The Old Man And The Chair

Autumn, 2022

I was working in the hardware store the other day when a fragile gentleman entered the place. He was older than me and probably well into his 70s. He was by himself and wore a long blue overcoat. I noticed that he was moving slowly and suffering from kyphosis.

I was already on the floor assisting another customer so he was helped by one of my coworkers.

One of the things I notice about working at the hardware store is the number of older people that come in with things they’re repairing or replacing in their homes.

At 60 years old, I think about my own retirement in a few years when I see these folks. I always think about how I probably won’t worry about these sorts of things when I’m older. (I don’t worry about them now!) I ask myself why would these older people waste their time worrying about all of these small items and fixes in their homes? Shouldn’t they just be enjoying life and their retirement? Shouldn’t they be embracing their twilight years instead of worrying about lightbulbs, caulk, paint, stain, and other small projects?

I don’t get it. I picture myself in old age, building little plastic car models and giving them as gifts to friends. Playing my guitar and writing songs, and maybe jamming with a few other old geezers. Maybe renting a car and going on cool road trips around the country. Writing new stories for my blog and documenting my travels in it. Composing new stories for books I want to publish. Bigger picture, quality of life subjects. Not worrying about a bunch of little fixes around my house.

I mentioned this to my older sister and she gave me a good explanation. She said that by the older people taking care of all of these little projects and fixes around their homes, they’re keeping themselves busy. Rather than sitting in a chair with nothing to do in their retirement, they were keeping their minds and hands busy with these projects. It was giving them something to do each day. It gave them a reason to get up, get dressed, and go out of the house. It gave them purpose and filled their time. They enjoyed getting out of the house and talking to people and working on their stuff.

It made sense to me and was a solid explanation, but I thought there might be more to it than that. I also thought that maybe these people have gathered wealth, raised their families, completed their time in the workforce, and had nothing else better to do with their lives in retirement. Maybe they weren’t as gifted as I was. A person who could make art, write stories, play a musical instrument, and have a never-ending need to constantly create.

That bit seemed a little selfish and ignorant on my part. I don’t want to be self-absorbed or judge other people. For the most part, the world is filled with simply average people. There are only an extraordinary few. I am barely one of that elite club. I’m a hack at best, born with some natural abilities that are gifts to be shared with others if they’ll appreciate them. They’re only valuable if you don’t squander them.

My sister was right about her assessment of these older folks. That had to be it, and there wasn’t anything else. Just people with too much time on their hands each day who wanted to stay busy. Their friends and family were slowly dying off. Their kids were long raised and off living their own lives. Their time in the workforce has been over for decades. They were living comfortably financially and had no more battles to win.

When I used to go to a place called Rachael’s for breakfast there was an old guy who came in each day. He traveled around with the use of a walker and came in each day and sat in the same seat doing his thing.

I asked the owner at the time what his deal was, and he said that the guy lived in a building upon JFK blvd and came in every day. I thought it seemed like a hassle to have to struggle along with a walker each day to come down to Rachael’s.

He said that the guy came in daily, ordered the same thing, and then sat in his favorite spot and went through his mail and bills. It gave him a reason to get out of the house, be a little social, and just be anywhere but alone in his apartment. It gave his retired life some purpose. It simply kept him going despite his declining health and mobility.

This sounded like what my sister had stated to me when I told her about the senior citizens at the hardware store. So she must be right about that. I mean, I don’t think I’d do that in my old age, but it’s rapidly approaching every year that passes in my life.

Death is inevitable for all of us. Rich or poor, the reaper will come for every one of us. Everybody has to die, but it all depends on how you lived your life while you were here. But what does it all mean? Why do we live and do all of these things, and gather all of this stuff that needs maintenance only to know that we’ll have to leave at some point, and can’t take any of it with us? What’s the point of it all?

Anyway, I finished with my customer in the store and went to help out at the counter. I saw the old man with the bent back chatting with my coworker about a product he was about to purchase.

It was a little four-pack of tiny plastic coasters that are affixed to the bottom of chair legs so they don’t scratch your nice hardwood floors. He had one in his knarled hand that had come out of the leg of one of his chairs. It was a well-worn plastic cap with a rubber washer on a nail. After years of movement, the nail had become loose and slipped out of the chair leg.

The little four-pack had the very same product that he needed, but the man said the nails looked a little too thin. My coworker suggested that maybe he use a bigger screw or place a piece of a toothpick in the existing hole to tighten it up a bit to accommodate the new nail.

I was watching all of this and stated that maybe a dab of wood glue in the hole along with the toothpick shim could secure it. If the replacement ever wore down it would be pretty easy to remove and replace.

But I still thought to myself, why does this guy care what happens to his floor at this stage of his life? Who cares if the floor gets scratched. Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Why is he worried about this small thing at all?

But these thoughts brought me back to what my sister had said, but my thoughts went a bit further. Here’s this old guy trying to fix a chair in his house. He’ll be dead in probably the next 5 to 10 years and that chair will still be standing. He’ll be dead and gone. Disintegrating into nothing in the ground or already turned to ashes by a loved one. He’ll be gone, and this chair he’s trying to fix will still be standing here on earth. What’s the point, man?

Shouldn’t you be doing anything else? Don’t worry about the chair. You should be enjoying the day and feeling the sunshine on your face before it sets for the last time in your life. Enjoy what little time you have left.

But then it hit me.

This old man has spent his life working and fixing things. Being a presence in his spouse and children’s lives. He wants to fix this chair because he knows this chair is going to be around long after he’s gone.

Maybe that’s our purpose in life.

If something’s broken, needs to be fixed, or simply needs help, it’s our mission in life to do something to make it better. To make it whole again, or at the very least to make it feel better.

Maybe we’re here and have our lives not to accumulate wealth, stature, and stuff, but to care and maintain the things and people around us for when we’re no longer here. Doing things that make the world a little better while we’re here so that our existence left some sort of positive mark on the next generation.

It’s not about the chair. It could be another person. It could be a child. Taking the time to try to fix things and make them better is why we’re here. To make life better for the people around us for when we’re long gone.

Like the broken chair, if he works to try to help it stand strong, he knows it’ll serve others better in the future. He’ll be gone, but he’s making sure the things around him are better. The chair will still be standing strong when he can no longer stand.

