As my college life draws to quickening end, I find myself faced with choices I’ve relished in avoiding for 21 years. Last Sunday, as I watched Alicia Keys belt away some song I don’t particularly like, I pulled back my bright orange hair and asked her softly, “What have I become?”
I found myself suffering from stomach pains, nausea, memory loss, diarrhea and loss of hearing. I spent the night weeping and vomiting, intermittently, trying to find comfort in Queen Latifah’s broad grinning face, Scott Weiland’s plastic stare or Los Lonely Boys’ thoughtful, dare I say profound, incantation, “How far is heaven?”
I wasn’t vomiting from disgust, au contraire. I was vomiting from anxiety: the anxiety a man finds torturing him when he realizes all his dreams, all his aspirations, have been for naught. I had realized I would never be a rock star.
It’s not that I don’t have the talent or the looks — I don’t, but since when has that mattered? It’s not that I don’t love rock and roll — I do, but again, since when has that mattered? And it’s not that I don’t love going on road trips, ingesting large amounts of pills, Jack Daniels, smoke, needle-drugs and passing out with my head in an elevator shaft as the door opens and closes under the gaze of a drunk stripper — never mind.
But never mind all that. The point is that I have lost the will to be a rock star.
For three years now I’ve been convinced that it was my destiny to marry Alicia Keys. We have a great deal in common. She plays the piano, sings like an angel, and hangs out with Mos Def; I’d love to play the piano, sing like an angel, and hang out with Mos Def. She is beautiful; I’d love to be beautiful. She is a rock star, and until recently, I would have loved to be one too. And indeed, I believed it to be the easiest, perhaps only way to win Alicia’s heart.
But then Jamie Foxx entered the picture. He’s not a rock star, yet there he was, his white piano spooning her white piano, singing to her, wailing in thralls of ecstasy on national television. And she was digging it. Of course, there’s nothing going on between the two of them — or so everyone claims. It was just a cheap Hollywood publicity stunt that “you can only see on the Grammys.” But I saw it in her eyes. I knew.
I will remember the moment forever. In a clever, split-second, spontaneous decision that no one else could have ever thought of, Foxx sang “Alicia,” instead of “Georgia,” during “Georgia on My Mind.” Most people didn’t catch what followed next, because it appeared as though she continued the song normally. However, for a brief instant, she looked into the camera. And at that moment, her eyes fixed mine and said, “You see Zander? Jamie “Slow Jamz” Foxx is wooing me on national television. Who do you think you are? You wanted to be a rock star? Go ahead, but I only share the stage with actors who play rock stars. So give up. And stop sending me letters. And no, I do not want my sneakers back, I threw them in the garbage for a reason. Please stop sifting through it.”
And there it was. My heart had been cleft in twain at the very instant that my life goals had been shattered. All by an evil, demented prima donna. I wept some more, took my medication, and went to bed. When I awoke the next day, it was springtime. The weather was warm, the sun was out, the sky was blue. I realized that Lexipro really does work, although it may cause stomach pains, nausea, memory loss, diarrhea, loss of hearing, pregnant women should consult their doctors before getting it shipped to them, the way I do, from a man named El Doctor in Tijuana.
And so, as the week rolls around and we all forget the Grammys ever happened, I too forget. I laugh at my prior life dreams, my world buzzing through the lens of blown-open serotonin gates. I’ve learned my lesson and patiently await graduation, so that I may begin my career in Hollywood as an actor.