Prince: The Serenity Prayer

April 23, 2016 Originally published on SFGate

God! Hey. You know that thing about “granting me the acceptance of the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference?” It’s nice. Cute. Sweet like a Christian minivan’s bumper sticker.

But let’s get real; it’s all seeming a little bit… soft right now. Inadequate. Lacking in a certain, you might say, potency. I’m sure you understand.

Let’s be clear: Acceptance and courage are fine and good, but there’s something to be said about, you know, the ability to shred like a god on about 800 different musical instruments. Or rock bikini bottoms and thigh-high boots in concert. Or brilliantly mess with androgyny and sexual identity without a care.

Or sell 100 million records, win an Oscar, write songs like “Cream” and “Kiss” and “1999” as you wear epic lace and leather, fishnets and sequins, jumpsuits and tube tops (in turns), inspire generations, be a vanguard in every artistic category you can name, rock a cane to a professional basketball game by choice, never take a bad photo, never stop recreating yourself and never once really give a damn what other people think.

I know, right? Serenity my ass. Let’s go crazy.

So maybe it’s time to rephrase our little prayer, yes? How about:

God grant me a goddamn ferocious, screamingly unique injection of the glorious, unstoppably beautiful style/funk/true love/sex appeal/unadulterated force of talent that so dazzlingly poured forth from every pore and wink and eyelash of the newly late and heartbreakingly great Prince Rogers Nelson, AKA Prince.


I think it’s an appropriate sentiment, yes? One we can all share in these cruel and trying times? I’m sure you agree.

Look, I’m not trying to be greedy. I’m not – not in this particular column, anyway – asking to be granted, say, any of the impeccable ethereality/lithe genius of the late David Bowie, AKA ‘He who set the standard for creative self-expression as yet unmatched in modern popular culture’. The man even made his own death an expression of his art. I mean, come on.

Nor am I requesting, as of yet, any of the wise graciousness of the late Oliver Sacks, or the rib-cracking brilliance of Robin Williams, or the sweet blue tones of BB King, or the sly insights of Garry Shandling. Innovators, groundbreakers, icons and creative masters, all. I’m certainly in no need whatsoever of the nasty, callous gobbledygook of Antonin Scalia; such pompous intellectual bigotry does nothing to help us gather here today 2 get through this thing called life.

Verily, my request at this particular moment is simple enough: an enormous, glittering syringe of Prince-grade creative fearlessness and/or fearless creativity, slammed straight into my quivering soul like Travolta slamming adrenaline into Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. Twice.

Grant me this gift, oh lord, and I shall forevermore kneel before the Princely altars of shrugging off critics, becoming arguably the best live performer in pop history, utterly destroying the Super Bowl halftime show, freely mixing musical genres (and making up a few new ones), fighting for intellectual property (and winning), destroying stereotypes and defying every norm and upending every status quo, all whilst championing girls named Nikki masturbating with magazines in various hotel lobbies.

I know; it probably won’t fit onto a bumper sticker. I’m totally OK with that.

Walking up to heaven like

(thanks to ‏@alixmcalpine for perfect tweet)

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Mark Morford

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