Okay, this is my first post in a few months. It’s kind of funny to have an old (nearly dead) blog. I’ve been doing most of my internet-sharing on facebook and I still lurk on myspace a little bit, but I like checking in to my few friend’s blogs to see if they are still active. Dan Jones of course always stays relatively busy and posts a lot of his comings and goings on his blog. Justin Hrabe, the hub blog of many of my old-time friends, always has a good combination of music and musings on world affairs and Central-North -American living.
Me, I’ve been living the good life, mostly in Eugene, but I did manage to get out of town a couple times this summer + I got to go to the river at least twice during our all-too-brief sunny days. Back in August, I made a list of things I wanted to blog about . It read like this:
1. Louis has been harvesting green beans
2. Carl has (leg) cancer
3. We’re going to the (county) fair
4. Summer Vaca – we went to LA
5. Went back to work
6. I turned 40 and had a big party at Sam Bond’s
7. Boner had a throat lump (removed, successfully)
Boner – or Brian – I’ll start with a shout out to you. You are the one friend that reminds me to update this blog and we always have entertaining exchanges on Justin’s blog comments; I’ve got to say, I’m glad you survived your throat lump removal and follow-up treatment. Now, just go buy yourself a new bass and start practicing for the 2012 Garden Weasel reunion tour.
This year, I’ve had a few friends stricken with the dread cancer. 3 out of 4 have a pretty good prognosis – good odds of recovery with treatment and lifestyle adjustment. Brian, Slayer Carl and Robin, you are the lucky ones. One friend wasn’t so lucky and passed more quickly than any of us expected – talking here now about my old Humboldt buddy Tom McConnel, a great guy and a serious music fan whom I worked with at café marina in Eureka back in 1990/1991. Tom and I used to shoot the shit while working behind the scenes with grumpy cooks and harried waitresses , me washing dishes and him up on the cooking line. His manner was ultimately NorCal – a slight surfer inflection in his speech, a cynical sense of humor that shielded his sensitive, poets-heart from the barrage of insensitivity and bullshit that he had to endure on a daily basis. Tom loved Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash and the Descendents and we always had a laugh about Henry Rollins and GG Allin, two people that we admired as well as loathed at the time. Tom liked to drink and it was most certainly a necessity in his life just to endure. He used to shake so bad in the mornings that I do believe he was one of those that needed a beer before his coffee on certain days. Harsh, but for all I dish about my late friend’s habits, he was a lovable imp.
Years after I had moved from Humboldt county, Tom would call me up at all hours of the night, drunk off his ass, and berate me for being such a straight little wiener-boy, or for being married, or for having bad taste in music or whatever; I would almost always pick up the call and just banter with him, even if I would have been better off sleeping. He was just funny as hell and I loved it.
In more recent years, we still kept in touch via email and then facebook, but I learned that he had stopped drinking years ago due to a bad liver diagnosis. He was still the same, cynical cat. Most recently, I defaced an old Flipside magazine I had by cutting out a picture of GG Allin’s head and pasting it into a Christmas card for Tom with the words, “ Merry Fuckin’ Christmas you Scumfuc.” ( a term of endearment ). I hope he enjoyed it.
It seemed like soon after that, he started to have major problems with his guts – something about cysts and operations and procedures. Tom was in touch less and less and horribly, after enduring 3 or 4 operations and prolonged healing sessions, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was pissed, I think because he was just about to get a clean bill of health and here had an even worse diagnosis. The cancer was already advanced and doctors gave him a year to live. I expected him to last that long and hoped that I could visit him at least once before the end of all things but he ended up dying earlier than expected – about 3 weeks ago. I feel most for his parents, who took care of him until the end. According to some of my facebook friends, he didn’t want a funeral or service. Tom died quietly and now he has disappeared from our lives. Sucks, don’t it? I miss ya Tom, and even though we hadn’t seen each other for years, you were one of my favorite personalities. I’ve worked with a lot of folks, but your combination of sweetness and cynicism was unique to you, and I’m glad I knew ya.
The rest of my scheduled topics will continue next week. Have a nice day, stay healthy and party ‘til the world obeys,