Davy Jones is gone.
My very first crush - the first person I was compelled to stare at obsessively, getting closer to the TV for a better view, wishing I could reach into the tiny Panasonic and hold his hand - is gone.
No matter that I was watching a person that didn't actually exist except through the magic of reruns. No matter. He existed for me. And I loved him.
It doesn't matter where you stand on the Beatles vs. Monkees debate or how you feel about pre-fab bands or whether or not they played their own instruments; the bigger truth is that Davy Jones played a much bigger role than that. He was the manboy who launched a thousand crushes.
And when I say a thousand, I mean ten million.
I cut my musical teeth on the Monkees. Given my memories of the surroundings when I started watching the show, I was less than 3 years old. This must have laid a foundation for a fondness for bubblegum pop that continues to this day, from the Partridge Family to Shaun Cassidy to Andy Gibb to Rick Springfield to Hanson to 'Nsync to Justin Bieber, I love them all. I could listen to "Mmmbop" on repeat and dinner would never get on the table.
The musical montage became the lens through which I viewed the world. I wanted to live my life in a musical montage. I still want to live my life in a musical montage. Every once in a while, maybe on vacation, maybe in a convertible with the ocean to my right, I'll have a musical montage moment..........and I'll play a song in my head. I'll put my hand on my head and smile at the ocean like it's playing along, too. And then I'll throw my head back and laugh with no sound coming out while the scenery races by, my friends and/or lover laughing silently, too. Then we throw things at each other.
Sometimes, a song will come on the radio that perfectly matches the musical montage moment in the car; usually it's a more pensive, happiness-filled moment perfectly matched by "Harvest Moon" or "Only You" or "Life in a Northern Town". And I hold the moment delicately, with no sound coming out of our mouths, so I can savor it. My very own musical montage.
Although the hilarity-ensues-style montage is my favorite. Teen idols getting chased by angry authority figures, bumbling and running until they prevail and outsmart the squares who are cramping their style. The creator of the musical montage figured out that boys are cuter when they're running and laughing. Oh so cute. It breaks my heart, the cuteness of it all.
Liam watches Big Time Rush every morning at breakfast. And every morning, I leave the toaster and run to his side when it's time for the musical montage. And I keep my eyes on Kendall the whole time because he's so damn cute when he's running and laughing. So damn cute. And you don't have to point out that I'm well past the age at which I should develop crushes on fictional people who are less than half my age. If I saw Kendall on the street, I wouldn't look twice. But put him in a musical montage and I'm in love.
For this, you can thank Davy Jones. The imprint of loving him while he laughed and ran away from the squares, accompanied by an awesome pop tune, must have etched a pattern on my being that I can't shake - even after 17 years of marriage and no actual crushes since the 1980's.
A co-worker from long ago told me about her daughter's crush on Leonardo diCaprio; how she was madly, truly, seriously in love with him. And how she didn't treat her daughter's crush lightly. She had done some research on teen idol crushes and found that this is a purely female phenomenon that prepares young girls for real life relationships. Completely unattainable, these objects of desire are a mere warm-up. It's a safe context in which to have your heart broken. It's practice love.
So now that I've had plenty of experience with actual love with real-life people, why do I still race away from the toaster to watch the boys from Big Time Rush?
Such is the power of the musical montage. And the indelible imprint of the first crush. An honor that doesn't fade just because other crushes come and go and then you fall in love with real people who love you back. The first crush is a milestone that travels with you in the form of a personal theme song and an unrealized tattoo singing "Daydream Believer" around the wrist like a bracelet.
Rest in peace, Davy. Long live your tambourine. And your maracas.
Just because you're gone doesn't mean I'll stop loving you.