No matter how old you are, while you’re here you should try to make things around you better because you’re able. Those things and people will still be in the world after you’re gone, and maybe they’ll be better. Which will make the world just a little bit better thanks to you.

You can do this in your daily life. Do right by other people and raise your children correctly. Download all of your good data into their heads. Work out your weaknesses and failures. Become a better person, and work on yourself every day.  Help other people who need it.

Because one day you’ll be gone, and the world will go on spinning without you. Do the right things now so the generations of tomorrow can continue to thrive and go forward. Maybe that’s our purpose for being here. We’re all going to die. But we can have a positive effect on those around us to make the world and its people a better place for tomorrow, even though we all have to someday leave the party forever.

Do what you can to make the chairs around you stand strong and steady on their own when you’re long gone. Because that chair could be a friend or a family member. But if you help make them strong and stable, they can offer repose to someone else who may need to someday take a seat.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please like, comment, share, and most of all, follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here:

California Dreamin’- DuBrow

Santa Monica, CA – 1982

My buddy Frank and I were having the time of our lives living out in LA. We both worked but obviously at such a young age, (me 19, and Frank, 21) we didn’t make much money. But when we had a little extra cash we’d head out to a bar or nightclub to mix and mingle with the locals.

One of our favorite spots was right in our own neighborhood. Madam Wong’s West. Esther Wong was a famous venue owner and music promoter in LA. She had a spot in Chinatown and another one in Santa Monica.

We had some great success on our first excursion out to that club when we met and bedded the Yamamato sisters. We were still sort of dating them both but still enjoyed the LA nightlife and all the deviltry it had to offer.

One night we were sitting in a booth sipping our beers and checking out some of the local bands that were playing there. The main band that was playing upstairs wasn’t all that notable. They were a hard rock act called Dubrow which I thought was a horrible name for a band.

I later learned that they were called something else but gave up the name after their spectacular guitarist quit the band to go work for a more well-known musician.

Years later I discovered that the guy who was the singer in the band we saw that night at Madam Wong’s was named Kevin Dubrow, hence the name of the band. Seems a bit egotistical based on how he appeared marginally talented as a singer and frontman. I also found out that the former name of that band when their extraordinary guitarist was in it was Quiet Riot.

The news about how this guitarist was now playing in Ozzy Osborne’s band was a much talked about subject. Randy Rhoads was always called “former guitarist for Quiet Riot.” So the singer, Kevin Dubrow decided to capitalize on this information and changed the name of his band back to Quiet Riot. It was fun finding all of this information out later and knowing I saw them when they were just a bar band that nobody cared about back in 1982.

They did okay after changing their name back to Quiet Riot.

Sadly, Kevin passed away at age 52 from an overdose of alcohol and painkillers. I’m glad I didn’t follow the same rock and roll path and end up with a similar fate.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly.

You can check out my books here:

James – Miraculous Discovery – Part 2

Philadelphia, PA – April 2022

In part 1 of this post I talked about how I was hanging out with my friend James one night and we were checking out my small booze collection. I showed him the Macallan 17 and how I knew it was worth $400 but there was another bottle of Macallan I had that I knew nothing about.

It will help with continuity if you read the previous post first. It’s right here:

James – Miraculous Discovery – Part 1

Turns out it was a special commemorative bottle that was given to employees during the celebration of the Edrington acquisition of Macallan from Remy Cointreau. That was back in 2014 and the scotch inside the bottle was fresh. So basically, it wasn’t worth anything. It was just a nice little treat they made for the staff and gave them out.

I’m assuming most people just cracked them and drank them because they were worthless. And that’s what I thought about the bottle I had that was sitting on a shelf for the last five years.

But James looked it up on the internet and said it had gone for around $6000 in an auction a year or so ago.

I was stunned. This bottle was given to me by a guy I once knew who had quit drinking and gave me around a dozen bottles of his booze.

I started to do some research and found it’s not easy to sell a bottle of booze. There are all sorts of laws about trading alcohol, shipping, customs, taxes, auction rules, percentages, and fees.

I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of having to find some company that would want it, figure out how to ship it, and take all of those risks. I read about how there’s a lot of fraud in that business.

So I took some photos of the bottle and sent them to some brokers that deal in the sale of collectible booze. I heard back from most of them rather quickly when they saw what I had.

One of them offered me $150 for it because they thought I didn’t know what I had and they wanted to rip me off. But I was wise to all of these guys.

I’ve collected comic books in the past and I know all about buying and selling valuable objects of antiquity. Just ask my older sister about when we went to a train show and blew out thousands of dollars worth of toy trains from my father’s estate.

I spoke to several brokers looking for the easiest and most profitable way to move this bottle. I knew the bottle could sell at auction because it was rare and some collectors of Macallan would want this rare piece for their collection. Not because the scotch it contained was aged or even good. It was just a rare sealed bottle that was hard to find. So it wasn’t about its contents. It was simply a rare unopened bottle in mint condition in its original box.

I know how brokers work. They make a deal knowing they have people in their sphere of influence that are willing to pay more for what they have.

I don’t have that luxury. I have nothing invested in this bottle. I haven’t spent one cent on it. I acquired it in a box of other stuff I thought had more value. It was simply a fluke and a moment of unexpected luck.

I knew I wouldn’t get $6000 for it but I didn’t care.

Nothing invested. Free bottle. Take the money.

I made the arrangements with a broker and he drove down one Saturday from New York. I decided to meet him at the hardware store because I didn’t know this guy. I figured I had the guys I worked with there, and the place is surrounded by CCTV cameras. There would be no funny stuff and the broker would be on my turf.

The guy arrived and I brought him inside. I asked him to follow me through the store. I took him down to the basement which must have made him a little nervous. It’s like an old cave down there. Dark and dank like a wine cellar.

I brought him back to the office and asked him to show me the money. He counted out 37 $100 bills and a $50. That’s $3,750 CASH. Tax-free invisible money. I handed him the bag with the bottle in its box and he opened it and looked it over. He was satisfied.

He even said that a bottle like this was a little difficult to sell because as he said, “the juice inside is worthless”. It’s not about the scotch for once. It’s simply a rare bottle that’s desirable to the right collector.

Or, did he say that to make me think the bottle was worth less than it actually was? It seemed like a broker trick. I worked in sales my whole life. I can spot all the tells.

