Notes From The Flip Side: 12.08.2002
Bad news all around.
I went to my radio show last night (last night being the 7th) after seeing The Arrivals in Champaign. At some point during the six punchy hours that Karthik and I spent in the booth, I wound up playing long sets of Sunday's Best, Midnight Oil and Kosher to say goodbye to and honor some of my favorite bands who called it quits over the last week or so (although Kosher packed it in a few months ago).
I got home and went to sleep at six. My dog woke me up around 11:30. Fed him. Cleaned up the yard. Took the trash out. Brushed him. Turned on the computer.
And promptly found out that Jarrod, the most recent bass player for tiltWheel and an all-around nice guy (who happened to be a huge Jawbreaker fan and friend of mine), rolled his car several times last night and died. And right now, I don't even know what to say.
But once again, and I was talking about this at the station last night with a listener who was mourning the loss of two of his friends, I fall back on Thoreau: "Even the death of friends will inspire us as much as their lives. ... Their memories will be encrusted over with sublime and pleasing thoughts, as monuments of other men are overgrown with moss; for our friends have no place in the graveyard."
I'll miss you, Jarrod. You were a good man.
This is a better picture. I'm on the left. Jarrod was playing with Sunday Drive that night. Evan Scheingross took the picture and you can find the original at http://www.sandiegopunk.com/sundaydrive7-26.html.
This is 2002. This year seems hell-bent on making sure that no one makes it out intact and unscarred.
I'm not going to do a recap because I don't want to finish this scorecard. I made it out here and my dog is still with me and I'll chalk that one up as a win; besides, at this stage of the game, it really doesn't matter who made a fielding error because it's already a football score. The only thing left to do is gut it out and keep the bullpen rested. This year is a lost cause. Time to focus on tomorrow.
Yet as my dear friend Anna reminded me with an email, I can't necessarily consider this year bad, despite how many friends have died, despite how many fucked up things have happened. It has certainly been the kind of year that has tested me but, even during the darkest hours, I knew I'd make it through, even if I was slightly the worse for wear, a little more torn and tattered and ragged around the edges than I had been.
In 1997, my Thanksgiving was a mess of grief, alcohol, sex, cooking and a small bit of joy. Over the course of those 24 hours, I drank more than six bottles of wine, destroyed a futon, smoked too many cigarettes, made a hell of a meal, woke up in someone else's bed that morning and went to sleep that night with a different person in mine. Somewhere in the midst of all this self-destructive behavior, Anna called me to see how I was doing. In the middle of the call, her friend Alyson picked up the extension and the two of them started singing Poi Dog Pondering's "Thanksgiving" to me. It was a moment I'll never forget, mostly because of the following lines (which Anna emailed to me this year):
"I owe my soul to each fork in the road, each misleading sign / 'Cause even in solitude, no bitter attitude can dissolve my sweetest find / Would our paths cross if every great loss had turned out our gain? / Would our paths cross if the pain it had cost us was paid in vain?"
In the meantime, there are some things that I'm grateful for and as I while away the remainder of this holiday weekend, I thought I might jot them down to remind myself of some of the good things in life. In no particular order:
- Power chords
- Long drives for great shows (specifically Watch It Burn in Las Vegas and Fairweather in Iowa City)
- Long, meaningful conversations with great friends that hold me over until the next one
- Steaming hot coffee
- Casual glances
- Taking my dog for a walk and watching him prance down the sidewalk like a horse
- Mix tapes / CDs
- Good record stores and the people who work at them / unexpected scores
- Great friends who make sure I never hit the ground when I fall
This year was the worst year I've had since 1997. Despite that, I found moments to be grateful for, moments that remind me how glad I am to be alive.
I wish I could express how profoundly thankful I am in words. I wish I could let every last one of my friends know how much you mean to me, that every last one of you is a prince among men and that this miserable world is a better place for your presence, that even your smallest gestures mean the world to me. I remember everything that all of you have done for me; I can't forget your kindness and I hope I may someday be able to return the favors and grace that you have all shown. You're my brothers and sisters and I'd take a bullet for every last one of you. Unfortunately, English doesn't contain words of sufficient magnitude to convey how I really feel about you. So. Thanks. And there it is.
Sunday Drive. Watch It Burn. Tori Cobras. tiltWheel. A.M. Vibe. Fairweather. Sunday's Best. Jets To Brazil. Lucero. Beth Orton. Rilo Kiley. Jedi Five.
Thomas Wolfe, "You Can't Go Home Again"; Andrew Feenberg, "Questioning Technology" and "Alternative Modernity"; Steven Heller, "Graphic Design History" (edited with Georgette Ballance); Gunnar Swanson, ed., "Graphic Design And Reading"; Italo Calvino, "t zero"; Greil Marcus, "The Old, Weird America"; Naomi Klein, "No Logo"