A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
Hecklers are a heartbreaking breed, desperate to connect at any cost, positive or negative. Like a kid acting out for attention — even if they get spanked, at least it's contact; even if they get punished, at least they've garnered focus. When I get heckled, I tend to give the heckler what he wants — attention; to be ''mirrored,'' as the shrinks say. Sometimes I do an impression of what they probably won't be saying the next day: ''Oh, man, remember last night when I was like, 'You're f---ing Matt Damon!!'? That was so awesome!'' (Just to be clear, this is by no means encouragement — if the heckler spells trouble or f---s up my timing, they're skillfully escorted out by very subtle yet giant men.)
A guy once just yelled, ''ME!!'' in the middle of my set. It was amazing. This guy's heckle actually directly equaled its heartbreaking subtext — ''me!!'' Another time I was listening to Howard Stern and a young listener called in. He was being an a--hole so Howard hung up on him, but just before he was disconnected I heard him say, real quickly, ''I exist!'' Those were the only two times I ever heard a heckler say what he really, REALLY meant. I am real! Even if I make you mad, Mommy/Daddy, it's still proof — I EXIST!
What follows is an excerpt from the Winter 2021 edition of Middling, my quarterly newsletter on music, books, work, and getting older. I'...