My Darling Barry Manilow~
I love you! You may not believe this, but I have been a closet Fanilow since early high school! Even in the face of the late nineties and the Can’t Hardly Wait generation! For awhile, there was that age old and quite useless debate over whether MANDY had been written about a woman or about a dog . . . and my money was always on the dog!
Still while the other kids were listening to Sublime and Everclear, watching TRL and wearing red Yankees hats, I was going home every day and listening to COPACABANA! Sometimes I’d merengue or do the Macarena, sometimes I’d wear pink and yellow feathers in my hair . . . but I digress! This is not a fan letter!
I am really only writing you because I wish for you to send me ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Honest.
Now hold on! Hold on, Mr. Manilow! Before you jump ship, let me explain: it’s my summer blogging project, I have decided to write millionaires until someone out there somewhere in the night sends me ONE MILLION DOLLARS! It has to happen, it’s bound to happen! I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t happen and you can’t stop reading before I get to the part where I find a bunch of new and exciting ways to blame YOU for all my problems! That’s the best part!
This one’s for YOU, Mr. Manilow!
We’re not just two ships passing in the night, you old dog, you. About three years ago, my mom won tickets to a Barry Manilow concert in Jacksonville, Florida and of course, I’d have wrung her neck had she so much as considered taking anyone else! I really AM a big fan. We had truly, truly crappy seats, yet it mattered not! I was in the same room with greatness! With the one and only Barry Manilow! I shall remember it all of my life!
I can still see you standing on stage, bopping about in a metallic purple disco suit, throwing glitter in my face and shouting directly at me in sing song:
“BRIANNE SLOAN! This is BARRY MANILOW! If you are getting up every day and going to a job you hate, don’t DO that anymore! I never did things I did not want to do and look at what wonderful, magical things have happened to me! Now I’m BARRY MANILOW!”
Or something like that.
After you said all this, you mumbled some faint apology about how you didn’t want to be responsible on Monday when everyone quit their jobs, but you were too late! I wasn’t listening by then! Barry Manilow (THE Barry Manilow!) had just stood on the stage, telling me exactly what I wanted to hear! At Jacksonville Veteran’s Memorial Arena! In front of God and everybody:
“BRIANNE SLOAN! Get rid of all your backup plans! Write books all day! RISK EVERYTHING!”
I decided right then and there that was what I was going to do! We’re talking nanoseconds! I hardly even saw your go go dancers anymore, there was too much glitter in my eyes! At that moment, you and I were ONE, Barry Manilow! It was US! You and me! TOGETHER! We were just alike, you and I! YOU wrote the songs! *I* wrote the stories! You liked to make money! I liked to spend money! Peas in a pod! We were practically the same person!
(Well. Had you been born a woman. With no musical ability whatsoever.)
Of course I trusted you. Who wouldn’t trust you? You’re Barry Manilow, a cultural icon! You’ve sold upwards of eighty million records, you’ve played concerts around the world! By the time you were my age, you were already stuck on Band Aid Brand and you were State Farm’s good neighbor! No, that’s an understatement! You were State Farm’s GREAT neighbor! You helped McDonald’s tell all of America it deserved a break and I ask you this:
Doesn’t BRIANNE SLOAN deserve a break today?
Let’s be honest. By the time I went to your concert, I was already ten grand in the hole, but after listening to YOUR crackpot advice? WOW! Ten grand turned to sixty in no time, the debt came along just like a song! You’ve never seen anyone shop like this, I started immediately! I did not even wait for the concert to be over before I went downstairs and loaded up on drinks! The big kind, of course, in the commemorative glass!
Twelve bucks a pop! I must have had eight of those.
Then after that, there was no stopping me. I went SHOPPING. I SHOPPED for years.
The end result was nothing I ever saw coming, but all my credit cards were snatched away at once. So cruel! So quick! There was an angry season of volatile phone calls and hate mail and process servers, but I did not pay it much mind. There were lawsuits and telemarketers and I could ignore all that . . . it was just some of the old songs and I knew all the steps; I changed my phone number and called it a day.
What I couldn’t ignore was the hurricane, whirling like a cyclone in my town.
Ouch. I didn’t see that one coming either.
It was October, 2016, late for a hurricane to be sure. Still it was major, a Category 5. We never get storms like this, what we do is heed the warnings, then go have bonfires on the beach and do rain dances on sewers, that sort of thing. I didn’t think it could happen to me, the State of Florida had simply cried wolf too many times!
I was off on a writing binge, I had no time to hurricane proof and if I had, I doubt it would have mattered. This storm was so far beyond hurricane proofing, any efforts my town would make proved to be more or less futile. My roof collapsed, I had 26 inches of water damage and if you think the British did a number on St. Augustine back in the sixteen hundreds, you should have seen what Hurricane Matthew did to the Nation’s Oldest City in 2016!
I made it through the rain, Barry Manilow! I managed to save my little dachshund too, but all the Prada and Chanel? All that designer junk I hadn’t paid for yet? When daybreak finally rolled around one week later, no matter how much I wanted to believe, it was absolutely time to grieve!
All the Gucci and Michael Kors and every single shoe I owned? Gone! All gone!
But WAIT a second! Do I still have to pay for all that crap?
Well. According to Capital One, I do. I came home six months later to find out Capital One had sued me for some measly, laughable amount while I was waiting for my house to be rebuilt! What a fine how do ‘ya do that was! Now I can’t laugh and I can’t sing, I’m finding it hard to do anything.
But it’s all right, Barry Manilow! I have a plan, a glorious plan! I’M ready to take a chance again, ready to put my pride on the line! If all this works out the way I think it’s going to, it could be magic! It starts with YOU giving me ONE MILLION DOLLARS in exchange for, um . . . nothing!
Yet it won’t stay nothing for long! You may not be able to see it now, but just imagine what *I* will turn around and give the world! My talent is for words not music, but a dreamer is a dreamer, Mr. Manilow! Behold!
It’ll be a miracle! A true rainbow colored spectacle! A miracle come true!
Someone once told me that we dreamers have our ways of facing rainy days and somehow we survive. We keep the feelings warm, protect them from the storm until our time arrives . . . and hopefully *this* dreamer’s time is NOW.
Sometimes I may feel afraid! Yet I am aiming beyond the clouds and rising above the crowds! I’m starting my OWN parade.
Barry Manilow! My parade just needs some start up capital please!
Sweet Manilow, I’ve come to you! The answer to all questions I can find! Hopefully my spirit will move you high up where the stallion meets the sun! I am only looking for ONE MILLION DOLLARS; isn’t that a relatively small feat? After all the magic and miracles you’ve bestowed upon the world in your time?
After the joy you’ve brought to billions? The joy you’ve brought to ME? ONE MILLION DOLLARS should be nothing to you, but to ME?! *ME*? You can’t even begin to comprehend what it would mean to me! I could pay everyone everything I owe them and then some! Debt shall never chain me again!
Then I bet I could even take some time off to write! Fly off for a weekend in New Guinea and dedicate all my books to you: To Barry Manilow, who helped me make it through the rain!
Now have a great daybreak, Barry Manilow! Think about this as long as you need to, I will be waiting right here for when you call just to say you love me~ or at least when you just call to say you loved my letter. I’ve deserved a break for so long, so why not NOW? Why not TODAY?
This letter is MY American Handstand! Hey! Mr. Dick Clark agrees he’ll give it at least a seventy five . . . which is about a million after taxes.
And baby, there’ll be dancing in the streets! Mr. Manilow, I can’t smile without YOU!!!
Yours in a Worldwide Symphony!
P.S. I am deathly allergic to Band Aid Brand Band Aids. Just sayin’.