I was happy. I had nearly four grand cash in my pocket and it was free money. I ran home and hid it in my apartment and returned to work.

So, you never know what you can find or acquire in your life, and can turn into cash.

On to the next adventure!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly.

You can check out my books here:

Tales of Rock – The Last Great Stones Song

Back in the late 80s, Kieth Richards was again on the outs with his bandmate, Mick Jagger. He decided to put out his own album. Although Keith isn’t the best singer, the album, entitled Talk Is Cheap was great. It came out in 1988. Once you adjust your mind to Keith’s voice, the record is great. Every song on the album is great and the musicians he plays with are terrific. It was the best “Stones/Not the Rolling Stones” album in a decade. I went to see him play with his band, The X-pensive Winos live at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia, with my friend Jim and it was amazing.

But by 1989 Keith was back with the Stones and they put out an album called Steel Wheels. It was mediocre at best, but I really liked one of the songs on the record. It was the track, Mixed Emotions.

But there was something familiar about it. It sort of had a vibe from the song Take It So Hard from Keith’s album. I liked them both equally, but I always felt like they somehow lifted the melody from Take It So Hard and wove it into the new song, Mixed Emotions.

Listen to both of them back to back. Tell me in the comments if you think I’m wrong.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here:

James – Miraculous Discovery – Part 1

Philadelphia – March 2022

When I originally wrote this post a year ago I still had some bitterness in me. It was Covid but I was grateful. My daughter and I got a year and a half off from work life to create. She made original music and I wrote books.

It was beautiful. It was exactly what we both needed.

I’ve edited the nonsense and bitterness out of this post to make it a bit more palatable to my readers. The original version seemed a bit callous and mean. Don’t worry, all the best parts are still in it, but it’s a little nicer.

I’ve learned that it isn’t what happens to you in life, it’s how you react to it that creates its value.

Anyway, I’m running low on content because I’m so buried in writing my new book, Down the Shore that I can think of little else.

But I’m determined to write a blog post a week to keep Phicklephilly going.

So here we go…

My friend James hit me up and wanted to hang out. We settled on a date to meet and set it up. We decided to check out the new Victory Brewery up on the parkway which is where the old TGIFridays was for years.

I’d been to the TGIFridays in the past and it was a good space. It had 2 levels and an outdoor patio. But many of these chain restaurants have left center city because the audience just isn’t there anymore. There are too many unique spots to drink and dine in the city and people are no longer interested in goofy theme restaurants.

I’m not a big beer drinker at all. I hardly drink at all anymore and just don’t see the benefit of it in my life. Why would I want something hard for my body to process and slow me down the next day?

But I do like a bottle of cold Victory Summer Love in the spring and summer months. It was an unseasonably comfortable March evening and I knew I’d be having one at Victory Brewery.

We get there around 7:30 and the place is packed. I’m feeling a little cranky when I get there because when we approach the hostess stand there’s some guy making it his life’s work to discuss something with her. Come on. Make your reservation or reserve your table and move on, clown. So James and I are rotting away in line behind this idiot.

We finally get up there and she tells us the wait for a table is 30 minutes. That’s cool. We’ll go have a beer at the bar and chat while we wait. We get our beers and head outside to the outdoor deck. There aren’t many people out there so we can grab a table and chat and enjoy our beers.

I realized that it was March Madness and that’s why the place is so busy on a Monday night. But the half-hour goes quickly and we get a little table. We both order Old Fashioneds and toast our night together.

The menu’s limited and is standard brewery fare so there aren’t many choices. That’s fine. James gets the burrito and I get a burger and fries. I rarely eat bread or refined carbs of any type now so anytime I’m out, (which is rare) I get something decadent and enjoy it as a treat.

James said his burrito was sub-par and I agree about my burger. It’s cooked one way and we’re eating low-level fast food. No big deal. We’re there to just check the place out and get some food in our bellies and chit-chat.

James brings up the subject of my freelance writing and I sort of go off. At this point, I’m frustrated that the business hasn’t grown in my favor. I started this gig with my former coworker and I feel like she’s hired numerous freelancers and she’s spreading the work among several of them. But I told her back in December that I needed to earn around $700 a month to get by and I thought we were clear on that fact. But I feel like I’ve been thrown scraps since the new year began. A couple of easy clients and crap articles for $30 apiece. I did 14 articles in January and didn’t make much money for all of my hard work.

I’ve written how I’ve been getting fed up with it and the moment I start earning more at the hardware store I’m probably going to either give up the freelancing or cut it way back. I get why she may be spreading the work over several writers, but I started this thing with her and I’ve written over 200 articles for her. Now I’m getting scraps.

So I went on a rage rant to James about my dissatisfaction with how this freelance writing gig has been going since its inception. It was the first time I talked about it with anyone and it came out as a rage fest. (I texted James the next morning and apologized) I wasn’t directing my anger at him, I was just stating the facts of my situation. Normally I’m calm and happy about everything, but it triggered me and I went off on a bit of a rant over our mediocre dinner. We both agreed we wouldn’t be returning to this place again. It’s just too basic and full of families and sports fans. If you want a better experience like that I would recommend Cavanaugh’s. The staff is on point, the food is great and so is the service. (But since they moved to their new location down the street, it lacks the spirit of the old place and we’re done with that joint too.)

James pays the bill, (Thanks, man!) and we leave. We walk south back down into the center city. We decide we want to stop for another cocktail and lift the evening a bit. But as we pass Rouge, Devon, and Parc in Rittenhouse we find that most of those places look like their closing. It’s around 10 pm now.

We figure we’ll hit up Pub and Kitchen or Lou Bird’s because those are a couple of bookend spots down in my neighborhood.

We get down there to 20th and Lombard and find that both places are dark and locked up tight. What the heck? Why is everything closed? But we quickly realize that after covid, many places are done on a Monday night by 10 pm.

We still want to hang out some more because there was still a lot to cover. After all, we only see each other every couple of months. I suggest we walk up to Food and Friends, make a six-pack of mixed beers and seltzers, and just go to my house.

Once we get back to my place we settle in, sip our drinks, and chat. I had one spiked seltzer and then switched over to plain seltzer. I just don’t like drinking alcohol anymore. For a guy who once drank lakes of vodka and oceans of chardonnay, it’s been a great change. I’ve been living a pretty clean life for the last few years and just enjoy feeling healthy and looking lean and fit.

