This email group is comprised of roughly 30 people, only four of whom I know in real life. I've learned, though, that some of these people are pretty funny.
A few months ago, somebody started a thread titled "Bono is a dick". That thread was inspired by a video over at the Onion's AV Club page, in which a panel of guys talk about Rockumentaries that make their subjects look like dicks. Of course, they discuss Phil Joanou's "Rattle and Hum", which documented U2 during their tour in support of the The Joshua Tree album. Indeed, the whole band come off like jackasses in the movie, and none more so than Bono. Although our discussion went into other documentaries and rock-star dicks, it focused almost entirely on Bono. At some point, the founder of our email club chimed in:
I still like the band just fine. But, yes, Bono is a dick. Such a lovable dick, though! I just want to hug him sometimes.
This was the genesis of the zinger : "Go hug a dick!", used whenever someone is being an asshole. Also, since then, Bono been re-named "the Huggable Dick"
Just a couple of days ago, a strange story came out of Vancouver. U2 were in Western Canada, and after a show in Winnipeg, they went on to Edmonton. For some reason, they decided to set up camp in Vancouver. It doesn't make any sense, but that's how the story goes. Bono and his "assistant" went out for a walk and it started to rain. The next part requires a good deal of suspension of disbelief... Having no other option, Bono decided to hitchhike. He didn't call The Edge. He didn't call one of the thousands of tour workers. He didn't seek shelter. He decided to hitchhike. According to the story, he was picked up by Edmonton Oilers star Gilbert Brule, who was driving to a park to take a walk with his dog and his girlfriend. It was evidently raining too hard for Bono to take a walk, but not hard enough for Brule to cancel his. Anyway, if you suspend the multiple layers of disbelief and accept the fact that Brule gave Bono a ride, we can move on. I, myself, think the story is a little fishy. That's a different story altogether, though.
Warm and dry inside Brule's truck, Bono pretended to know the first thing about hockey, pretended to love the city of Vancouver, and offered Brule and his gal tickets and backstage passes to the show in Edmonton.
We don't have pictures of Brule and Bono together, but there's a Youtube clip of Bono retelling the story to the Edmonton crowd. He says that he's Brule, Larry Mullin Jr is Mark Messier, Adam Clayton is Grant Fuhr and The Edge is Wayne Gretzky. It's a little painful, as Bono very nearly goes into full-on Bono mode, but here's one of many videos of him talking about it on stage:
This made the rounds in my music discussion email group, and before too long, we started to riff on how the incident could be made into three different made-for-basic-cable movies, and then, for some bizarre reason, a porn-on-demand movie. Some of these were hysterical:
Oxygen network version:
Bono and Gilbert are at first polite, but taciturn. As the ride wears on, they both begin to open up, and they find deep communion (and a good cry) as they discuss their relationships with their fathers.
Lifetime network version:
Bono and Gilbert are at first polite, but taciturn. As the ride wears on, they both begin to open up, and they realize that Gilbert is Bono's long-lost son!
Spike network version:
Bono and Gilbert call each other dickheads, but say little else. As the ride wears on, a team of buxom assassins in tight t-shirts driving various souped-up cars roll onto the highway behind them, thus beginning a frenetically-edited chase and gun battle, interrupted by the assassins stopping to wash their cars in their tight t-shirts. As the chase wears on, both Gilbert and Bono begin to open up, and they call each other dickheads, but with a catch in their throat. They've achieved a kind of communion.
Hung Studs On-demand version:
Bono and Gilbert are at first polite, but their hands wander. As the ride wears on, hot bareback positions of every conceivable, and a few inconceivable, nature are engaged. They've achieved a kind of fluid-drenched communion.
Before too long, we started to invent Hollywood versions of the story. As directed by David Lynch:
Brule and his girlfriend pick up Bono and his assistant on the side of the road. They drive for hours talking about the smell of rain, oddities of local cuisine and Vishnu. Much to their shock (and ours) when Brule and his girlfriend pull up to Bono’s hotel and turn around to say goodbye to their passengers they discover they were driving around talking to a potted geranium and shop vac the whole time.
Or were they?
I wrote a pretty long synopsis of how the story would be told by Joel and Ethan Coen. Too long for this post (but I'll post it if anyone is dying to read it). I thought it was pretty great. Until Pat Angello (my one-time collaborator on a panel of hockey bloggers during the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs ) brought the thunder with a Dr Seuss version. This is well worth the price of admission, so grab your spouse and kids, gather around the warm glow of your computer screen and enjoy:
"It's a beautiful day!" The great Bono exclaimed.
"On a stroll I will go before it does rain."
So along with his tidy assistant in tow
The huggable dick donned his shades and said, "GO!"
They walked and they walked, for minutes that day,
Until they were far from the ol' Horseshoe Bay.
The clouds turned gray, the thunder then CrAcKeD!
Bono's lip quivered, "we can't make it back!
"The rain will come soon," he cried in a tizzy.
"And moisture will make my sweet locks go all frizzy!"
The assistant so wanted to calm the dick down
But hopeless and stranded, he only could frown.
Then off in the distance, a set of lights - they did come.
The great Bono thought fast, and he stuck out his thumb!
As the car halted, the dick, he did pray.
Then a voice from the car shouted, "need a lift, eh?"
The assistant and Bono jumped in the back seat
And were welcomed by a furry young pooch at their feet.
The driver asked, "Where ya headed to, guys?"
Then peered in the mirror deep in Bono's eyes.
"My stars, you are Bono - the huggable dick!
I'll take you wherever! Wherever, and quick!"
Bono said, "Thank you for saving my life.
And my hair, my hair thanks you. Thank you and your wife*!
"It's back to Horseshoe Bay we must go.
For tonight, I will perform a most glorious show!
"Tonight. Tonight. Will you come see me play?
You will, I say, you WILL see me play! TODAY!"
The driver said, "Sure, we can come without pup.
For I no longer chase the great Lord Stanley's Cup."
"My God," shouted Bono. "Pro hockey you play?"
"Why, yes. For the Oilers. I'm Gilbert Brule."
Both men were starstruck, as the bromance did brew.
Then Bono exclaimed, "I know what I'll do!
"I'll get you back stage. Back stage at my show.
There you can hang with me and my bro's.
"We'll talk about music and hockey and life.
And rain forests, slaughtered seals, whales cut open by knife.
"The starving Cambodians with their cute little pot bellies.
Then defiantly gorge on peanut butter and jellies!"
Brule was excited to go to the show.
"You bet we can go. We will go, dontchaknow."
The huggable dick was very pleased they accepted.
He doesn't do well whenever rejected.
Later that night, Bono interrupted the show.
To tell the great story, of his savior and bro.
Up on the stage, with a teary eyed swallow.
The band then broke into their hit, "I Will Follow."
The whole stadium danced and sang all the day.
As the huggable dick fought off thoughts that he's gay.
Feel free to read this to your kids tonight.
*"girlfriend" didn't rhyme or flow.
I wish I could take credit for that, but I can't. I only hope that people outside of that email circle enjoy the joke as much as I do.