Friday, February 4, 2011

A rose by any other name...

Today, for no apparent reason, I found myself thinking about Alice Cooper.

I've never been a big fan, really. The song "School's Out" was always being sung by some of the older kids on the bus on the last day of classes. Fourth grade, fifth grade. And, while it seemed like a catchy tune, it also got a touch repetitive somewhere in between the 20 minute trek between Leda Shishoff Elementary and Thomas Avenue. Usually right around Tuckahoe Road.

Anyway, I'd never given him much thought, and don't know a great deal about him, but somehow or another, I have picked up some random information on the guy over the years. I've learned (somehow) that Alice Cooper put on a stellar live show back in the day, and is a pretty nifty golfer. And apparently Bob Dylan once told Rolling Stone magazine that he thought Alice was not too shabby. Or something.

I've also heard-- and this is what was on my mind today-- that "Alice Cooper" was originally the name of the band, not the man.

Again, no particular reason this popped into my head. Just kinda struck me funny. Y'know, just the thought that, at some point in his life, after a certain amount of gigs and misunderstandings, he had to have this conversation with himself...

"(sigh)... Okay, fine, people, you win. I'm Alice."

It was just easier that way, I guess. People kept calling him Alice, and eventually he just kinda went with it. And I thought that was interesting. Kind of makes me wish I was a cruel, mad scientist of some sort, so I could set up experiments on the topic. Lock somebody up in a room for a bit and repeatedly call them Betty or Leonard or Goldfish until they forgot who they were.

But, and I think this is the part I find the most interesting, did Alice Cooper forget who he was? Does Alice Cooper think of himself as Alice Cooper now, or does he still think of himself as Vincent? Has he spent more of his life as Alice? Would he have always liked to have been Alice? Do his friends back home call him Alice? When people approach him in dreams, what do they call him? Does he regret not naming the band Roger Cooper? When waiting for a table at Cracker Barrel, does he say, "Yes, uh, table for four, please, for Alice?"

When he became Alice Cooper, did he lose his identity? And, if so... is he okay with that?

I suppose it's fascinating to me because, as dreadfully flawed as I am, I quite like being who I am. But, I tend to think that, if I had to change my name to become a world famous rock star or actor or librarian or whatever, it probably wouldn't phase me all that much. I used to be the kid on the schoolbus who was afraid of being called names, but, now I'm a bit like the lady in the Elvis Costello song: "you can call me anything you like, but my name is Veronica."

But, of course, as soon as I put that on the computer screen, I immediately regretted it, thinking that some of you will now start calling me Veronica. So maybe I still don't know what i'm talking about.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) Minature golf. I rock.
2) Elvis Costello.
3) Wikipedia, for letting me know what Alice Cooper's real name was. Who knew?
4) The Eddie Izzard routine about Englebert Humperdink. Classic stuff. It's probably on youtube, but I'm too lazy to look it up at the moment. If anyone finds it, though, don't be shy to put it in the comments, thanks!
5) Leda Shishoff.

Song of the night...
"My Science Fiction Twin" by Elvis Costello

Movie of the night...
"Alice doesn't live here anymore"

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