We’re listening to some chill music and chatting about movies. The subject of my sparse liquor collection somehow comes up. I formerly had many bottles in my collection but I don’t have many in the house anymore.

Over 5 years ago I knew a guy that worked for Edrington Brands and was fired.  He decided to get sober even though he didn’t have a drinking problem and gave me all of his liquor to get it out of his house.

At the time it was a nice collection of unique bottles of whiskey, rum, and vodka. I was grateful but ended up giving most of it away as gifts to others.

It was great that if I was invited to someone’s house, I could just grab a $40 bottle of booze from the collection and give it to them. The only bottles I kept were a Glenturret 27, a black grouse blend, a Macallan 17, and another bottle of Macallan with no vintage that I had never seen before but I was sure was worthless. (But Macallan is good scotch, so I kept it)

James is sitting there sipping his beer and I’m showing him a few of the bottles left in my tiny collection. I tell him the Macallan 17 is now worth $400 and I’ll probably crack it at my daughter’s wedding if she ever gets married.

He asks me about the other Macallan bottle and I tell him I don’t know what it is. I take it out of its box and let him check it out.

He looks it over and then goes on his phone in an attempt to figure out what it is. From the look of it, it appears to be a commemorative bottle that may have only been given to reps for the company or something. It doesn’t have a year on it and is wrapped in a Macallan and Edrington label with a blue ribbon around it with a red seal.

What James found on the internet was nothing short of astounding. Macallan was run and distributed through Remy Cointreau for years. Around 2014 Edrington Brands bought the brand and took over all distribution for Macallan across the globe. When that acquisition occurred they decided to make a special bottle of whiskey to commemorate the event. (Notice the statement on the label, Great People, Leading Brands, Giving More)

These bottles were specially designed to be filled with new whiskey and given to employees of the company at the event. The guy I once knew may have gone over to Scotland for this event but I’m not sure.

That’s why I figured the bottle was worthless. It isn’t aged whiskey even though it’s a great brand. They just grabbed some fresh booze and put it in commemorative bottles to celebrate the acquisition. Then handed these trinkets out to the staff that attended the event. That sort of thing happens all the time with brands.

But what James discovered is that it’s rumored that only 100 of these bottles were ever produced. To a person who collects Macallan scotch, they would probably want this for their collection. Not because it’s aged 10,12,15,17, 18, or 20 years, but because the bottle itself is rare.

James continues his search and finds that a bottle exactly like this one sold at auction for $6,000 in 2018.


The bottle I thought was worthless is now worth something to a collector right now.

So, I was blown away and elated that James had made this gesture of discovery. Thank you, Sherlock!

So, I’m going to have to decide what I’m going to do with this bottle that’s unopened, and in mint condition in its original box. It’s been sitting in a little cabinet in my bedroom for the last 5 years!

I love rare discoveries like this. I’ll probably sell it and take the cash because I don’t want to drink it. It’s not even aged whiskey. I’m sure it’s not very good, but I’d rather put it in the hands of someone who will appreciate it. (I did this with my comic book collection and my dad’s toy trains, so why not?) I made a bundle and plowed the cash into the stock market.

I’ll update the blog once the bottle is sold.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here:

Dead End Kids T-Shirts on eBay!

UPDATE: The shirts are no longer on Facebook Marketplace. It was too cumbersome. The shirts are now available on EBAY!

The link is here:

By now you all know I love the Dead End Kids. A few years ago I wrote an article about them on this blog.

I posted the story in the group, Kelly James We Love You on Facebook. There was an outpouring of love, and the post has been shared and viewed thousands of times.

I decided that after the success of my book, Lawndale, I should do a Wildwood book. Obviously, The Dead End Kids would have to be a part of that because of my love for that band, and what seeing them in 1980 and 1981 meant to me. Like Aerosmith or Star Wars, this band touched and inspired me in a deep way as a teenager.

While working on the book I thought back to the black Dead End Kids shirt I bought from them and wore as a badge of honor for years. But time passed and by the 90s the shirt was grey from numerous washings and started to fall apart.

I remember I even had a yellow Dead End Kids/Thrust T-shirt from back then but that one also fell apart.

So, while working on the new book, Down The Shore I started thinking about my old DEK t-shirt. I have a few cool rock shirts but I really missed my DEK shirt! I asked online and on Facebook and talked with other fans, but to no avail.

A few months ago I found a guy who had an original old shirt from 1980 that was in decent shape. The black had faded to a dark blue/grey color but it was still intact and had all of the writing on it front and back.



I was ecstatic! I’d be getting my old shirt back to add to my collection. I paid an exorbitant amount of money for it but figured it was a one-of-a-kind, rare item.

But then I started thinking… what if there was a way to use this original shirt as a template to make new shirts exactly like the original in every way. I didn’t really want to wear the original because it was now a collectible 40-year-old antique from my youth.

I spoke with a buddy of mine and he told me that knew a really good company that used high-quality cotton shirts and did outstanding work. I reached out to them and explained my situation. They told me to bring the old shirt in and they’d see what they could do.

I made the trek to their plant and met with the team. They ran some tests and told me that they would be able to replicate the images on the front and back exactly like the original. The minimum order was 24 shirts and the price was a little steep for my budget. But I really wanted to do this and told them I’d run it by the Group on Facebook to see if there was any interest.

I put it out there and got a lot of positive responses. Several of these folks said that before I did anything I should get approval from George Rumbol. (original guitarist/singer from the DEKs) So I reached out to him on Facebook and sent him a message. They said that unfortunately he and his wife were down with Covid for the second time so I may not hear back for a while.

Months went by without a peep. But a few weeks ago I got a message from George’s wife Laura. She apologized for not getting back to me sooner, but they had been facing one crisis after another. Several family members had been in and out of the hospital, there had been some deaths, and her dad was suffering from some health problems as well. This news was heartbreaking to hear and I wished them well with everything that was going on. I hope by the time you read this, things have improved for them.

But what she did say in her message back to me was that they were too busy to do anything with the shirts. So if I wanted to have some made and sell them they were fine with it.

So with an approval in writing, I went back to the printing company and asked them to make me a minimum order. They said they could do 24 shirts, all black and in a number of sizes. They suggested, 4 Small, 4 Medium, 8 Large, & 8 Extra Large.

