Eighteen days from today, I shall turn 40. Whenever a milestone like this is reached, it quite obviously begs for reflection, but in my current mental state of utter peace and prosperity, I don't want so much as to reflect, but to look at the many doors I've passed through in my life, close the ones I no longer have any use for and leave open the ones I hold most dear. The remainder of life's hallway contains doors not yet opened, the first of which has behind it my son, who's debut date is currently penciled in as July 10th. This may end up being a rather long post, and the reader will find out things about me that may be all at once surprising, disgusting and hilarious. Yet I feel the need to do this in order to go forward with a clear conscience. So here we go! I'll start with all the women I've known. Initials are used to protect the innocent:
To AB - My first love of my teenage years. I beg forgiveness for being an immature teenage boy and having no working knowledge of anatomy useful to a long-lasting relationship. You're a good person, I hope you're happy and I got better.
To AS - I dated you out of desperation, and I now laugh at our relationship. You were a hypochondriac and (if YOU are to be believed) a telekinetic. In short, you're nuts! I have written songs about how nuts you were. I heard from a mutual acquaintance that you now sell real estate in California. I think that's punishment enough. Thanks for something I can always bring up and laugh at when having conversations in a bar. I am truly stunned that I crashed two cars for you. What the hell was I on?
To SB - Sorry I couldn't converse very well with you mother. I've gotten better at that too. I hope you're happy since I last saw you in 1992. I got a song out of you too, but I never play it anymore.
To EB - What the hell was THAT all about that night after the movies? Thankfully, I hope we both got over that silliness.
To SA - Timing and my own rampant immaturity were our enemies. I apologize in the strongest possible terms for being such an insufferable prick during our relationship. Forget me! Please move on to someone who deserves you brains, your sense of humor and that heart on your sleeve.
To CS - I was nowhere near ready to settle down, and you're a great person. I think about you every February 29th (the day we first met). I miss the cats and your smile.
To SB (the other one) - The one that got away, but I realize now that that's all your fault. You enjoy the music, and I'll enjoy the memories.
To RW - Best of luck with that God thing. I've since moved on to other intellectual pursuits, but thanks for letting me see the bitter and judgmental side of Catholicism up close, so I never have to go anywhere near it again for as long as I live.
To X (the first wife) - I never really loved you. You happened to be there in a vulnerable time in my life after my grandmother died, and stupid me, I thought I saw some of her traits in you. I was WAY off!! You're an inveterate slob and carry upon you a sense of entitlement that you have not earned. That letter I left you about how I needed to leave you because I feared for everyone's safety if I stayed was true, for I have never met another person more worthy of a bludgeoning in all my life than you. I left our marriage for peace of mind, I found it, your opinion matters only to you, and God help the next sucker who finds his sorry ass in the orbit of you and your insane immediate family. OH, and uh, revenge is best served cold, and here it is, for all the world to see. In spite of you, I hope the kids are well.
To Leslie - Every day I have spent with you is better than the last. I find nothing but love, humor and peace by your side. I am honored to be your husband, and I shall be more honored to be the father of our son. Beauty is both spiritual AND physical, and my world turns all around you. My search is over. You inspire me every day to attain better heights for the two (soon to be three) of us, and I'll never get tired of doing just that. I love you.
Now, we move on to friends, past and present:
To CY - How's Florida? I hope you and your family are doing well. At least one beer I'll have over my birthday weekend will be to you, oh drinking buddy of my ever-distant past. I miss the hockey games, the Michael's Deli hoagies and Jane's Addiction through the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania. Stay well, and stop playing golf. It makes you look Republican.
To CD - The best musician I know. I hope your family (ALL of them) is doing fantastic. I miss your input when I write something ludicrous.
To TW - If JetBlue recovers, get yourself out to Milwaukee. I'll try to make it back to Pennsylvania one day in the future without throwing up. Thanks for being there in the best and worst of times. And, in memoriam, thanks to your parents and their house, the scene of more than one "February of Death". I'll talk to you soon, my friend!
