At a concert last night, an egomaniacal man who has spent the majority of his adult life looking for opportunities to gain widespread acclaim for his own very meager talents expressed indebtedness to the fans who have kept him on the road for the past several years.
“Thanks y’all for coming out. You’re the ones who have made it all happen, so I’m here to play whatever you want to hear tonight,” the man promised before launching into a predetermined set list taped to the stage by a hunchbacked man he employs for the sole purpose of taping papers to the stage. The audience, consisting mostly of people who had sacrificed several days of pay for the pleasure of standing in a sweaty mob at his feet for 90 minutes, eagerly applauded the singer’s obviously unfeigned humility.
“I like him because he seems like a regular person, like he could be one of the guys I work with at the Circle K,” offered longtime fan Sue Haskins, as she paid $5 for a picture of his face at a table set up for the express purpose of selling items featuring images of his face. Haskins added: “The part where he yelled ‘We love you,’ followed by the name of our city, really made me feel like he understands the way people live around here.”
The performer made a point of showing his gratitude throughout the show, as he smiled into the crowd at nobody in particular, bent down some two feet to slap hands that appeared near his boots, and threw disposable plastic guitar picks into the air so that others might chase and fight over them, all to the wild adoration of the crowd.
“It’s really important to me that I give it 110% every night, because I remember what it was like to be one of those people out there in the crowd,” said the man, who last attended a concert as a regular ticket holder in 1988. “The fans are the ones who keep gas in the bus, food on the table, a staff of fourteen employed at my family’s Tennessee country estate. I see them as friends more than anything else… but the sort of friends you never invite over to the house and only see when you need money. I really feel like we have a special connection.”
In the hour before the show, the man reportedly met with select fans backstage to inscribe his name on anything handed to him, poke his head into pictures of other people, and say things like “hi” and “thanks for coming out tonight.” Much of the action was captured by a video crew hired to record endearing moments for an upcoming behind-the-scenes DVD “for and about the fans,” which will be made available to them for $25.