They also said that if a certain size sells more than the other sizes, I could do another order with more of the sizes that were most popular. It looks like Large and Extra Large will sell the best, so if this goes well, I’ll order more of those.

With what I’ve invested in acquiring the original, and the cost of the shirts and having them made, I’m obviously not doing this to make money. I just really wanted a brand-new shirt that I could wear with pride around Philly!

But where to sell them to the folks who want them? I figured Facebook Marketplace would be a good start. I never used it before and have only used Ebay to sell items in the past. But I set up an account yesterday and found that it lacks the finer points and ease that Ebay provides. But I figured the Dead End Kids group is on Facebook. All the people I know are on Facebook. I could advertise it on the group’s page, people could message me and ask questions, give sizes, and number of how many they wanted. It would all be in one place.

I wanted to write this post to clear up any confusion and make this process a bit simpler. So if you want a shirt, message me on Facebook with any questions you may have about the items. I’ll need an address where you want the shirts shipped. Payments can be done through Paypal or Venmo with $5 shipping and handling by using my name, Charles Wiedenmann.

Once payment is received, I will pack them into secure parcels and get them out to you within 3-5 business days.

If this goes well, I’ll have more made and we’ll just keep this train rolling! (Train kept a Rollin’?)

But there’s another part to all of this. Two summers ago I went down to Wildwood to hang out with my sister for a few days and found that the town had really changed. It’s no longer the Wildwood I knew from my youth. But nothing stays the same and why should I expect it to be like it was when I was a kid?

During my time there my sister took me to The George Boyer Historical Museum down on Pacific Avenue.

This place was great and filled with all sorts of historical items from Wildwood’s grand past. If you ever get down there please visit this place. It’s amazing! But here’s the thing… They have tons of big photo albums chock full of photos and memorabilia from the past. I went through the ones marked: Bars/Clubs/Nightlife for the years 1980 and 1981. There were photos of Witness and some other bands…

But NOTHING about the mighty Dead End Kids. I was surprised because they were such a magical force on the island back then. If there was anything in that museum about them, I couldn’t find it.

So this is what I’m proposing. If I can get these shirts into the hands of the fans, what I’d like to do is create a memorial for our fallen comrade, the great Kelly James and for the band in the museum. They deserve a place in there for all eternity. I want to donate the original shirt to the museum as part of the memorial in something elegant that will display the front and back of the original shirt with some photos.

I feel that this is a good idea and the band should have their rightful place in that museum.

As some of you may have heard I’m working on a book about my time in Wildwood in the 60s and 70s. I’m hoping to get the book Down The Shore out this summer. The Dead End Kids are mentioned throughout the book and get their own chapter.

If nobody likes going through Facebook Marketplace and think I should sell them on Ebay or Craigslist or some other platform, let me know. I’ve got a box full of freshly minted DEAD END KIDS T-shirts ready to be put on the bodies of the fans and worn with pride to support this beloved band.

Thanks for all the love and let’s all send positive rock ‘n roll energy to the Rumbol family and everyone else connected to the Dead End Kids!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here:

The Paragon – Chapter 9 – Lightning Strikes

The final chapter!

I couldn’t stop thinking about the Eko guitar over the weekend. That’s a good sign. I’ve got the feeling. I just hope it’s real and I do what I planned to do with my music going forward.

It was time to prepare for the arrival of her imminence. I went on Amazon and looked up a few items. I wanted to get a few things in preparation for her arrival so it would be a seamless transition from the store to my house. I wasn’t only thinking about the Eko I needed to take care of the Iceman too.

I figured if I had finally decided to cheat on my wife, (the Iceman) I should at least get her a nice gift to say I’m sorry and haven’t forgotten about her. Maybe some special little gifts to let her know that she’s still my number one and I’m just taking up with this younger woman for laughs.

First I ordered this.

guitar wall hanger,Quality assurance,

I bolted the wall hanger to a support post in my room. If I was going to get this new cute guitar I didn’t want her hidden from sight in a case under my bed or in my closet. She should be displayed in clear sight so I can show her off and her beauty can be admired on a daily basis. Having her there on display will remind me that I need to play her on a regular basis. It’ll be easy to take her from her spot on the hook and make music with her.

Next, were these custom guitar picks.

I found a place that makes custom guitar picks online. I wanted them to be black of course and have my name on them. I even got to choose the font. Do you know what that font is called? Rock Salt. Seems fitting for a rocker. If I had access to stuff like this 40 years ago when I was in a band I would have ordered 100 of them. I would have been tossing them out to girls at every show!

I also found something else online, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The day arrived. 2/22/22. Today was the day I went to pick up my new little girlfriend. Having made all of the proper preparations and mounting the hook to the post in my room to display her, I was ready.

I went over to South Street Sounds and chatted with the owner’s wife. Her husband was in and out but was busy with some other clients. I didn’t care. I was there to do business regardless of who was present. I told the nice lady what I was there to do and she obliged. She carefully wrapped up my new guitar and I paid her.

I gently carried her home under an overcast sky that threatened to rain. But I willed it away to protect my new girl until I got her safely home. My daughter was home but didn’t see what I carried in.

I unwrapped the guitar from her package and placed her in her rightful place in my room. The funny thing was, I didn’t want to play her right away. I wanted to wait until my daughter left to visit her boyfriend in New Jersey for the weekend. I find that I want things more when I deny myself. If I love something now, I don’t devour it immediately like I did in the past. I wait. I wait for the right moment when everything’s perfect. (seems a little nuts but it works for me in all aspects of my life) I love having things to look forward to as part of my life now. It’s so important to have little things to constantly look forward to. Without that, life can become boring for some people. If I do everything in moderation, I’ll enjoy it more and for a longer period of time.

It’s a good way to live a happy life.

If you’ve got your health, some good people around you, something to do every day, to love and be loved, and something to look forward to… you’re all set.

I let the Iceman go first out of respect.

Such a beautiful faithful wife. Elegant and powerful. Her sharp lines, and double humbucker pickups. She’s not a lady to be trifled with onstage.

Now, my new girl…

My concubine. My new younger mistress. She’s light, fast, and cute. She’s got a whole different feel in my hands than my Iceman. I want to write some new songs on her this year.

