Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Never Got To Say 'Goodbye'

When I was 18 years old I had a group of really good friends. A bunch of high school buddies. We moved into a big green five-bedroom house together. We played, and laughed a lot. They were carefree times in one respect. Very profound and serious times as well. We talked about remaining together through the future, starting another band, traveling, and maybe even changing the world somehow. Yeah, we were dreamers like everybody else. Big time. But we were honest dreamers.

Jim was a dichotomy. He was very responsible in many ways, much more so than some of us. But like the rest of us at that age, and in those times, he was irresponsible as well. Had a good head on his shoulders, for the most part. Seemed to have a loving family, but nobody outside a family really knows that family. Appeared to have good self-esteem, was good looking, and always had the things he needed. Had his pick of girls. They were lined up like hookers in a Cat House waiting for a nod from him. Drove an old MG sports car, a convertible in very good condition. It fit him well.

But Jim was not happy. He would go into deep depressions, suddenly, without any sense of provocation that we could see. Just went from normal to strange. It happened often. We learned to leave him alone when it was going on. He’d get a funny look on his face, as if he were seeing demons, or God. When in those pronounced depressions he’d sometimes laugh sort of a crazy laugh. It kind of scared us. This was not drug-induced behavior. He was like this before he ever started using drugs of any kind.

Jim played guitar, sang a little, but was more shy than some of us. Liked Jim Morrison and the Doors. Liked their darker, moodier stuff. I liked the Doors also, but in a different way than Jim. I thought they were musically skilled, profound, lyrical and edgy. But Jim liked the darkness. I was a little afraid of that in him. So many of the other bands of the day were producing good music, but without that inherent gloom, the sense of hopelessness. The Doors had kind of a dangerous element to them, a quiet desperation. Jim often secluded himself, with the Doors as a steady diet. It was not good for him. He identified too closely with Jim Morrison. Morrison was not a healthy man to be so deeply, so profoundly connected to.

LSD was Jim’s favorite drug. It was his kaleidoscope. It was the means through which he saw the world. It was his light, the color in his life, the color of his life. I fully understand that. But LSD was too much information. Too much inundation. It was too much stimulation of the senses. Not only for him, but for all of us. We took it regularly, a lot of it. But it was bigger than we were. Much bigger.

Jim was a sensitive young man. He was kind, and he was loving. He used to cry sometimes. Nobody else I knew ever cried. Besides myself.

Jim went out one night and never came home again.
I didn’t know he was gonna die.
And I never got to say Goodbye.