Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Toots Is Gone

Toots Thielemans was the premier harmonica man in European and American jazz for many decades.  He lived to be 94 years old.  And he finally moved on just yesterday.

My Toots experience is another one of those things which underlines heartbreak of my own making; an offshoot of ignorance and distorted view of reality hammered into me by family, which was way more extreme than most would ever believe.

Cemented that much more from living in a very shallow, mean and base-minded community, and a neighborhood which ridiculed behind your back relentlessly.  And to your face if a big enough crowd was there, willing to help the humiliation.  There were those who never ever bucked the crowd, for fear they would become the target.  Moral cowards.  I was rarely confronted directly, but I knew my family was odd one out.  Boy, did I ever know!  So I won't attempt to paint that picture further.

When I met Mr. Thielemans, he was being a bit mischievous, but at the same time offering me an opportunity like few musicians ever get.  I was too screwed up to bite.  So, adios, Toots, you at least gave it a shot.
Here's a pic from six years ago.  Money and maybe a sane, decent nature, along with talent and the ability to make others feel worthwhile tend to attract good mates.  No wonder; I am an empty bucket on all counts these days. 

The growing self hatred for my shortcomings may not be a constructive development.  Need to shop for that parasail, and scout the highest peaks for the best launch for a long long flight.  

A life of regret is hardly a life.  Certainly it is not the ideal way to best treasure this amazing phenomenon of living.  Getting sick in a chronic, if not necessarily immediately terminal way, did help me see the awesome aspect of all living things.  Existence, itself, is beyond anything that makes sense.

Mr. Thielemans was an example of one who did things right.  As nearly as I can tell, he was a more humble, decent person than what jazz and other music often enjoy.

He actually began as a guitar player and had good success with that, playing with the top big bands of late 40's early 50's.  He kept going until 2014 when his health caused him to cancel concerts and retire.  He died in his sleep.  Probably a happy man.

That is a good reason to finally quit being so sad; better to die happy than to exit wondering what the heck this whole misadventure was about, and why was it so poorly managed.

Anyway, thank you for your overture toward me way back then, and sorry for my stubborn self destruction and misguided ideas of everything which caused me to miss my cue.   You were most gracious.  I wish I had known something.  Otherwise, I wish I had never become even slightly involved in performing.   I wish so many things could be different, but they aren't, and this is what people most see as something I do that is half way competent.

Truthfully I was a much more naturally gifted mathematician or physicist or engineer than I was anything to do with music or art.  I rarely like the kingpins of the arts or music.  They are pushy, and annoying, and will shut down others out of petty jealousy and self aggrandizement.  They are not the best of society.

The inventors of machines which make the air clean and of comfortable temperature, of machines that can take you from point A to point B safely and comfortably, of medical breakthroughs, etc.; those are the heroes.  Beyonce and her thug buddy Jay Z are nothing.  She can sing and is great, but can't hold a candle to any great engineer.  We have it upside down for who is admired.  We admire con artists and scumbags whenever possible it seems.

Anyway, Jean-Baptiste,  our little conversation stuck with me.  You tried.  I have never known exactly how to try.  Or even how to cry and be done with it.

So, what overly stupid thing am I doing now?  What bliss is being offered that I cannot see?  Why is sadness and illness all I know?  I am in good enough shape.  To others I "look better than (they've) ever seen me!"  Really?  wow.  They haven't known me that long.

Seriously, one can only handle so much.  I wonder what will happen when I do reach my limit.  It must be near because I am not finding surviving this level of the muck to be a sustainable experience.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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