But I’ll never forget my first love. The 1979 Ibanez Iceman. The guitar made me who I was back in the day. Out of respect and a little guilt, I felt I had to do something for her for bringing me so much joy for so many years.

So I got her a little present that she always deserved…

Do you see it?

The black leather strap with the white lightning bolt on it! She deserves the best and has waited patiently for it for so many years.

So if I’m going to cheat on her with my new mistress, I think she deserves a nice gift to let her know, she was always… and will always be, my number one.

The Paragon.

I appreciate everyone who read all of these chapters and went on this journey with me. There’ll be more original content on the way soon!

I’ve been teaching myself how to play a little lead guitar in the last few months and it’s coming along!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here:

If you liked my last book, Lawndale, then you’ll love my next book!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

Coming this Summer!!!

The Paragon – Chapter 8 – Anticipation

I stood in the music store admiring the instrument on the wall. It wasn’t a famous guitar brand. It didn’t need to be. There was just something about it that spoke to me.

That’s her. Who is she? She’s lovely.

She’s an Eko SC1 Kadett Sunburst. Lean, young, lightweight with feminine curves. A dramatic departure from the angular, masculine lines of the Ibanez Iceman. I gently bring her down from her perch on the wall. She feels light and elegant in my arms.

This is it.

This is the guitar I want. I have to have her.

Then it hits me. She looks like a brand new younger and better version of my very first guitar, the Sears Silvertone!

The resemblance to my first love is uncanny, but the Eko is so much better. I think this is the attraction. Like the wounded teenager, I was in middle school. The object of scorn from the girls I wanted to like me, I’ve spent my life pursuing them. I’ve succeeded in so many ways but this guitar is probably the manifestation of those feelings. The young beauty who got away or was later replaced by what I thought was an even better girl. The Silvertone was replaced by the mighty Iceman. I think it’s all tied together in my feelings and history and has now come full circle.

I like this guitar because it looks and feels like my first guitar. The one that captured my love and imagination for the instrument and rock itself. The object that took me from music lover to music maker.

I have to have her, but I have to be careful. No more reckless spending or behavior now. I’ve done too much of that in so many ways throughout my life. Things are well under control now. I must tread lightly on this new path. (Or, am I back on the right path at last?)

As I hold her in my arms and gently pluck her strings and caress her smooth lean neck, I feel a twinge of guilt. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. I almost imperceptibly feel like I’m cheating on the Ibanez Iceman. She’s the good wife who’s stayed with me through my whole life. The guitar stood by me through thick and thin. The history, the songs, and her legacy are all part of my own mythology. I can’t just take up with this hot little tart simply because she’s young and cute. That would be too close to my real past.

But there is a strong parallel here. But Eric at the pawn shop was right. When you put it on…you’ll know. I’ve known before and felt this back in 1980 and I’m feeling it here again in the music store on South Street 40 years later.

I want her, and like the women in my past or the sale, I wanted to make… I closed it. I asked the price from the owner and he gave me a great deal. The Eko is brand new and just what I’ve been looking for. She plays and feels like a Fender Stratocaster, but she’s lighter and more petite. She’s the girl for me.

I’m obviously keeping my Iceman. The original paragon is too important to me. I’ll never forsake her. But I really want this younger prettier guitar for my new life. Maybe if I do something nice for the Iceman as thank you for standing by me all these years it won’t be so bad if I start dating this younger sexier model.

I need to think about this. But I do not think too long…

Fortune favors the bold and I ask the owner of the store to hold her for me for a couple of days while I figure out my finances. He tells me he’ll hold her until 2/22/22 when he returns after the weekend. I think that’s perfect because I’m off on 2/22 and that date has a certain significance. It’s obviously a date full of 2’s that’s unique, but the weird thing is… I was married on 2/22/1992. I was divorced eight years later, but had I stayed married I would have been married for 30 years on 2/22/22. I know that doesn’t have any real meaning because my marriage dissolved years ago, but for some reason acquiring a new guitar makes sense. I’ll get my first new guitar after 40 years and I’ll do it on what would have been my 30-year wedding anniversary. Why not take up with a new guitar now.

This guitar…

See the note they placed on her?

It won’t be long now…

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here:


The Paragon – Chapter 7 – The New Girl

I’m sure by now everybody’s sick of reading this series. But I’m working on the Wildwood book right now and the blog is on autopilot since last year. Don’t worry readers, the best is yet to come in 2023 in this blog. I’m grateful to everyone that still reads and enjoys Phicklephilly.

More time went by and the winter dragged on. It’s been really cold this season but maybe I’m just getting older. I used to be like a big generator when I was young. I was always warm and actually ran a little hot. I was the one who would give his gloves to his friend because their hands were cold. I was always warm. Not sweaty… just a well-heated core.

But as I’ve gotten older I find I really can’t tolerate the cold weather. I guess that’s why old people move to Florida. They just can’t take the cold winters in the Northeast.

I was out on one of my usual epic walking tours around the city and decided to stop back into a few music stores. I went back to Bluebond Guitars on 4th Street.

This time there was no young lady, only a couple of guys my age working there. I’m assuming one of them was the owner. I looked up at the guitars hanging from the wall and the black Ibanez Gio was gone. Hopefully, some teenage kid got it and was learning to rock. I didn’t feel any remorse because I guess I just wasn’t that into that instrument.

The guy asked me what I was looking for and I told him I had a ’79 Ibanez Iceman and just wanted a cheap guitar I could bang around on and play on a regular basis. He ends up taking a black semi-hollow-bodied Guild guitar off the wall with an $800 price tag on it.

So in that instance, I realized this guy wasn’t listening to me and had no interest in selling me a budget guitar. If I was too cheap to even spend $70 on a long-lost guitar strap there’s no way I’m spending $800 on a guitar. I don’t even want that type! I don’t really know what I want but it’s not that. All I can think of is a solid body, good shape, and lightweight. That’s it. Just something simple that isn’t the Iceman and maybe gives me a different sound and tone.

So I leave and head over to the pawn shop again. I stuck my head inside the shambles of a store and said hello to Eric. Boxes and gear are everywhere and the guys behind the counter appear to be hustling products from the store out on eBay.

I told him I was still looking and hadn’t found the guitar that would light me up yet. He told me to keep looking and at some point, I would know.

