awesome music and I fucking love you. Seeing you in person was great.

You know, if it really was you and all.

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One thought on “The Best Memory of the Summer. Definitely, Maybe.

  1. Thanks, I liked reading this. I would absolutely love to meet Maynard some day too. It is a shame you missed your opportunity though.

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