You may have noticed that I have strong worshipful feelings towards Jack White. In a nutshell, I believe Jack is the most earthshatteringly important person in the world of music, the first real god to come along in decades, a brilliant and prolific musician, and basically all kinds of wonderful. There is no one else of his generation who I’d put on a par with people like Bowie, Jagger, et al. So you see, I have a major obsession going on. Perhaps it’ s because most of my favorite stars were already past their prime by the time I was even born, but I feel insanely lucky to have at least one person whose career I can follow in real time. The reason I have to say all this is because Jack White officially owns my soul. He signed for it and everything. I’ve been sitting on this story this whole time, waiting for the appropriate moment and now it’s time the tale were told.
It was the week of 9/11, 2006, coincedentally the second time I’d booked a New York City vacation for that particular time of the year. It was, as should be, a splendiferous vacation, with the money saved by staying in a $20-a-night hostel going towards thrice-daily adventures in world cuisine. A large sum of New York’s appeal is the constant thrilling possibility of catching the scent of fame and encountering historic events. I had once come close to witnessing a historic event, but missed it by days, and my people watching had yielded the weird and beautiful but never the well known. The day was begun with a fortifyingly educational jaunt to the Natural History Museum, where I was sorely let down by lack of giant squid exhibits. The plan was to then head south through the park while thinking of what the next item to eat would be. Under an archway, I joined a crowd watching what turned out to be the bizarre performance artist Thoth, who was once the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, and if not exactly a qualified star at least someone known to me. I didn’t watch the whole show. Too weird, I thought, but felt satisfied to have had some small brush with fame. Moving along, thinking about what to eat and where to eat it, I heard music. I thought it sounded like a band practise, and I thought it sounded like a lousy band, because the beat was off. The drumming was irregular and slow, but I gravitated towards it. I found a small film crew set up underneath a patch of trees. The odd nature of the music made sense; the drummer was playing in an approximation of slow motion, accompanied by a strummed guitar. The closer I got, the more intensely familiar the guitar player appeared. He looked, I decided, a lot like Jack White. There was a moment of doubt and second guessing my own senses, and I realized that I was actually standing a few feet away from the living, breathing, actual Jack White. I hadn’t felt a purer jolt of delight since I was a child. I had forgotten that it was even possible to feel so strongly. It was surreal in the utmost, to say it mildly. So they played and they filmed, and I gawked and I marveled. Then they called break and the crew dispersed somewhat, and I found Jack sitting under the tree with a cup of coffee, and I knew that if I didn’t jump in and approach him I would regret it every minute of every day of the rest of my life. Jump-off-the-bridge moments like that don’t come along very often, and when they do, it’s best to jump. So I jumped. I have little recollection of anything I said, except I’m pretty sure I told him the gist of what I’ve written above, that is, I told him how great he was, and he seemed to appreciate it, that is, he was extremely, extremely nice. I had him sign my Natural History Museum flyer (yellow), which he thought was a parking ticket, which was funny, and which has not left my wallet from that day forth. I’ll show it to you sometime. I do think I kept it together and didn’t sound like too much of an idiot, and I did back off and leave him to his coffee in a polite manner. It did take several hours afterwards for me to stop shaking and stuttering. For the record, in person, Jack White is tall and has huge muscles, and his hair is shiny and he’s really really nice and gorgeous and muscular and cute and very friendly and nice. And so forth. Since then I’ve seen him in concert a couple of times and he never fails to blow me away, and it really makes it special to know that he’s really real. That was undoubtedly the apex of my life so far. That I once had a whole five minutes of Jack White’s undivided attention can only be the final proof of God’s love. And that is why Jack White owns my soul, and I will continue to write up slavishly flattering blog posts about him for as long as we both continue to exist.
P.S. It later turned out that the video they were filming was Broken Boy Soldier, and that the director was none other than my beloved Floria Sigismondi, who I’m sure was also present that day in the park, but since I had no idea what she looks like, and still don’t, I have no way of knowing.