"Blue Collar Jane"
May 21, 2013
Click here to edit text. I've always maintained that the success of a revolution -- any kind of revolution -- is measured by its ability to transfer its ideals and history to the next generation. Thusly, I present The Strypes!! I believe they are currently about 15-16 years old. And they remind me of some other group that I can't quite place. [He says with a straight face.]
“Did you ever have one of those damn down days…. “ the triple d’s”?
I thought so….the kind of day where even finding a dollar tucked away in a dirty pair of jeans – torn open at the knees like Joey Ramone’s -- might pick you up. Well Aloe Blacc’s “I need a dollar” just fit the bill last night. I was wandering around in the dark, wearing nothing but an old double extra-large t-shirt, swigging some kind of 86 proof, when I stumbled on the remote control for the TV. Jools Holland was on…and Aloe Blacc’s group was doing a call and response bit that I had never heard before. I stopped swigging and listened, snapping my fingers like an old beatnik digging on some incomprehensible poetry. I smiled…..”
“You know how it is when you’re doing the prep work for a lasagna dinner that you’re giving for your lady friend’s family and you need to zest a few limes…but you can’t find your zester? You look everywhere it’s supposed to be. (And, yes, in my kitchen everything really does have a proper place, thank you very much.) And it wasn’t there. So I got irritated with myself for misplacing it, and rumbled around in the top cabinet draw next to my stove as a last ditch search. Then it happened. “Shit!” I cut my finger on a malingering knife! Ok, so blood was now dripping down my arm as I slammed the drawer shut and tried to sort out in my mind where I had put my bandages. “Oh yeah,” I grumbled aloud, pressing a paper towel over my wound. “They’re in the junk drawer at the bottom with all those damnable appliance instructions that I never read.” After some more audible grousing, I was stopped cold at what I had uncovered – An envelope with ticket stubs to the best Metallica concert I ever saw. (Ok, it was the only one I ever saw.) I became misty eyed. “Moscow…1991” All those former “Commies” with their long greasy hair, thrusting the “metal horn salutation” in the air to the strains of “Enter Sandman.” I was verklempt.
Oh…I never did find my zester…
“As I began feeding a few wandering, skittish pigeons with stale bread crusts I picked up at a deli near Amsterdam and 72nd, their heads randomly bobbing near my bench in Central Park, I could hear the colliding sounds of various mournful Beatles tunes down the way from me in Strawberry Fields. I could barely pick out any one of their tunes, but a few bars of “Imagine” came through. Despite the cloying memory of my recent business transaction with one of Manhattan’s finest independent entrepreneurs of satisfaction, another tune made its way into my consciousness. “Where’s that coming from,” I mused just loud enough to disturb the jerky motions of the closest pigeons. “Could it be?” I reflected to one of birds, who stopped bobbing long enough to listen with me. “I think it is!…It’s Cab Calloway!!” Sure enough, as soon as the words escaped my mouth, I saw the elderly gentleman – dressed all in white – strut into view. “That’s ‘Saint James Infirmary!” Yes, I was amazed. I thought he was long dead. Even more amazed than me was the grounded flock in front me, who, when hearing those sour blue strains, began bobbing together to the rhythms. It was a sight, and I gave out a hardy “Hi-dee-ho!” as he and his group sashayed up the path.”
I woke up slowly and feeling terribly groggy. It was, yes, a dark and cloudy night. My back was propped up against a pine tree. I knew that because there was sticky pine sap all over my shoulders. The thumb and forefinger of my left hand were still wrapped around the hook of a jug of Three Mountains burgundy…or whatever it was they chose to call “burgundy.” I was aroused by sounds coming from the broken down honkytonk in the clearing in front of me. Whatever is that song? I muttered. The band was playing something that felt ever so right at the moment. So after a barely victorious struggle against the law of gravity, I managed to bedraggle myself closer to the open door, the jug of wine remaining precariously affixed to my left hand which I used as a prop to steady myself. What I experienced was an epiphany, a salutary event of monumental proportions: It was none other than Willie Nelson himself, along with Merle Haggard and some others, singing “Pancho and Lefty.” I knew at that moment, there was a god, a god who knows good booze, bad women, and ‘mother Nature.