Writing about one’s memories is always a problematic proposition. Our minds are convoluted organisms and they don’t always go where we want them to. Our brains have this tendency to do these odd forms of what one might call hyper-thinking (although I guess the term psychology types would use is free association though there’s more logic involved in what I’m talking about where one is thinking about a topic and a related topic pops up and one goes off thinking about that and in a while one is thinking about something very different from what one started with).
I was finishing up the previous chapter on my Elvis impersonator days and that got me to thinking about music, which I’ve written about a lot since the job that made me almost famous was writing for the magazine Rolling Stone which used to be a really great music magazine but has declined just as the music itself has.
And thinking about music and RS made me think about friends like Teddy Hatter and Jay Breeze.
I know, I know, I’ve written a whole book about Hatter and Breeze – well mainly about Breeze – but actually that book has way more of Jay’s writing in it than mine because I was editor, you see, not the writer (Are you listening, Jann?). So I think I have some leeway here.
It’s been my job, as I noted in the opening chapter of this book, to chronicle the activities of my friends who’ve done wonderful/terrible/amazing things – my pal Chess Yonkers who did what almost every Boomer guy wanted to do at some point in his life – play baseball for the New York Yankees. Ralph I talked about – he flew a frickin’ Space Shuttle (Discovery) – something else almost every Boomer guy (and gal, perhaps) dreamt of. And those guys above who lived the third Boomer boy dream – they got, if not to be Beatles, to do the stuff The Beatles did – write and play rock songs that millions know and love.
Yeah, I’m repeating myself a little bit here. But there is a point here – I think.
Telling about other people is not the same as telling about yourself. When you tell about other people, you just, to use a descriptive baseball analogy, just “rear back and fling it.” Sure, there are consequences (I’ve been sued a few times but since I’ve written mainly about the famous and rich – those bastards – I’ve always been bullet proof): you piss someone famous off who says he/she will never speak to you again (which any real journalist knows is horse shit, because the above described piggies always are willing to return to the publicity trough); you make an enemy of someone with some real power who might actually hurt your career – or you (got punched up a little by a couple of Marcos’ thugs in Manila when I was with The Lost Generation on an Asian tour); or (and this is actually the only one that makes me hesitate – ever), you hurt someone who didn’t deserve it (got a letter from Jay Breeze’s mom about a year after his death that asked me, simply and plaintively, why I didn’t take his car keys when he’d been at my place drinking the night he was killed. I realized that the truth – that I was drunk, too, and that we’d survived doing foolish things a hundred times before and that it never occurred to me that the sad, wasteful, foolish thing that he did and I allowed him to do would be the one that took her son and my friend – could offer no comfort to her – and would show me up for the execrable bastard I am sometimes. So I offered some lame response like “I wish I knew”).
And I realize I’ve just explained really damned well why telling about yourself is hard. So I’m shutting up.