A tit for tat inside the nine circles

“That fucking Justin Timberlake should burn in hell.”

If the following statement got your attention, imagine how felt considering I was sitting right next to the fellow who uttered this curiously hateful dig in the middle of an otherwise placid coffee break. It’s curiously hateful to me, because I can’t imagine anyone could possess that much hatred of Justin Timberlake. The dude seems imminently likable, and I’d probably feel that way even if he dumped me for Jessica Biel; considering she’s way hotter than me.

I was faced with a dilemma, not unfamiliar to those of us who pay attention to breaking news that’s actually breaking news. I could stay put and learn where all this enmity for Timberlake was coming from, or I could take my coffee and get to stepping before some bad shit went down. I never considered running, because I figured that would only have made the bad shit happen a lot more quickly.

And so I remained in my seat, sipping at my coffee whilst anticipating what the nut job in the next seat over was talking about. I’m not proud of the fact that I was prioritizing his explanation while forsaking my personal safety, but I’m guessing it has something to do with a writer’s DNA. Sad to say.

Then it happened, he began his explanation. Initially, I was relieved he wasn’t screaming about the voices in his head and I was even more relieved that his missives weren’t dressed up in metal jackets. To the contrary, he was rather calm and collected in his approach. When I thought about it, a calm and collected bat shit crazy fellow with a celebrity grudge kinda did seem scarier. Even if a screaming bat shit crazy fellow with a celebrity grudge is pretty fucking scary too. Yanno what? Both.

“You might be wondering why I think Justin Timberlake should burn in hell.”

Personally, I was overflowing with a morbid curiosity as to how an event which occurred thirteen years ago could be used as a conversation starter. In need of an exorcism. I can’t see wishing anybody eternal damnation. Not even Marie Osmond.

Then it occurred to me that the person sitting with him was an unsettling individual in her own right because, really . . if you’re an associate of the dude in the tin foil hat, then you too should be fitted for a tin foil hat, and restraints. Unless you’re a vastly underpaid mental health babysitter who is just trying to get through the day without becoming the lead story.

“Well, do you remember that Super Bowl halftime show with Janet Jackson where they showed her nipple and everybody turned her into a villain?” He asked his friend (hostage?).

What? Dude, I can’t figure out whether you’re even dumber than you are nutty, so I’m gonna say it’s too close to call!

I didn’t actually say that, I simply thought that.

“So people hated her while Justin Timberlake became a star!” He said with a full throttled indignation befitting a person who watches reality television for a living, without actually making a living out of it.

“He’s a fucking star and Janet Jackson disappeared!” He continued. There were more words, laden with clueless adjectives and mindless observations that were the conversational equivalent of daily marijuana use; the only difference being his words were killing my brain cells without any payoff whatsoever.

Alright, Spam brain . . for one thing Janet Jackson was vilified by peeps who should’ve been banished to that village in the M. Night movie for having their heads up their puritanical asses. And for another thing, Timberlake wasn’t one of those peeps. And not for nothing, she was deified by dudes such as myself for the moment AND the moments after it when she didn’t bow to the bashing but confronted it head on. Oh, and the album she launched after the controversy overcame the initial backlash to go platinum. And YouTube was born as a result! And what? Justin Timberlake’s master plan was to loose her areola so’s he could catapult into stardom? Because I don’t remember the part where he was a Walmart employee before Janet’s boob went solid gold viral. So why don’t you finish your coffee and head back to your padded apartment Chachi? 

Again, I didn’t actually say any of that.

The episode did make me realize just how costly the price of fame really is. You have the paparazzi who scavenge your personal life for morsels and you have to deal with the fickle nature of executives who bottom line your talents into a little glass jar. You have to navigate trolls and bloggers and Kelly Ripa without a safety net. And if you’re really lucky, you never come face to face with a nut job who hopes you burn in hell for something that happened thirteen years ago.

Cary Grant had it easy.

(Note: If you’re simply interested in doing some research into this ancient history of a conversation gone wrong, it’s at 4:06.)

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18 thoughts on “A tit for tat inside the nine circles

    • Yes, I’m glad it turned out that way, lol. I didn’t push my luck though, I stayed long enough to figure out what in the hell he was talking about, after which I got to stepping. It;s that cranky writer’s DNA that kept me in my seat until I had a reason for his Timberlake hatred.

      Thank you 4am!

  1. I don’t know…maybe just for being a pop star…but even then burning in hell is a bit harsh. Anyway, Timberlake was already performing at the half time show so I’d say he was doing pretty well as it was.

