my first and last

Photographer Unknown

It was the mid 80s. I was 18 years old. I was working at a local video store renting out videos for a Prince height Italian man whose accent betrayed his birthplace, which was clearly not Italy. He was a Bronx born Italian, who mixed Americanized Italian with yiddish insults. When I didn’t move to his liking, he would look at me and let slip, fongool, from his lips. Back then I didn’t know what it meant, but it was clearly an insult and an expression of his disgust with my perceived inability to return the videos back to the shelves in a timely manner. At other times, I would get a well timed, mashugana.

At the time, Blockbuster didn’t exist in New York. It would be several years after I worked at that Mom and Pop video store before Blockbuster would open in the very same plaza where I worked. They took the corner lot, several stores away from the old video store.

It was at my local video store that I would meet many amazing people. One woman, who was a Prince fanatic and often told me that her and her boyfriend had an understanding that if she ever met Prince, she would no doubt have sex with him. She told me that her boyfriend understood and accepted his fate if she were to meet Prince in a private space. She was deadly serious and made no bones about it.

One day she came to me and said she acquired tickets to a Prince concert and wanted me to go with her. She was excited about attending and wildly flipped her dusty blonde hair with childlike enthusiasm.

Here I am, nearly 30 years later, remembering my excitement and feeling it all over again. It was the first concert I had ever been to. And from that day to this one, I have never been to another concert. Prince’s concert was one of the richest and most rewarding experiences of my life.

Seeing him on stage reminded me of how beautiful, creative and talented humanity could be when not focused on the negative aspects of our psyche. He was the consummate entertainer, working his instruments like a champ. He almost floated across the stage and exuded a fluidity that was captivating, mesmerizing and hypnotizing. He was simply amazing.

I left the concert feeling satisfied and truthfully never imagined that I would never attend another concert in my life. It genuinely just happened, and I have no idea why.

Prince was my first and last. Now he’s gone. I weep purple tears.


my first and last was originally published on zaji

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