Growing old isn't easy. Not that 21 is old (old is 29), but considering that Backstreet Boy Nick Carter first popped into our collective annoyance as a spry, almost androgynous, 14-year-old bowl- cut in baggies, it's increasingly hard to squint justification at his current towering Craig Kilborn bloat. Nick, after all, was the only one young and cute enough actually to be excused of his involvement in a collective suspiciously named after Atlanta's most famous gay watering hole and to be pardoned for his choreographed pre-pube nubility. With pony tails and pecs, the other four were the Backstreet; Nick was the Boy.
Sad, then, that we should have to bear witness to Nick Carter in yet another fray in the Backstreet Boys' inevitable unraveling. Scratch that. Not sad. Funny, but certainly not sad.
Times are already tough for this nuisance spark to the now-stifled boyband flame. The group's most recent single, "Drowning," couldn't have been named more appropriately. A premature greatest-hits collection has pundits giggling "breakup" perhaps before the fearsome fivesome are ready to end the joke. And, let's face it, they've all gotten uglier with age. Kevin, the only truly cute one, is wearing skirts. (And let's not mention Justin.)
What's a girl to do?
Well, if you're A.J. McLean, you (hip) hop into rehab with an alcoholism flag before anyone notices what else you're doing to spackle the cracks. And if you're Nick, newly of drinking age, you learn to get drunk ... and fight with girls.
Then get arrested. Ha ha!
According to the police report's narrative, published for snide entertainment purposes by thesmokinggun.com, Saint Nick was making some trouble Jan. 2 in Tampa.
"The def `defendant` was involved in a large disturbance at Pop City club in Channelside earlier in the evening," it sirens. "Later that evening, a large unrelated disturbance/fight erupted as police were trying to arrest subjects and restore peace."
Oooooh, disturbing. Ha ha, heh, heh.
"At this time the def became involved in an argument w/ an uk w/f," it continues, softening the blow of "unknown white female" with some hasty abbreviation. "Police trying to restore order, ordered the def to leave over (10) times. Finally, the def was told he had to leave by the count of (3) or he would be arrested. The def continued the argument and would not leave, and was arrested w/o incident."
Well, sort of anyway. According to an eyewitness account, Carter was far from larger than life.
"The cops ... put him in handcuffs, and then put him in the police car," the witness lovingly recalls. "Nick wasn't belligerent, but he started bawling. He said, Ã?You just want to arrest a Backstreet Boy. I've never been arrested. I don't know what to do!' He was crying hard. Tears were streaming down his face. People were laughing at him. The cops were chuckling."
Heh, heh, he ... Wait, maybe the joke is over.
"I truly believe my celebrity motivated the officer to arrest me," cloyed Carter in his limp official statement. "I am certain that after a full investigation of the facts, my name will be cleared."
Or not. How do you clear a name with so many publicity smudges already smeared across it? Dear Nick, the dirt is all you have!
Had Carter hit the cop -- or even the girl -- he might have added a toothy membrane to the mucous of his sapped-down career. Anything is better than crying. What is it about the Backstreet Boys that makes even their legal infractions boring? Answer: They are boring.
Take, for instance, their inclination to establish foundations in their names. You've got Howie's forgivable Lupus foundation (his sister died of it, after all), Brian's heart foundation (he has a hole in his, a fact that never stopped Big Poppa Pearlman from forcing him to perform -- with a respirator waiting backstage), and A.J.'s diabetes foundation (something involving blood sugar, fitting for bubble gum). Down at the bottom of the pertinence list, you have Kevin's "Just Within Reach" foundation (promoting something like social positivity) and its subsidiary -- not a foundation in its own right -- Nick's "Ocean's Campaign."
"Who hears the fish when they cry?" cries the slogan heading Nick's water-rights web-page, a mere offshoot of Kevin's foundation website. Sure, it's Henry David Thoreau, but painfully out of context -- kind of like Nick Carter's success story.
The first celebrity spawn of stage-mom Jane Carter, Nick's lack of substance (and his subsequent imbibing of substances) can almost be forgiven. His younger brother Aaron has virtually sealed up the Wal-Mart fat-girl market with nearly the same good looks as Nick had when he seemed to matter. Little sister Leslie is tooling up behind on Disney's rotation to anonymity.
Duly, Nick has avenged his fading cuteness (with a clumsiness similar to fellow Boy A.J.), forcing street-cred urban speak into his fading fop-head shtick. Nick likes Tool and Rage. Really he does.
Feel sorry for Nick Carter if you need to. Or just get drunk and arrested.
I've never been arrested -- snivel, snivel. I don't know what to do!