Say you’re standing somewhere, bored, and glance at your phone to pass the time. Is there some bit of news you can imagine reading there that would hit you hard enough to make you lose your breath, fall back to sit down, and just crowd out the world while you process it? That happened to me a week ago. In a small way, this post is a celebration and a way to grieve. More than anything though, I’m looking to make it a cyberspace memorial for somebody who deserved that.
At the height of the noisy disaster that was the 2016 political season, when you couldn’t read the news or watch late night television without hearing somebody’s views on how much you suck no matter what you believe, I wrote this:
Look, I’m not a great guitar player. And I don’t sit around writing music anymore. But when I needed some sanity and a calm, happy place, this memory of a guy named Tim who you would have loved dearly just did it for me. I wish you could have met him. He’d have made you laugh, would have gotten you talking about something you love. If you’d been lonely and scared in a junior high cafeteria staring at all the strangers and being told you were sitting in somebody else’s seat, he would have sat beside you and started talking about AC/DC. That was Tim.
If you had been there in, say, 1988 in my bedroom with us playing weird noises on those guitars, you’d have seen Tim’s eyes drift off while he dreamed up crazy lyrics. I wish I could have heard them now. Maybe he knew how sad he was going to get without telling anybody. Maybe he was sad then. I don’t know, he never told me anything about it. We called each other best friends for 30 years; but he never told me he was sad enough to kill himself with a shotgun. I want that image to go away. And I only want to see him there strumming that acoustic guitar beside me wearing his stupid straw panama hat. On my dad’s patio in the summer sunshine, right before we head out to some antique malls or to the lake.
I want you to think of someone you know who might be alone, right now. Even if it’s awkward and has been a while, I want you to call them. See how they’re doing. Dig.
It’s a beautiful world; but it can be a mean world too. That’s why there’s a bunch of us. If you’ve used your mind’s eye as you read this, then in a way that’s very, very important to me, you know something only me and a guy named Tim knew. Now it’s like you were with us back then.
I’d appreciate you remembering.