To SW - Dude, pick one e-mail and stay with it! I know you're in greater Atlanta, other than that, I can't find your nomadic ass (or my waitress) with a geiger counter. Leave a comment, shoot up a flare, some goddamned thing!
To SG - Stay safe in greater Atlanta. I know you have friends over in Iraq and that you're really into GW's interpretation of America. I'm not, but I don't hold it against you. We've been through one Bowl & Driver League too many to quit now. Hope all the girls (including WG) are doing great. RAAAMMMOOONNNEE!
To PK - I never get replies from your e-mail address anymore, but thanks for opening my eyes to the secrets of true music and spirituality. You're a man of few words, but all of them carry wisdom and gravitas. Your contributions to me as a human being, as far as I am concerned, are of paramount importance, and I thank you.
To DH - I hope Vienna finds you well. It's been far too long since I signed on at the same time as you, but you're not forgotten. I hope A is doing well too.
To TH65 - Hey man! I haven't really spoken to you since we saw Robyn Hitchcock that night in Milwaukee. I hope Michigan is treating you well. I'll catch up with you soon.
To ?? - Thanks for joining the blog. The first post was just great. As soon as I turn a profit from this, I'll send you a check. Now that you have your first posting out of the way, when can I expect a gig in your town?
To MASA and all the erstwhile denizens of Club LeGrow - You people are just spectacular. You have made my stay in Milwaukee a great one so far, and with your blessings, I'll stay here for the rest of my life. I always anticipate the next get-together with great expectations, and I'm never let down.
I have no positive comments reserved for my immediate family, with the exception of my two sons. You are all a bunch of traitors and I hope you and X are happy, for you deserve each other. I live peacefully without you, and just so you know, I'm not reserving time in my afterlife for you either. I had enough of you while I've been alive, the only relatives I treasure are all dead and those of you who are still alive truly need to take a good strong healthy dose of Shut The Fuck Up, because I'm not listening anymore and no one really gives a damned about your hurtful and judgmental opinions. And you have the nerve to call yourselves "Good people"? Where the hell do you get off? The presence of you in my life literally made me physicially ill, and there's no rule book anywhere that says I have to just sit here and suffer at your hands. Please stay right where you are, which is Far Away.
To A & N - Your dad can't be there for this special time in your life. I have no clue what anyone has told you about me, but I'm not away trying to "figure things out", and I can't attempt to reenter your lives as long as your mother stands between us. Know that I am sending money to your mother every month to attend to your needs as you grow older. While I am not allowed to share all of the new and exciting things you are discovering in your life, it is hoped that you have inherited my curiosity and thirst for knowledge. It is best that you look beyond the comments about me that are thrown around by assorted members of the family and try as best as you can to see me as a human like any other; flawed, but basically decent. I never killed anyone or stole anything in my life (except for the occasional chord progression on guitar). Sometimes, people make mistakes. You can't help who your parents are, and this situation can't be easy for you, but your father knows he loves you, and at the end of the day, that is all that should matter. I'll reserve time in the afterlife to see you if the current barriers stay in place for the rest of this life.
And so ends my first half of life screed. As I pass the midway marker in the cycle of life expectancy, I wonder about the journey ahead. I think about the welfare of Leslie and my son, now 2/3 prepared to enter the physical world. I hope for the best for my two sons of the past. Most importantly, in these challenging times, I hope we all find a way back to sanity and true freedom, instead of this paranoid dictatorship in which we now find oursevles buried.
Doors have been closed, and important doors are left open. Time has marched at that one steady pace from my own debut during the Johnson Administration. I was born into a country fighting a war, in the words of Phil Ochs, "...lost before the war began". As I turn 40, what has changed? From the murders of MLK and RFK, to Kent State, to Nixon resigning, to the Energy and Iran hostage crises, to the murder of John Lennon, to ketchup as a vegetable, from the popguns of Grenada and Kuwait, to the monumental waste of Iraq, it doesn't seem like anything has truly changed since my birth. I hope the people of this land that I live in wake up soon to the horrors of our current leadership, and decide to fight back, and not just with words, but with action.
As for me, now it's time to see what else is in my hallway......