I was going to stitch a Joey Ramone series, but every image of him is the same – head tilted downward, dark glasses, hair covering his face. Maybe this tea towel will have to fly solo, as it seems pointless to stitch the same pose. I could stitch Dee Dee or Johnny, but I won’t. Dee Dee is too tragic (almost as tragic as Joey, but in a different, bi-polar junkie sort of way). And Johnny made Joey more tragic than he had to be, and I hold a grudge.
Why is Joey so tragic? Other than being uglier than sin and clearly uncomfortable in his own skin, he lost his girl. It wasn’t enough that Johnny stole Joey’s girl. No. He had to up his assholery and marry her, goddamn him.
Still, nothing is sadder than Joey’s death. He was optimistic until the end, convinced he would recover despite fighting cancer for seven years. He was working on new material, looking forward, plowing ahead. To be catapulted into death from a broken hip at 49, a number that seems increasingly young to my aging self, is not the way it should have been. I might be the only person in the world who cries when I hear certain Ramones songs, especially Joey’s solo cover of “What a Wonderful World“.
On a brighter note, I was introduced to the Ramones via Rock and Roll High School, a wonderfully campy teen flick that made me instantaneously fall in love with Joey. I was living on the Jersey Shore at the time (Point Pleasant Beach), and checked out the VHS from the local library. In the movie, Joey is a hero, as he should be.