Tag Archives: comedic memoir

The Gimpy Groupie

by Hope Madden

My husband George has lived through several Duran Duran concerts during our marriage—one in 2005 at Vets Memorial, the other a few years later at the Schott. In both cases, he made a valiant attempt to get me backstage to meet the objects of my absolutely rabid adolescent ardor.

George, who works in radio, culled favors from everywhere he could think of: other radio people, record reps, anyone. No dice. I know why he was unsuccessful. Every living female between the ages of 40 and 55 loves Duran Duran.

Seriously, it’s a documented fact.

Still, it was a failure that haunted him until he made good on his wish one weekend in Chicago at the House of Blues.

Having a gimp for a wife didn’t hurt.

Saddled with a walking boot from the foot surgery I’d had three weeks earlier, I approached the concert hall with crutches and a pin protruding from one toe.

It’s a great look.

The folks at the Houe of Blues couldn’t have been nicer, especially when their elevator broke down and I had to take three flights of steps to get to the standing room only concert. That was a lot of fun.

To make up for it, a security guard escorted George and me to a bar at the back of the room where a private party was happening.

Nearby, we saw a line of people making their way up a back staircase. George knows how to sniff out a meet-and-greet, so he began to investigate. He felt sure that, atop those stairs, we’d find Duran Duran.

But how to get there?

I was hardly in any condition to be stealthy or to outrun security.

George politely questioned several people as they made their way down the stairs. Some shunned him, but he persevered and determined that, yes, the line led to a backstage meeting. And I gleaned from conversations around me that some folks at the private party had paid $500 apiece for the honor of meeting the band.

It may sound excessive to you, but not to me. Or at least the part of me that still remembers being 13 years old and willing to sell a kidney—perhaps even my own—to meet Duran Duran.

Finally, George approached a woman who will forever be known as My New Best Friend. She saw my pitiful condition and lent George her pass to see the band.


I hobbled up the stairs. No one stopped me. Indeed, people felt merciful over my trudging around crippled and offered me a chair.

I could see Roger Taylor from where I sat in the hallway, injured foot tucked safely behind crutches.

For those of you outside the precious D2 demographic, Roger is the drummer and second cutest bandmate.

His spiky brunette locks and playful pout adorned my closet door.

It hung just below my most beloved John Taylor (bass player, born Nigel John Taylor, 6/20/60 to Jean and Jack Taylor in the Birmingham, England suburb of Hollywood).

I was the band’s last photo op, and I overheard their dismay when they learned the news, “Just one more.”

“One more,” Roger near-groaned as he walked toward the door. Then he eyeballed the gimp in the hall and realized the special circumstances of which I was so gleefully taking advantage.

“Oh, hon, what happened to you?” he asked me.

Mr. Roger Taylor just spoke to me. My brain began forming words. The 14-year-old Hope thought: My poster is talking right now. The fully grown adult brain began pulling together a response. My brain said, “I just had foot surgery.”

My mouth, on the other hand, let out a string of sounds bearing no relation whatsoever to the English language.

He winced in knowing embarrassment for me.

I assume I’m not the first female wearing a Duran Duran tee shirt who’s been unable to respond properly to a polite query from Roger Taylor.

Simon (singer) put his arm around me.

Nick (keyboardist with heavy lipstick) hoped I’d heal soon.

John steered clear, smiling from a safe distance.

Still: Best Day Ever.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to put my arm in a sling and research some Cory Hart concert dates.

Never surrender!

Quack Addicts

by Hope Madden

We were starting to think we had new pets. We had one already – a cat named Zappa. She’d been with us forever, rescued from Cat Welfare years ago when we were apartment dwellers and couldn’t have a dog. At the time, we felt like our 2-year-old son Riley needed a buddy.

A million years later, we still didn’t have a dog because Zappa was a 16-year old deaf, toothless cat who refused to eat anything but scrambled eggs and lunchmeat and really wasn’t adaptable enough for a sibling.


Since she was allergic to fleas, however, Zappa never went outdoors, so an outside pet or two would be OK.

But the heartbreak of outdoor pets, especially those that choose you rather than those you purchase, is that sometimes they waddle around in your pool and eat your store-bought feed and then fly away, never to return.

Like our ducks.

A mallard couple began hanging around our street in Grandview one spring.

They’d show up in the morning, loiter all afternoon, then fly away at night. There were sightings all over the neighborhood, and then, little by little, the waddling twosome zeroed in on a single yard for passing their daylight hours. Ours.

We have a small front yard far from any known body of water, so we hadn’t a clue s to why the ducks kept returning. We tried not to disturb them too much – made sure we entered and exited by way of the back door, scattered some birdseed for them. They seemed to appreciate it day after day, week after week, and we got used to seeing them.


The female would hide between two little bushes, and the male would sit in the middle of our front yard. We took it that he was guarding her, and we hoped she was making a nest.

We had become too attached. In fact, my husband, George, went the wild bird store to find out what was the best kind of feed for Gary and Fiona.

Yes, our son gave them names.

Once you name them, you’re doomed.

They seemed to like us, too. I think their favorite was George, who would approach them gently, shaking his jug of wild duck feed, and Gary would waddle right up to him.

George was utterly smitten.

In fact, I came home from work once to find a blue Scooby-Doo wading pool in my small front yard. Some might consider it unusual for a grown man whose only child was in high school to buy a toddler’s pool; others might find the thing an eyesore.


Nonetheless, there it was, and Fiona seemed pleased. So much so, the couple threw a few pool parties. We began to see a second female, Simone, who would show up to splash around.

We became mildly famous in the neighborhood- like those people who string too many Christmas lights, causing mild traffic jams.

We occasionally found children in our front yard trying to pet or catch Gary. We shooed them away, sometimes unpleasantly. As it turns out, we liked Gary and Fiona better than the neighbor kids.

I came home one day to find a teenage girl sitting in my front lawn, trying to coax Gary onto her lap. Her embarrassed boyfriend waited on the sidewalk. When he saw me, he said nervously, “My girlfriend likes your ducks.”

I told him thanks, but they weren’t my ducks. They just hung out in my yard. Like his girlfriend.

Shockingly oblivious and absorbed in her commune with nature, she asked me where I’d gotten them. I said again that they weren’t mine, to which she replied, “So I could just take on?”

“Get out of my yard, kids.”

I was nicer than George, though, who found this menacing neighbor boy chasing Gary around the yard. George shouted and then chased him down the street. It was outstanding.

We even received a complaint from a concerned citizen who told us we had no business keeping wild animals. Of course, we weren’t keeping them at all. They didn’t live with us; they were just well-liked squatters.


Then, they flew off one evening never to return.

For weeks George would listen for their quacking in the morning when he got up for work, but all we had left was a half-empty Scooby-Doo pool in the front yard and a half-full jug of duck feed on the back porch – and the memory of the heartbreakers who decided suburban life was not for them.

But we’re keeping an eye on this possum we’ve seen hanging around the garbage cans.

Maybe he could love us.

We’re thinking of calling him Craig.