One of Mariah Carey’s CDs is titled “Me. I am Mariah. The Elusive Chanteuse.”
I have come to the woods of Manhattan in search of that most elusive of creatures, one whom I glimpsed once only briefly on TV, her famous (infamous?) 1990 appearance on Saturday Night Live, singing her breakthrough hit “Vision of Love”–Mariah Carey.
Shortly thereafter she disappeared into Central Park, perhaps frightened by her encounter with a national television audience of men marveling at her enormous . . . uh, vocal range, and has never been seen since. Except for Grammy Award ceremonies and an occasional feature-length motion picture.
But these are all unverified sightings, and who knows, they may turn out to be fake, like the infamous Roger Patterson/Robert Gimlin film of Bigfoot.
Like Bigfoot a/k/a Sasquatch, Mariah goes by a pseudonym–“Mimi”–to avoid detection. It’s been reported that she was seen on American Idol, but by the last season nobody watched it anymore, so I don’t put much credence in such claims. Hey, unless you get it on tape it didn’t happen, and I still haven’t figured out how to work Tivo.
I’ve been told that the best spots to catch a glimpse of the woman who occupies the #2 spot on VH1’s list of 100 Greatest Women in Music–and yet remains so elusive!–are the pricier luxury stores. Mimi apparently has a voracious appetite for jewelry, furs and the finest tchotchkes that money can buy. She can reportedly be lured from her lair–and try saying that five times fast–by a gaudy bauble.
I have accordingly come armed with a walnut-sized cubic zirconium from Service Merchandise–the web-based 2.0 iteration, not the brick-and-mortar version that folded in 2002. The new Service Merchandise always has high quality products at the best prices, and I’m not above a little product placement if it helps me defray the high overhead of my cryptozoological expeditions.
I stake out the entrace to Harry Winston Diamonds and make myself comfortable leaning against a lampost while I chew on a Nature Valley Granola Bar. The elusive creature has a weird, scintillating mating call that spans a five-octave range. Her multiplatinum albums are often issued in “For Dogs Only” versions that can’t be heard by humans like you and me.
I crouch down behind a solar-powered trash compactor and listen for the best-selling ringtone of all-time, created from this secretive creature’s monster holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas is You.” It’s quiet–too quiet–and a sense of ominous foreboding washes over me through the din of the traffic, here in this City of Contradictions.
And then–I see her! The glare from her diamond earrings blinds me momentarily, but I recover and make a bee-line for the entrance. Unfortunately, bees don’t fly in straight lines, and so it’s several minutes before I catch up to her.
“Ms. Carey–yoo hoo!” I cry after her.
“Yes?” she asks with that sultry, seductive voice that has won the hearts of millions, along with 17 World Music Awards, 31 Billboard Music Awards, a Nobel Prize for Best Female Vocalist and the NHL’s Lady Byng Award.
“I’ve got a little present for you,” I say as I extend the cubic zirconium to her in the hope that I’ll distract her long enough to get a picture, since my dial-up access to her website is so slow.
“You weren’t kidding when you said ‘little,’ were you?” she asks rhetorically. That’s something we may have in common, I think, since I studied Aristotle’s Rhetoric in college.
“Well, it’s not much,” I say as I sidle around her in an attempt to get a photobomb I can sell to The National Enquirer.
Before I can push the button–I can never remember whether it’s on the top or the bottom–one of her bodyguards has me down on the ground and has wrestled my phone from me.
“C’mon,” I say. “I’m just trying to earn a living in the competitive world of paparazzi-dom.”
“No can do,” the bruiser says as he smashes my ticket to wealth beyond the dreams of avarice on the concrete pavement. “Opening bid for one of those bad boys on eBay is $14.21.”