I know very little about Paul Simon’s life. Jewish, New Yorker, married to Edie Brickell. That’s about it. So it’s fitting that last night while that boring SNL 40th Anniversary special was on TV and I sat in front of it vaguely paying attention while mostly reading the Internet that my brain decided that whenever I see Paul Simon I’ll be taken aback, and quickly feel the loss of the biological father I never met.
That’s probably the last time I’ve talked about him and his death with anyone, maybe even the Internet.
But last night as Paul Simon stood on stage at 30 Rockefeller Center singing “Crazy All These Years” my stomach lurched and my eyes filled with tears. Well, this is unexpected, I thought as the tear shimmered in my eyes and fell down my cheeks.
It makes perfect sense that a diminutive New York Jew would serve as the surrogate imaginary father for the 6’3″ ginger soldier who was my actual biological father. The two things I know most about him, the man called Skip, is that I look exactly like him and he loved Simon & Garfunkel. In fact, according to one of the seven things my mom ever told me about him, “Sounds of Silence” was his all-time favorite song. Or at least it was before he dumped her because he didn’t want children.
Last night as Paul Simon sang and I cried, I decided I was going to pretend it was always his favorite song up until he died and that even sometimes when he heard it he thought of that woman he knocked up in the seventies and wondered what that girl she had was like. In my wildest fantasies I will pretend like I got my Google inquisitiveness from him and that maybe he knew all about me by reading I Will Dare until the day he died.
It’s totally possible, right?
It’s also totally possible that I might burst into tears whenever I hear Paul Simon sing from now until I die, because probably human brains and hearts have no idea how to ever deal with the death of a man you never met but who is responsible for your life and the ocean of regret that comes with being too chicken to ever introduce yourself his whole life.