Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Spoon In The Road

These days I don't do much around here. That includes worrying about not doing much. Songs go unwritten. Weeds grow.

Over a lifetime I've bought a lot of Rust Oleum. A lot. Now I find myself siding with that idiot, Mike, on American Pickers- I love rust. Oh, I don't have anything against Mike. I don't know Mike. I'm just annoyed when I know more about junk than he does. Not only that, he's frequently disrespectful to Danielle. Let's face it, we only watch AP for Danni. I'm not even gonna bother with Frank.

I'm pretty sure that I've told you before that I lay in bed when I was sixteen years old, unable to sleep, worrying about rust ever finding my '32 Ford. I may as well have fretted about the sun coming up.

Now my hair is gray. My dog sleeps late. The wrought iron furniture on the porch is rusty.

I won't be here to see it collapse. So what? Jamaica and I hang around to keep each other company. Oh, and to take care of Angel.

For once I'm enjoying the beautiful weather.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fine Lines and Wavy Hair

What is success? Who decides? The real saints are tethered only to kindness. There is no competition in the world of need. Those kids in Aleppo need your help. Those animals in the shelter need your help. Those folks in the nursing home need your love. Maybe we're all a little too stingy with our love.

Do you suppose that people might not take you seriously if you blather on and on about peace and love? You're right. 

Do you think that your neighbors might be impressed, maybe a little jealous, if you show up tonight in a new Rolls? Right again.

You're equipped with unlimited love. Use it. Try to waste it.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Growing Up For Dummies

We've all seen the message, the warning. It's all over social media and bumper stickers. Older folks sport it on t shirts as they walk the shopping malls in the early morning.

"Don't Grow Up. It's A Trap."

Maybe I'm not a good one to give advice here. Except for a larger shoe size and a deeper voice, I'm not sure I've done much growing up. I can put you in contact with ex-girlfriends and wives who will vouch for me.

It seems clear to me that the secret is to take the good parts and reject the rest. At every stage. I'm just going to give you a few examples, then you're on your own.

Be nice. Oh, they have to fill big books to look important. If the Bible or the Koran or the Torah had been graphic novel size, nobody would have ever taken them seriously. You can't make Charlton Heston movies from pamphlets. For the most part, though, all the good books compile stories to help make the point, treat other folks like you want them to treat you.

Ten commandments? Make up your own. I did. Twice! Same deal- they can all be summed up with "be nice."

Preachers have to fill up forty minutes each week. If they just show up for three or four weeks in a row, remind you to be nice and scurry off to the golf course they're gonna lose a good deal. Society will pressure them to sell annuities to retirees or start a lawn service.

You don't have to own a mansion to be nice. Or happy, for that matter. Oh, and that Corvette? Girls have joked since the first ones rolled off the assembly line in Flint in '53 about the car and the size of your talleywhacker.

My point is, none of it matters.

You're tricked into competition in kindergarten. I didn't go to kindergarten.

Tie a silk ribbon around your neck if you want to but don't do it because the man at the bank does. In fact, wear what you think is pretty. Pink's good. Oh, I like purple, too. 

Now, it occurs to me that girls have a head start. Let me point out here that I use the term, girls, intentionally and with all the respect in the whole wide world. Girls start off nicer. Don't get tricked into pant suits. Oh, wear 'em if you like them but don't give up frilly dresses or Levis in order to become Secretary of State or head of Yahoo.

I could go on and on about your neighbor's wife or his ass but I have no obligations here. I'll say it one more time- be nice.

I love you.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hell Toupee

Pretty sure that I've told you about the alien message that I found planted in Jack and Jill Magazine when I was six. On a Florida vacation to visit my cousins, George and Sandra, I struggled through an article about space visitation. I learned that when you hear a high pitched whine, that it's the space people trying to get in touch. The secret is to get very quiet in order to tune them in. When you are still enough and quiet enough, they will get through.

Well, for sixty three years I've been screeching to a halt mid-sentence to find out what they have for me. I'm a patient man.

It occurs to me that rock'n'roll is the secret language. Here I've had a good, clear line all this time. It's all peace and love and they've been in touch all this time.

Dave Marsh told me that rock'n'roll came from outer space. I figure that he should know. He said, "Well, you know your pal, Butch Hancock, says that Buddy Holly was an alien."

"What does that mean?"

"He says it sure the fuck didn't come from Lubbock, Texas!"

I asked Butch about it. He just laughed.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Revenge Will Dance On My Grave

What if candidates wrote and prepared their own speeches. They cleaned up Jesus' act and image before Elvis was even born. No wonder the world has embraced authenticity. Once again the answer to the unasked, rhetorical question is "follow the money."

Maybe I warble off key and frequently miss the obvious opportunity for rhyme but I'm authentic as all get out. I'm small enough to fail and fail I have. I'm so happy to wake up and find that I'm still not Donald Trump. Heck, I'm just happy to wake up.

Are you looking' for me? I'm right here. Don't follow the money.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Men With Egos, Dogs With Bones

Should I go on and on about all my prayers being answered? Well, in so many ways I don't have prayers. When I tell friends that they're in my prayers I'm pretty sure that no one ever pictures me down on my knees in a nightshirt by my bedside, eyes rolled heavenward, talking to an old man in a bathrobe and in my imagination.

Don't let me offend you here. It's not so much that I don't believe in anything. It's more that I believe in everything. I try not to be suspicious of my pious friends or dismissive of the atheist folks in my life. For me it's the mystery. It always will be.

Grace beats karma every time. Always has. Always will.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

If It Walks Like A Duck

Today Chuck Berry turns ninety years old. He's about to release a new record. It ain't over 'til it's over, right?

Over the years I spent a fair amount of time with him. I can't begin to say that I know him. I can't say that he's a nice guy. Sometimes he's a nice guy.

I will tell you that he's my hero. John Lennon was right- if they hadn't called it rock'n'roll they might have called it Chuck Berry.

When he was first aloof, condescending and rude to me I conjured up a convoluted excuse for him. He had been in prison three times. At least two of his misadventures would not have landed a white man in the pokey. He was in fine financial shape but there were lots of men who were rich from the fruits of his labor. Alan Freed's name still showed up as a co-writer of "Maybellene." Alan Freed couldn't even clap on 2 and 4.

Then I noticed that he and Bo Diddley avoided eye contact with each other. Bo referred to him as "Mr. Berry" and it certainly was not out of any measure of respect.

By the time that he was ever nice to me I was thrilled. I figured that we were getting to know each other. Over time I figured out that I couldn't figure it out. The last time that I saw him we played a two and a half hour set. He was down on his knees, reciting poetry. He must have duckwalked a quarter mile. After the show he begged us to come visit him at Berry Park, his amusement park in St. Louis.

"There's only one cop in Wentzville and I've got Polaroids of him," he quipped. I thought it was a joke. I wish we had gone.

Happy birthday, Mr. Berry. Hail, hail indeed.