    • Marissa,

      You, like me, are trying to apply logical to the illogical. This dude was really feeling what he was saying. He was plenty fine with Timberlake burning in hell. I attempted a list of reasons for wanting someone to burn in hell and I couldn’t get past the first one. Like, if he shot my dog. But here’s the thing, I wouldn’t WISH the person eternal damnation, I’d probably send them off myself!

      This fellow was probably a troll without internet.

  2. Man, you get all the interview opportunity breaks. I sit and have coffee and no on says shit. Not a word, just slurping and questions like, “you think it’s gonna rain?”Of course, I don’t go out for coffee so I only have myself to blame. Damn nice post. Two super games yesterday. Cowboys/Green Bay and Steelers/Kansas City. Hope you caught them.

    • It was only interesting to me because I didn’t know this person. If someone I know said that stupid shit, I would tell them the what’s what, as in- How can you possibly hate someone that much if they never stole your woman or shot your dog? You just can’t!

      This fellow is walking around out there with bat shit crazy thoughts like this and he’s not alone. Not even close. It’s the tick tock of such a dynamic that riles up my twisted senses. It’s like being a storm chaser of peeps with issues.

      The games were a huge make up for all the blowouts we had been served up. I watch Aaron Rodgers and I think to myself that the Packers have been blessed by the football Gods for more than twenty years now. Two quarterbacks, one of whom is in the Hall of Fame and the other one will be. No wonder Cleveland can’t find a QB, the Packers have been hoarding them! On the Cowboys side, they have their QB of the future. They need to tinker with that D and they will be in the Super Bowl next season. My way too early prediction. I think people are looking past the Falcons though, and I think the Falcons are just fine with that.

      As for your Steelers, I dig the balls it took to throw the ball on third down deep in their own territory late in the game. Unlike KC, Pittsburgh doesn’t play safe,ever. I assume this can be maddening if you root for them, but as an impartial observer, it’s rather endearing. They WILL need to score more than field goals if they hope to win in New England though.

      • Thank you, Pilgrim. A super wrap-up and great explanation of where these teams stand. Not sure why the NFL doesn’t tap you for it’s PR rep. For aSteeler fan the risks taken are endearing as well if not a little scary. Faith is a big component of being a follower of the Steelers. Anyway thanks for taking the time on this response. I enjoyed it.

  3. Oh Cayman…this brought up a lot of good memories for me. I love your writer’s curiosity and prowess.

    I’d forgotten how much I love to watch Janet Jackson – those abs – always had a girl crush on her.
    Your opening line really did catch my eye – who could hate JT that much? I’m a fan – music, acting, humor. I was never a ‘boy band fan’ but liked JT after he emerged.
    The best memory was recalling where I was at during this halftime performance. We were at my husband’s best friend’s (Dion) house. A few short months later, Dion was diagnosed with leukemia and we never had another super bowl party at his house. This was a special day, because I still remember the boy-like joy on his face as he tried and tried and tried to ‘rewind’ back to 4:06. We still laugh about it.
    And now for your listening pleasure – one of my JT favorites: Ironically – my fav of the two songs starts at 4:06

    • Mama,

      I mean, there’s nothing about Justin Timberlake that is hate worthy. He puts on a great show (thanks for the video, solid!), he’s a must watch when he’s on SNL. He’s the Anti-Bieber.

      I love that story, thanks for sharing. I cannot believe that happened thirteen years ago already. And the funniest part is, I bet most people wouldn’t be able to tell you who played in the Nipplegate game. I know it was the Patriots, but even I forget who the other team was, lol.

      As for Mr Crazy Pants, I’m not one to eavesdrop on people’s conversations. But come on, there was no WAY I wasn’t gonna want to hear the explanation for his TImberlake hate. Me sitting there with my overpriced Starbucks drink was like dinner and a movie. Without dinner, or the movie. And yet, still worth it.

      I promise to post on any future crazies at the coffee shop.Hey, there’s a post idea, lol.

      Thanks Mama!

  4. Sometimes being a writer in a coffee shop actually pays off. I’m so glad that writing material just fell in your lap like that. Right place right time and right writer to bring this conversation to life.

    • It was kismet. Krazy Kismet. Something like that. And it helped to turn my attention away from the fact that Starbucks serves up crack- it’s not good for you and you pay a steep price in the long run but you can’t help but do it anyway.

      Thanks Cali!

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