Last night my shithead neighbor fired off two
shots. I heard it in my apartment: clap-clap.
A few of us came outside to check the noise.
Some car drove down our road at top speed with its
lights off, bass thumping Public Enemy … Chuck
D. was brilliant, wasn’t he? And Flava Flav?
“Name me one person who’s not a parasite
and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him.” – Bob
Dylan. That’s from Visions of Johanna. She’s
the mother. The Joan of Arc in all of us.
And the father? He wears a funny hat and
won’t throw his clothes in the hamper. Go on, Pope…
Smite me. Bring down the power of God on my
head, because I will never, ever kiss your
ring. What was it Luke said to old Palpatine?
“You’ve failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like
my father before me.” But Luke was stronger,
right? He didn’t give in to the dark side. He
never let himself turn to evil, even
though he was marked from birth with the curse of death.
Back to my neighbor and the gunshots: it’s true.
That really happened last night. Today I met
The kid’s father. His name was Bobby. He had
piercing blue eyes Megh could see from the window.
He apologized to me for the actions
of his shitbird son and his two asshole friends.
His wife hid inside the other apartment.
It was downright poetic. Bobby, in his
blue shirt, blaming his son for his failure as
a parent. He actually said, “I have a
gun, and that’s never happened to me before.”
My reply? Accidents happen, sir. Move on.
Be better or bitter, the choice is yours. Just
take, for example, this woman I know. Her
name’s Valerie. She’s had a rough time up to
now, on her long journey back to the middle.
She was raped by two men for baseball tickets.
They lured her back to a walk up apartment
and proceeded to make her miss all but the
last two innings of the game from the top of
the roof she nearly jumped off. She said her toes
were curled over the edge of the building’s ledge
the entire time, and if they had lost, she’d
have jumped. Interesting side note: Steve Bartman
was at that game too. He did nothing wrong that
night, and Harry Carey exploded with joy
over the radio, “Cubs win! Cubs win!” A
part of Valerie died that night, though. It was
tragic. She lost her love of sport and kind of
disappeared within herself for five long years.
She lost so much weight the gossip girls around
her told everyone she was on something. Coke
or meth or crack. Maybe heroin. I mean…
Watch Iggy Pop in coffee and cigarettes.
He has no idea how to talk to Tom Waits,
because Tom Waits is too cool for school.
And he should be. He played The Devil in The
Imaginarium of Doctor Parnass-
“Us … and them … and after all…” … “Damn! There it is
again. Pink Floyd on the brain. Better listen
to some blues, or maybe House of the Rising
Sun, by any artist you choose. Get on You
Tube. Get online. Check it out. There’s Leadbelly,
(Kurt Cobain wouldn’t buy his guitar, and why?
It was way too expensive. He asked David
Geffen to loan him the cash. He told him no.)
There’s Bob Dylan, singing it from a woman’s
point of view … and then there’s The Animals. Most
people know this version and they love it. Me
too. It’s amazing. I love it. That said, did
you know, the kid who played the organ in that
song basically worshiped the ground Bob Dylan
walked on? Watch Pennebaker’s home movie reel.
He keeps drunkenly barking at Bob, “I’m a
nothing! I’m a nobody! I’m nothing!” Bob
shakes his head and says something like, “You’re
only that because you say you are. You choose
to be a nothing.” No one can tell you what
to be, or how to feel, or what to say, but
you can’t make them like you by yelling at them.
All you can do is be who you are and hope
you meet people who understand you. People
you can sing around. People who make you laugh
and cry and shout and run and jump and all those
things you did when you were a stupid kid. Love
is the fountain of youth. Ponce De Leon went…