I stand outside the backdoor of our 1970s colonial: green aluminum siding, a two car garage, and a massive oak tree out back. Mom and Dad aren’t home so I take my very first cigarette from my pocket – it’s a Kool. I light it, inhale its mentholated smoke, and am not sure whether to faint or vomit. I know that I am on the verge of middle class cool. As I fight the urge to up-chuck the bologna sandwich I had for lunch, I see a jet plane streak across the blue sky. Thoughts of local cool fall from my head like cement galoshes. As the jet plane fades into the distance, I consider my sister’s offer to join her in New York.
It’s 1983 and she’s looking for back-dancers to perform with her at night-clubs around the city. It seems she’s written a song called “Everybody.” I have yet to hear it, but what the hell, with a lot of faith, hope, and a deep phobia of burnt orange and avocado green I am on that jet plane to New York. And now, some 20 years later, fate, talent, and a hell of a lot of hard work have set this table that my sister and I now sit at. It’s her home in Beverly Hills, 90210. She sits no more than inches away from me, her two children rampant underfoot, her husband Guy off making a movie. While fame constantly lurks like a hooker with a heart of gold, the planet has become her paradise and prison. So we eat lunch – me and my sister, Madonna.
Madonna: Is this your barley tea?
Christopher: Yes, but I haven’t had any of it yet.
Madonna: [In British accent] It’s very good.
Christopher: I haven’t been sleeping well.
Christopher: I don’t know why, it started after that first Kabbalah class you invited me to.
Madonna: I haven’t slept very well myself, but I usually get G-ed up right before I’m about to do something, and I have terrible insomnia anyway.
Christopher: Um, it could be the book [The Power of Kabbalah] you gave me. I’m used to reading books before I got to sleep and having them put me to sleep, and this one is…
Madonna: I know.
Christopher: I put it down and I’m thinking – okay, the curtain, the universe, the window, the drapes. I’m like, fuck.
Madonna: Welcome to my world, okay? Because that’s what my world consists of now, but the thing is, once you start processing the information in the book it’s not so stimulating in an irritating way.
Christopher: What’s that?
Madonna: It’s gomasio. It’s got sesame seeds and a little bit of salt.
Christopher: It was interesting. The more I read the book, the more a lot of what Eitan [the Kabbalah instructor] was saying at the meeting makes sense to me.
Christopher: There are some things that I’m thoroughly confused about, like the start of the universe.
Madonna: The big bang theory, uh huh.
Christopher: I understand what that means, but in reference to where we come from, I’m not sure why it started. I’ll have to ask you about that.
Madonna: Yeah, well ask away.
Christopher: Now what’s this stuff?
Madonna: It’s also salad dressing. It’s very good. The thing is, you’ll think – oh well, this doesn’t go with the theory of evolution and all that, but in fact it does – it’s all very scientific.