I feel like I’ve been on this quest for years now. I’ve been missing the musical part of me now more than ever but have been very content creating my blog and books. I think as long as there’s some creative avenue I can travel down I’m fine. I feel best when I’m creating but I want to begin to split that off between writing and music. Since the blog only publishes once a week now, I should have more time to put my energy into some other creative subjects.

My next stop was back to South Street Sounds. I stopped in and spoke with the owner again. I looked around the store and again told him about my quest. I also asked him about his guitar lessons.

I’m self-taught. I learned how to play guitar by listening to my records and learning the songs by ear. I hear the notes and replicate them on the neck of the guitar. I can only imagine what a musician I could have been had I gotten proper lessons as a child. But that’s another story.

He said he could give me lessons but would want to see what my skill level was before we began. He also told me he would set up any lessons around my schedule. He would only charge me $25 per lesson which seemed like a good deal. I figured even the best ballerinas take a class every day. You can always learn something from a more experienced player. I figured since I never took any real guitar lessons, that maybe if I learned some new things from a teacher I could improve my technique and master the instrument.

It should come to me naturally because I already have all the basics in my head and hands. I can play. I’ve been in a few bands. I can write songs but I would just like to be a better musician. Maybe learn some new blues runs or some cool leads. Maybe some new songs I always liked but never learned how to play. Maybe the reason I haven’t been playing much in the last few years is that I haven’t learned anything new in decades. I just keep playing the same old songs and riffs. Maybe learning some new things would reinvigorate my interest in playing.

When I began my musical journey back in the 70s I was always learning. Every experience was a learning curve. There were always new songs to learn, and write and repertoires to build for the bands I was in. This could be what’s missing from my life now.

I love learning new things. Learning is fun. But for many people, learning is associated with school, which I hated as a kid. I felt that the whole experience was a waste of time. It was just some person regurgitating a bunch of facts about things that had already been created and written by others and we had to memorize them and be tested on them. Nonsense to me. There was almost no place for creativity in school. Just memory stuff and math. I get the math part to an extent but how many times have you needed algebra in your adult life?

I liked science, English, and music class because I felt like there were elements that I could learn. But other than that school was just a prison I had to do my time until I could be released.

I think that’s why in the last couple of years I’ve stopped everything I once did in Philly over the last decade. I don’t go to bars anymore. I don’t go to happy hour anymore. I don’t have a girlfriend or hang out with a gaggle of hot young women at events. That all seems boring and a waste of time now. What can I possibly learn from an attractive 28-year-old beauty? Nothing. She has nothing to offer me but her youth and beauty. I’ve always loved those things but have no interest in pursuing them anymore. Some of it may be due to my age, (which is a relief!) but I just don’t see the sense in it anymore. I’d rather write, work, and watch my shows on Netflix. Just focus on my exercise, health, and creativity.

But I know I still hold certain traits that have been held over from my former self. I still love beautiful things and have an eye for lovely women. But now I love them from afar. I can’t be bothered getting involved with anyone now because I enjoy the simplicity of my life. I suppose because I’ve faced so much drama in my personal life over the years I’m just done with it all.

But I still feel for the beauty of life. I just don’t want any of that in a person. Maybe it’s still alive in me but in another form. Not for a young pretty woman, but for something I can possess that will bring me a similar dopamine joy. Something that won’t hurt or betray me. An instrument I can create something fun and beautiful through without involving another person’s wants or needs. Maybe an inanimate object that I can bring to life that I don’t have to text every day to reassure it I love it. Perhaps something I can develop along with. Maybe that thing has been with me all along and I’ve just been too busy working and dating pretty women to bother with.

Maybe a new, pretty guitar will be my paragon. Maybe that’s what I need. Not a girl, but a guitar. It’s so much simpler. I can be whoever I want around a guitar. I can bring my own joy forth through the instrument without the nonsense. Only good will spring forth from my heart and into my fingers on her strings.

I’m not cheating on the Iceman. I’m just spreading the genes around the musical community.

I run it over in my head again… just to reassure myself. (This is a combat mechanism I’ve installed in my brain to combat anxiety and depression.)

This makes sense why I need to do this now. Maybe I’ll replace all the women and drama in my life with a guitar. I’ve cut loose all of the crazy, toxic people from my life. I barely drink anymore. I eat right and exercise. I think I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my whole life. I’ve beaten all of my vices, crazies, and booze are gone. I’ve conquered my anxiety and depression. It took me most of my life to do it, but it’s nice to finally be free of all of that pain. It’s been an arduous journey but I’ve been able to spank all of my demons and make them pay. I’ve forgiven everyone, and I no longer worry about all of the nonsense most people do. I enjoy living a simple and uncluttered life. This is now an elegant balance I’ve finally been able to accomplish after a lifetime of struggle and anguish.

But despite the ups and downs, I’ve had a good time. It’s been an exciting and colorful life.

How many people do you know who’ve had the blessing to be able to fall in love multiple times?

The rush of new love balanced with the pain and suffering of loss makes you a more complete person.

I’m sure it’s great to meet that one person, get married, and stay with them forever. But that never made sense to me. It’s just not something that was ever right for me. Good for the people that can do it, but I like being free and alone. The next love or adventure is just up around the next bend. It’s been an action-packed trip. I don’t know how most people stay in the same marriage and job their whole lives. Maybe it’s the fear of the alternative. Most people don’t like change or being alone. I dig both. I suppose if you’ve lived in a body that’s constantly wracked with anxiety and depression, any outer changes are just hills you climb to get out from under it on a daily basis.

There’s a certain joy you learn from being free and alone to do what you want, when you want, and not answer to anyone.

Love and attraction occur automatically in homo sapiens. Marriage and monogamy are RULES. There are no rules in the way the heart. The heart wants what it wants. Once you put a price tag on anything beautiful, it’s ruined.

I walked around the store and looked at their latest batch of instruments that hung from the walls.

My eyes suddenly stopped on one particular guitar hanging there among the others.

It was like walking through Spruce Street Harbor Park on a summer evening. The place is full of people. It’s dusk and not quite dark yet. Lanterns hang from the trees and people are sitting on the grass, and lying in hammocks. Music and laughter fill the air as people eat and drink as they celebrate the warm weather of the evening. I walk along the path with a friend sipping a beverage when I encounter a group of women. They’re all standing together looking lovely.

