World’s Biggest Fan | HumorOutcasts

World’s Biggest Fan

March 15, 2018

I’ve been in love with the same woman for 45 years. Please don’t tell my wife.

Actually, my wife knows.

At the age of 15, I remember being mystified by classmates who acted gaga over particular celebrities. Then I heard Olivia Newton-John sing. I’ve never been mellow since.

In 1973 I was delivering The Daily Sun when “Let Me Be There” started playing on my bicycle-handlebar-mounted transistor radio. (Yes, there were such things, and I had one.) Despite the limitations of my sound equipment, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything more wonderful. I was enraptured. I was gone. And I had an epiphany: “Oh, this is what it feels like to be a fan. This is what it feels like to be hopelessly devoted to a doomed-to-be-unrequited love.”

Now, from a decades-later perspective, I’ve learned the wisdom that one should never start anything that could be considered a “collection.” But at 15, I was not wise. The next day I bought my first Olivia Newton-John 45 record and began a collection that now includes 15 vinyl albums, 4 cassette tapes (in a box under the house), 9 CDs, a Betamax recording of Two of a Kind, 4 VHS videos and films, 3 DVD videos and films, 4 oversized concert programs, a sheet music book, a box full of newspaper and magazine clippings, 2 T-shirts (one with an iron-on image of Olivia), an empty plastic bag from Koala Blue (Olivia’s short-lived clothing store), and a whole folder of materials exclusively for members of her official fan club. (Yes, there was such a thing, and I joined it.) I also used to have several beautiful wall posters but lost them in a leaky-ceiling accident, and I once had several 45s but ruined them during a termite-situation panic. (Don’t ask.)

Some of my teen friends also fell for Olivia but not as early as I did. I considered them Olivia Newton-Johnny-come-lately’s. We all went to see her live in concert in Atlanta, but our seats were about a hundred rows back. Though we saw her, she didn’t see us, which only intensified our pangs.

So we hatched a brilliant plan. More of a fantasy than a plan, really, but it gave us a kind of hope. Four of us would go out to Malibu, where Olivia had a house, and hang around on the beach as long as it took for us to casually encounter her. One of us would act as the villain and accost her in some obnoxious manner, perhaps by yelling at her, “Hey, Olivia, let’s get physical” or “Let me hear your body talk.” At this point the other three of us would show up and rescue the songstress in distress by giving our cohort the drubbing of his life. Olivia, then, would of course invite her heroes back to her place. The only thing that stood between me and unimaginable bliss was Tim’s, Mike’s, and Bobby’s unwillingness to take on the beaten-to-a-pulp bad guy role. The selfish bastards.

I’ve been to five of Olivia’s concerts, the last one a few years ago. The expensive ticket was a gift from a good friend who knows of my continuing soft spot for a certain saucy Aussie with a still-angelic voice. At the concert Olivia asked us to stand if we’d ever seen Grease, and I leapt to my feet. She asked us to remain standing if we’d seen it more than ten times, and I had to sit down. At the end, one man remained standing, claiming he’d seen the movie “more than a hundred times.” The bastard.

I saw a photo of Olivia and John Travolta in People magazine a few weeks ago. They were celebrating a 40-year Grease retrospective, and, I admit, I didn’t cut the photo out. In fact, I haven’t cut any clippings in years. I realize it’s barely possible that I’m not Olivia’s absolutely biggest fan in the world ever.

But in case you’re reading this, Olivia, I don’t want to miss this chance to sayI love you. I honestly love you.

Bill Spencer

Bill Spencer's humor writing has been published by Funny Times, Narrative magazine, Reader's Digest, The Sun, The Inconsequential, Clever magazine, Defenestration, The Short Humour Site, Hobo Pancakes, and Nuthouse. He has also published scholarly articles on the novels of Cormac McCarthy and is co-author of an unproduced screenplay, "Angel Pays a Visit." He lives in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife, artist-poet Carolyn Elkins.

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2 Responses to World’s Biggest Fan

  1. Bill Y "The Legendary Legend" Ledden
    March 18, 2018 at 8:50 am

    45 years, age of 15, 1973, 45 record..

    I’m trying to work out your age.
    This is gonna take a while.

    • Bill Spencer
      March 18, 2018 at 10:04 am

      Just this year I became a sexagenarian.

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