I’m coming out of the closet
After years of concealing my true nature and hiding certain proclivities from even my closest friends, I’m coming out of the closet.That’s right, I’m a John Denver fan.OK, I’m not one of those hold-hands-in-the-park-and-warble “Sunshine on My Shoulders” kind of fans. I never argue about which fans are more faithful to his message or his memory, and I don’t care if the gathering in Aspen this weekend is better than the one held recently in Salida or not. In fact, I was as amused as the next Aspenite by the recent slew of letters to the editor of this newspaper debating these “issues.”Still, my vinyl days were marked by a healthy stack of his albums, replaced now by one two-CD set. Until recently, I kept it hidden in the closet. If I took it out to play, I closed the windows, shut the blinds, turned the lights down low and plugged my headphones into the stereo.Oddly, being a John Denver fan in Aspen feels a little bit like voting for Richard Nixon in ’72. Everybody voted for Nixon (he swept every state but one, and the District of Columbia), but later, after the Watergate fiasco and his resignation, everyone insisted it wasn’t their ballot that put him in office. Yeah, right.If you voted in 1972, chances are you voted for Nixon. And if you listened to the radio, you were singing along to “Rocky Mountain High,” even if you won’t admit it now. When I moved to Aspen, I figured I was landing at the epicenter of John Denver’s fan base. Instead, I found myself surrounded by tie-dyed-in-the-wool Grateful Dead fans, to whom I dared not babble excitedly when I actually encountered John Denver around town. This was the guy I saw at my first real concert. His music inspired me to learn to play the guitar. I even wore wire-rimmed granny glasses, not because of John Denver, but because looking stupid was chic in the early ’70s (hence, polyester bell-bottoms).So anyway, when he grinned at me once on the sidewalk here – I’m sure he was looking at me, not the cute chick behind me, in his convertible – I thought living in Aspen was way cool.But I played it cool, lest I be tossed in rehab and forced to listen to Phish bootlegs to fill up my senses with something a little more up to date.I eventually bought a Phish CD, and added some Grateful Dead to my collection, but they’re mostly just for show. I’ve pulled John Denver out of the closet and proudly placed him on my CD shelf, where his presence has already elicited one appalled groan from a companion.If my neighbors complain, I’ll turn up the volume.Janet Urquhart isn’t admitting she liked the Carpenters once, too. Her e-mail is email@example.com
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