I have a theory that everybody loves Neil Diamond but most people are afraid to admit it. Today at lunch my coworkers all denied their love for Neil vehemently, but I think it was just a classic case of the ladies doth protest too much.
Years ago I had a New Year’s Eve party and at some point I threw on a Neil Diamond CD. Predictably, everybody started groaning and rolling their eyes, but I refused – refused – to change the CD. Sure enough, within a few minutes, everybody was bopping along with the music, and it became apparent that they all knew the words to Cracklin’ Rosie and Sweet Caroline. They were totally into it, but they still wouldn’t admit that they loved Neil Diamond.
I scored free tickets to the Neil Diamond concert last night! The seats were behind the stage at Scotia Bank Place or whatever it’s called this year, in the second tier. Neil was fabulous. Seriously. He had a brass band and dancing girls – 15 people in all. It was a great show. Not as great as Dark Side of the Moon in Montreal in 1975, but great in its own Neil Diamondy way. At 67, Neil’s still got it.
He started with Holly Holy. He sang Cracklin’ Rosie, and I Am I Said. He did Sweet Caroline twice! TWICE! He did Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show for an encore.
Afterwards, as we were driving back through the ice pellets, I sighed “Don’t you just love Neil Diamond?”
There was kind of an odd silence.
I glanced at GC and – thinking maybe he’d just been wrapped up in his own memories of the concert – I repeated the question.
“Don’t you just love Neil Diamond?”
There was another pause, and then he said “I had fun tonight.”
“Yeah,” I said, “But don’t you just love Neil Diamond?”
“Love’s kind of a special word,” he said carefully, “How exactly do you mean it?”
This time I paused.
He couldn’t take the silence for more than a few seconds.
“I don’t love Neil Diamond as much as I love you,” he said.
“Of course not,” I said, “But you do love him, right?”
“I don’t love him as much as I love Duncan,” he said.
“Me neither,” I replied, “But you do love him a little bit, right?”
There was another pause.
“Not as much as I love oatmeal,” he said finally.
And then, apparently feeling emboldened by this assertion, he went on to suggest that most people love oatmeal more than Neil Diamond!
Which of course is ludicrous. And we have the technology to prove it.
Please step into the polling booth, ladies and gentlemen, and rate your love for Neil and oatmeal.