I may have met the world’s nicest heckler at a gig this weekend.
I was barely into my set but he was already on my radar for his parody-level drunkenness - head dangling from his neck like an apple that barely remembered it was on the tree, gaze wandering aimlessly like a marble rolling across a table. Plenty of sitting room available around him, but still no one wanted to be his couch buddy. You know the type.
Yes, mothers don’t raise their sons to be this man - but no sweat. A fan is a fan. I can deal. But then he started talking to me.
And talking to me.
And talking to me.
First from the couch, then standing, then standing as close as he could possibly stand, terrifyingly sincere eye contact burning into me at full force. Scientists study water’s ability to erode soil when they clearly should be studying alcohol’s ability to erode concepts of personal space.
For what must’ve been forty or fifty minutes this man talked to me at varying levels of uncomfortable distance and volume, shouting declarations, asking questions in the middle of a lyric and earnestly expecting an answer. Yet, in this whole time, not a single negative word passed his lips. In fact, he couldn’t have been more positive. Where lesser men might insult your music and pretend to know your mother, this man would NOT stop trying to raise my self-esteem - every drunken “You’re amazing” was followed thirty seconds later by an even drunker “Brother you’re so good, why isn’t everyone singing along, here I’ll start BLACKBIRD SINGING IN THE DEAD OF NIIIIIIIGHT.” He took my general lack of response as a sort of emotional timidness, like maybe I was embarrassed because I felt unworthy of his praise. But he IS worthy! he seemed to say to himself. I will show him he is worthy.
And what do you say to a soul like that? How do you turn that sweetness and purity away? Suddenly I realized that mothers DO raise their sons to be this man - a human being who, reduced to his basest instincts and vocabulary, wanted to lift up those around him.
So I was trapped. The Love Bomber had found his target.
When all was said and done I tried and tried but I couldn’t find anything to say that meant both “I’m flattered” and “leave me alone forever,” so I just cried on the inside and wished you could kick someone out of a bar for loving you too much. And when the Love Bomber did finally stumble out the door, and his couch instantly filled up with several more functional listeners, I thanked my lucky stars that all that positivity was behind me.