August 09, 2004

I wore Johnny Cash's clothes today. Was up at Sotheby's, doing a small bit of reporting on their upcoming sale of the Johnny and June Carter Cash estate. The department head was giving me a tour of the sale -- photographs, hand-written, unpublished lyrics, collection of honorary sherriff's badges, guitars guitars guitars, Mother Maybelle Carter's mandolin. And we got to the clothes. Four or so racks of them, a lot of June's, and a lot of Johnny's. For Sotheby's, one of the sale's highlights is Lot 701, "Manuel Black Fringed Coat, Featured in the 2002 'Hurt' Video." The dept. head pulls it out to show off its fringe, its arabesques of ornament on the lapels, the luscious material. I ask, What size was Johnny? A: 48 Long. I am a 46 Long myself, and I say so. And then, a moment later, I am slipping on Johnny Cash's coat. It fit perfectly; maybe an inch too long in the sleeves. It was heavy, and but also, it was full of him, and a wave of star-struck celebrity, the memory of that Hurt video, 20 or so years of listening to his records, and the vivid remembrance of how sad I was when he passed, how brave and noble he seemed in his last interviews, and just the enormous feeling of him, alive and dead, I never once thought of him being the same size as me, in the same way that I never once thought of him existing in the same plane as me at all, it all rushed in, and filled the coat up as much as I did, and fuck if it wasn't the most powerful coat I've ever put on. I'm not sure I'd want to do it again.

Posted by dbrown at August 09, 2004 10:05 PM

this brings tears to my eyes. really poignant.

Posted by: noah on August 10, 2004 10:09 AM
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