National Obituary Review, The Written Word

DPD Emeritus: Prince – A Remembrance

Comments Off 21 April 2016

Needless to say, sad day here at The Shade HQ. On the heels of Bowie and Toussaint I found myself asking ‘When is enough, enough?’. I paced around the house for hours chasing shadows. Not even Mingus could help me sort things out. I found myself in my rocking chair, cat on my lap, wrestling with the same questions about the passage of time we all do. What the fuck?

I can distinctly remember Prince at every transitional point in my formative years. Starting with Linda. I was 14 and had no job with parents that wanted me out of the house. The idea of a few bucks in my pocket seemed appealing. It was early Spring and my pal Steve had a job filing at some small potatoes appraisal company. By small potatoes I mean the business was run out of a slowly falling apart converted home with a pile of concrete in the back lot.

I had no idea what filing was really but Steve was starting baseball season and leaving the job. I could walk right in and take over. All mine. A few hours a couple of days after school and I’d get $40 a week. Big money. Believe it or not that was plenty back then.

I showed up, got the walk through from some dude that worked there:

  1. When you come in there’ll be a stack of files there
  2. You take them, sort them alphabetically, by name of client,
  3. Then put them in those cabinets over here.

Pretty easy. I was on my way. Then a curve ball. A file with no client name. Back then my problem solving skills weren’t what they are today.  I heard some conversation from the front room so I figured I’d check it out and ask my question

I come around the corner and see these women really hootin’ and hollerin’ with the stereo way up. I guess they didn’t hear me coming because as I approached I startled them. One of the women – Linda – caught my attention. While she was probably 50 she was all dolled up with tight jeans and dancing practically out of her seat. She had teased, dyed blond hair that would have been stark white otherwise and plenty of make-up. Lip liner, TONS of lip liner.

Without the slightest interest in answering my question she asked me if I was into Prince as she turned the volume up on the CD she was listening to. I wasn’t but I sure as hell wanted to be. At that time in my life I was into Kurt Cobain and the teen angst that came along with that. Back then, at no point did it occur to me that girls listen to music and get all hyped. At that point, and moving forward, it did – thanks to Prince. So I looked into him.

Short Stories, The Written Word

America At It’s Best

Comments Off 08 April 2016

I left a meeting, got in my car and tried to start the bastard. Lo & behold the goddam thing wouldn’t turn over. At first the radio worked, which was perplexing. What could it be? The first thought – the battery; but why would the radio work? It couldn’t be the starter because it wanted to turn over.

Luckily (I guess) upon further tries the radio stopped working so I knew I needed a jump. I panicked and called a lifeline asking for a hand-out. She had better things to do but, most importantly, I could figure this shit out on my own.

I thought – ‘Why not walk down to the gas station?’. They probably have a garage. Get a mechanic, offer some $ and he’ll drive down and jump your car. On the walk to the corner I called Cornish to see if I could catch him on his ride home.

Cornish was still at work and the gas station proved to be pretty limp. Luckily I saw a cab at the gas station. I walked up to the window and offered $10 if he came down the street and gave me a jump.

He hesitated at first then, ultimately, agreed. Would an uber driver? I jogged back down the street, he followed, and he graciously helped jump my car. Almost pleading with me after ignition:  “Don’t turn it off. Whatever you do, don’t turn it off.”

I was happy to give him $20 for his time. To his credit, when I handed him the $20 he started looking for change. No need. In a forward thinking world caught up in being in the future this was a throw-back experience. He took 10 minutes to do me a solid and, some would say, I overpaid. The favor really helped me out and I’m sure he was satisfied with the compensation.

There’s a simplicity about this situation that often goes lacking. America at it’s best.

 


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