Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daniel Fishkin's funeral

We were watching golf on Sunday afternoon when we heard the mournful sound of the bagpipe wafting through the air. At first, we thought it was from the golf game because the leader was Laird, from Scotland. But no, the bagpipe sound came from across the street, from the Bala Avenue Playground.

We went to investigate and found a bagpipe player, and a young man standing near the tennis courts, with about 15 people looking at them. During a moment of silence, which became longer and longer and longer, I asked one of the onlookers what this was all about. "It's a funeral," he said, "and a birthday party." He then handed me a program that said, "the Death of the Old Me," and on the inside it said, "funeral, silence, birthday."

This was too much, even for us old guys who thought they had seen everything.

His mother, Lana Fishkin, said that this was entirely her son's idea and invited us up the street to interview Daniel. "We live in Bala Cynwyd," she said, a propos of nothing.

We walked up to Avril's, sat down at a cloth draped table, and tried to figure out what Daniel Fishkin was up to.

"What was so terrible about your first 25 years that you wanted to buy them?" A giggle, followed by a shrug, and finally an answer of "nothing."

"What do you plan to do with the birth of the next 25 years?" Another giggle, another shrug, and then "what I have always done."

Elizabeth Taylor was late to her own funeral, by her own request. It's obvious, she never met Daniel Fishkin who attended his own funeral on Sunday afternoon at the Bala Avenue Playground. According to Fishkin, this was a celebration of the death of his first 25 years and the birth of his next 25 years. "I wanted an excuse to do something meaningful with my friends," he said at his party at Avril's on Bala Avenue. "The first 25 years are gone." When asked about his plans for the nexrt 25 years, he giggled inappropriately and said that he planned to continue his life.

He hired Charlie Rutan to play the bagpipes at the ceremony at the Playground. "Why the playground?" "I used to come here as a kid and play but I always thought it was a cemetery," Fishkin said.

As a pefrformance artist, he has performed "all over the United States and in Germany." Doing what? Another giggle and this strikingly thin long-haired man said, "I prefer not to answer."

There were three other questions that he "preferred not to answer." What kind of performance art do you do; where can one see him in performance. and what do you do for money? A friend of his came over, must have seen that he was in distress, and said that "it's time for you to join the party, Daniel." She said that he teaches (what? - no answer) and translates (what? - again no answer).

He graduated from Friends Central, class of '04 and Bard College, class of '09.

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