I don’t lie very often, but I’m thinking I should start. Lying is getting to be a more and more accepted communication device, and I feel like I’m missing out on the enjoyment of it all.
I’m not saying I’ve never lied. As a bona-fide Catholic boy I went to confession as required, and I always confessed that I lied, so I must have. On the other hand, that was an easy way to get in and out of the confessional box in short order. And what else was I going to say? “Bless me father, for I have sinned. And I coveted my neighbor’s wife”? I didn’t covet any of my neighbors’ wives, and had I said that it would have been a bald-faced lie, requiring yet another confession.
However, I did tell little white lies here and there, like the time my Dad asked me if I had brushed my teeth before going to bed, and I said “yes,” at which point he pulled out my toothbrush from his luggage, where it had been since we left that morning from our beach vacation.
Kids in grade school told much bigger lies than anything I could muster, and I wonder if they are now succeeding in life better than I am, thanks to lying. One classmate claimed that he looked in the mirror in the boy’s room and his face was covered in scars and huge stitches, the result of some tricks played by Satan (or else he had recently seen Poltergeist). Another time this same boy claimed that he’d ingested mercury. How we young kids came into possession of a bottle of this liquid lead (did someone bring it in? Was it the school’s supply?) is unclear, but I remember its unbelievable heft compared to a similar volume of water. We spilled it onto the floor and watched it bead up, and someone told the nuns that a boy had licked the mercury. Our mothers were constantly warning us against licking mercury (“You’ll lose your penis if you lick mercury!”).
OK, that was a lie. My parents never told me I’d lose my penis.
Anyway, the nuns were ready to haul his lying ass off to the hospital so he could have the mercury eliminated, so he suddenly had to shift gears and admit to his unlikely yarn.
Nevertheless, lying to my fans and supporters is always an option.
Of the thousands of things that this godforsaken coronavirus headache has made me appreciate about those days, not so long ago, when I could walk down the street, breathe the air in deeply, and exhale it upon just about whomever I pleased, none seem quite so unlikely to return any time soon as the live rock show.
Cut to this current moment in time: it is late May of 2020 and my best rock show opportunities are happening via YouTube. And that’s not going change any time soon. You can’t even go to church right now, let alone a rock concert. As God has lobbyists aplenty, I’m pretty sure churches will get the green light to change water to wine in front of a live audience well before a bunch of aged punks like X will be allowed to play the song White Girl while people scream and applaud wildly.
The fake news media is bound to claim that wild applause is not only a symptom of Covid-19, but is also a means of spreading the virus, alleging that when people smack their palms together, as they do when they see a good rock show, the dried-on virus particulates that are hidden in the creases of their palms are dispersed like sound waves into the atmosphere, where the virus particulates then deploy wings and make a bee line for random strangers’ nostrils and open mouths.
Don’t believe the hype. The germs known to be dispersed by enthusiastic applause are thought to prefer clogging up pores rather than sinus cavities, which is considered not a very effective means of infecting the host. Ergo, fear not wild applause.
Once my message gets out I suspect a goodly number of people will applaud my efforts to get rock going again. But please don’t applaud too loudly. I don’t want my pores getting any more clogged up than the already are.
When I was a young kid way back in the mid-1800s, the term “impeach” surfaced many thoughts in my young mind, not the least of which was of peaches. I somehow then connected those peaches to bald heads, because peaches have fuzz, and if you were impeached the authorities were going to shave your head as a punishment.
And maybe tar and feather you.
This reminds me that my old friend Bond told me a story of when he was taking a boat from Spain to Morocco in (let’s call it) 1984, and some hippie-sort on the boat started smoking a joint and mouthing off, which caused a boat-official to haul his ass underdeck. When the hippie emerged, his head had been shaved. Which is sort of what I had thought happened when you got impeached. Also, this now shaved-hippie was still smoking weed. And the joint was stubbed out into someone’s eye.
Who knows how many stories I’m conflating into one? Maybe God does. My guess is between 3 and 5; the stories of my young and sordid past, with joints, hippies, and a shaved head here and there tend to ooze into one another at this point in my (extremely high-functioning and mainstream 50-something) life.
Still, those were the days! Smoking a joint was rewarded with free haircare back then. Try that now. Now, you’re lucky if anyone cares if you smoke a joint. The police hold the door open for you when you emerge from the weed store and advise you to mind the steps. (Or so I’m told.)
Just don’t sip a snifter of whiskey in view of a 17 year old because you’ll get a full body cavity inspection.
Anyway, everyone wants to know which side I’m hoping will win, and I know it’s cliché but I have to say I’m just hoping for a fun impeachment.
Back when I was almost still Catholic, I met a man who, I was told, would be the music leader for the kids in the parish CCD program I somehow found myself teaching in. This man came with his wife from Mexico – they were a lovely couple – and he was studying at Berklee College of Music.
It sounded perfect.
My then-wife was Costa Rican and she and I struck up a friendship with the couple, inviting them over for dinner one night. I had just finished working on a radio play and was using a new sound tool that was software-based, and I really couldn’t sort out how to use it. I showed it to my Mexican friend and asked him to explain what the tool was doing to the sound. All I knew how to do was use the mouse and keyboard to bend the sounds and make funny noises and so forth, but not what each effect tool was actually doing.
My new musical friend, who was going to Berklee because he was a highly skilled musician, played around with the software too, but his silence and bemusement indicated he didn’t know much more about the tools than I did.
One Sunday, the couple stayed after mass and came into the parish hall, where this new musical genius from Mexico would play songs for the kids – Catholic singalongs – while his lovely wife sat beside him or next to my wife and me (can't recall those exact details). He had a guitar on a strap and a pony tail, as you might imagine a Mexican Catholic troubadour would have, so we were all waiting in anticipation for him to sing Jesus-themed songs of freedom to us. He strummed a little, started, stopped, strummed again. We all waited for him to stop strumming aimlessly and start playing songs we could all sing to.
It never happened.
If he actually was a musician, he was under some kind of temporary spell that rendered him incapable of playing music, but I began to think that he was not a real musician after all, just a guy who had gotten into Berklee.
You might imagine that I often think back to those days and reminisce, as I just did here in a publicly available and highly-read blog, but the truth is that if I hadn’t just now remembered this series of events , I perhps would never have recalled that memory , and it would have been lost to history.
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