On Halloween I’m gonna turn 50, which—among other things, is 23 years older than Jimi Hendrix was when he died. I could live another 50 years and I’d still never play guitar half as well as Hendrix, which at this point is all I’d really like to be able to do.
But that’s obviously not going to happen.
Oh well, a lot of things aren’t going to happen. At least I don’t live in Aleppo, Syria; or Darfur; or…pick your shithole and fill in the blank. If everyone lived the charmed existence I have, life would be a great big no problem. So big props to my folks and the man upstairs on that one, even if I wasn’t born over 6’ tall or overwhelmingly talented.
If the 21 year old Lodo Grdzak could see what I’ve become now,…wow. Not sure what that kid would say. I’ve become such a strange guy, even to myself. Maybe all men become strange after 40 or so; but when you’ve been single and alone as long as I have—with no one to check your excesses or keep you socially engaged, the process moves at a swifter pace. Once minor eccentricities become full-blown personality disorders. In my case, what had formerly been a simple propensity toward aloof introversion has now morphed into outright reclusiveness. An avoidance of social situations and a genuine (ever-growing) dis-taste for my own kind/species. Probably not good for someone living in NYC.
It used to be I could write and blog. Outside of my work, that’d be the way I’d interact the world; but the things I have to say now--or that I would say, forget it. Not going to be that guy. When you’re Mark Twain or George Carlin, okay. Those guys were monster talents. But when I go over my notes and prior posts for what were/are supposed to make-up my book, the underlying themes aren’t exactly uplifting. Or inspirational. Terror attacks, the death of best friends, people lost to Capitalism and drugs, a stagnated economy that no longer seems to need people, and a dying, mean-spirited culture that seems hell-bent on bringing the rest of the world down with it. No, that’s not going to be me. Someone else can chronicle that story.
The only thing that really brings me any joy or that remotely excites me is my guitar. Every Tuesday I go to my neighborhood’s open mic to butcher my Hendrix, Prince and Beatles covers in a manner that would leave that 21 yr old Lodo I mentioned earlier shaking his head in sad disbelief. Well, fuck you young Lodo; I’m no Pat Metheny. But its fun. I get to play loud, through a PA system, and there’s drummers there. To quote a friend of mine, my guitar playing’s “campfire adequate.” I’m certainly never the best; but never the worst. That said, my neighborhood’s demographics skew really young, so I’m not just the oldest guy at open mic, but always the oldest by far.
About 2 or 3 open mic’s back, a comedian performed after me. His first joke was “I guess this is like of one of those camps for middle-aged men to live out their unachieved dreams.” Ouch. That hurt, but I had to laugh. There was truth to it. And last open mic I asked this kid--a black kid who had a stack of business cards that advertised him as a professional guitarist, if he wanted to play some Prince with me. He told me “I don’t know any Prince—you know any Frank Ocean?”
I just sat there and blinked.
But you know what?--fuck everybody and everything all the freaking fucking time forever. I’ve gotta try to stay excited. About something. Next year I’ll probably move back to Denver so I can get a puppy; but for now I can’t just crawl into a hole and dwindle off into a twilight realm of my own secret thoughts. Even when the aged Jordan played for the Wizards he was still the best player in the NBA on a really good night. I try to remember things like that. I’ve still got room to improve. At some things anyway. There's still time to work on aspects of my game. I mean, what’re my options?
...on the off-chance that I have an on night.