But there’s that one in the group who stands out from the others. The best one. The obvious queen of the group. There’s something about her that makes her shine a bit brighter than the rest. That’s when I saw Sarala for the first time.

I said to my friend… “I have to meet her.”

That was what I saw on the wall at the music store that day. 

I think I found the guitar I want.

To be continued next Tuesday…

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here:



The long-awaited book about what it was like spending every summer in Wildwood, New Jersey in the 70s!

The Paragon – Chapter 6 – DiPinto Guitars

A month or so later I was chatting with my coworker at my job, (The one who’s a musician and knows more about guitars and rock than I do) and he and one of the other guys, (Who’s the drummer in a local band called, Mesh) and they told me I should visit Dipinto Guitars up on Girard Avenue in Fishtown. I decided that on one of my epic walking tours around the city, I’d stop in there and check it out. They both said it was a great store and the owner was really cool.

A month or so went by and it was one of the rare warm days, and I was off and decided to make the journey up to the store. I went in and met the owner. I introduced myself and gave him a little of my history. This store was probably the best music store I had set foot inside in Philly. He had lots of great guitars, basses, and amps around the store. He had a nice collection of vintage instruments and effects pedals.

I had been out walking for a few hours and asked if I could use his bathroom. He obliged and took me to the back room that led to a flight of stairs to the basement.

Even this guy’s bathroom was cool.

Just the coolest bathroom in Philly by far. It was like stepping into my past 40 years ago when I owned a few of those posters and rock band mirrors that I had won on the boardwalk in Wildwood as a teenager!

We chatted about his history and it was quite impressive. He’s played in several bands throughout the years and still played locally when he could. He also made and customized his own line of instruments. Like Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix, Mr. DiPinto is a lefty. He’s supplied guitars to some other left-handed guitarists over the years. He’s also built and sold guitars for several other famous musicians, like David Bowie, Jack White, Elliot Easton, Rick Neilson, Dick Dale, Kurt Vile, and LA Guns.

Mr. DiPinto played in a band called Wastoid and opened for Judas Priest at The Electric Factory back in the early 2000s and I told him I saw his band because I was at that show!

I also noticed he had a nice collection of vintage effects pedals in a glass case under the counter. So overall this was a very cool store run by a really talented industrious guy. Most of us musicians at one time had the dream of making it big and being a famous rockstar but this man has definitely had a taste of that and now runs a successful business. So good for him!

We chatted a bit more trading stories and I wandered around the store looking for the next instrument that would maybe light me up. I really liked some of the guitars he had made himself because they all had a unique surf-rock vibe to them and had some interesting lines and aspects about them.

He has some regular stuff like these Squiers and Strats…

Some crazy heavy metal type guitars… (very cool and flashy but I already have a cool guitar. I want something that’s nothing like my Iceman.

Here are a few of his custom-made designs. Bright, fun colors with classic vintage 1960s retro lines. Those groups of 4 dots are little buttons/switches you can hit with your fingers to change the sound. They control which pickups are on or off at any time. Looks cool, but in my opinion, less is more on a guitar. Still… they’re really nice guitars. But the biggest point that would stop me from buying one would be the price. They’re custom-made. They’re going to be expensive. Most are over $1000, so I won’t be getting one of those.

But there was this one guitar that was hanging up on the wall that really caught my eye. Not so much by its red color, but the way it looked and its pedigree.

That one… second from the left with the black pickguard.

It was a Tokai which is one of several Japanese guitar makers. I don’t think they make that model anymore. It’s a used 38 Special from around 1984. I liked how it was in decent shape, had a cool body, and was from around the period when the Iceman was born.

He let me take it down from the wall and play it a bit. It played just like my Iceman but was different in appearance. It was vintage and a rare guitar. You don’t really see these models anymore. I don’t know anything about the guitar’s history but it had been taken care of. Good shape, some dings here and there, and almost no buckle rash on the back.

But here’s the thing… the guitar was over $300 and a 30-year-old instrument. Another thing that struck me was that the volume and tone knobs on it were gold in color. They looked out of place. They appeared to be the knobs from a gold top Gibson Les Paul. Why were they gold, and why were they on this guitar? What else isn’t original on this guitar?

I looked up the model later on the internet and all of the pictures I saw had black knobs that looked more appropriate for this type of guitar. I know this may seem like a small detail for an old used guitar, but I think if I purchased it I’d never be happy with it. They just looked out of place.

But it was still a cool guitar and out of all of the guitars I’d looked at and played over the last three years this one did speak to me for several reasons. The shape, the color, the vintage and it played like my own guitar. So this guitar became the frontrunner in my musical quest. But I still had a slight problem with the knobs, the age, and the condition of the guitar. Oh, and $300+ for an old guitar that wasn’t one of the famous brands, sort of left me a bit cold. But, I’m sure if I had really shown interest in buying it, Mr. DiPinto would have replaced the knobs for me.

I told him I liked the axe but I’d have to sleep on it. Years ago I was a bit reckless with my money. I was compulsive in many aspects of my life and my youth. But as I’ve aged I’ve gone the other way. I’m super thrifty now. I don’t make impulsive decisions about anything anymore. Although I’m the same man I’ve always been in spirit and heart, I’ve literally gone in the opposite direction in my personal life. My core traits and talents remain but I’m different now. I rarely drink alcohol, no longer smoke cigarettes, eat nutritious food every day, and keep myself in healthy shape through proper diet and exercise. I’m no longer a young guy anymore. I’ve finally matured and take care of myself rather than feed my compulsive needs with frivolous things.

But I’m still a bit shallow when it comes to beautiful things. I love beauty. If the guitar doesn’t please me visually I’m not interested in it. I think the same thing goes for my romantic life. I’m 60 years old. I’m out of the game. I don’t have a girlfriend, and I no longer date or even want to date anyone. I like being alone. I want to come and go as I please and not answer to anyone. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s happiness but my own. It just wouldn’t be fair.

The type of woman I like and am attracted to all want to get married and have kids. I’m way past that. It wouldn’t be fair for me to get involved with a beautiful younger woman because she’ll eventually want those things. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand it, but it wouldn’t be fair to her to be involved with me. So although I’ve enjoyed all the love and romance that has filled my past, I’m just done with it now.

I know it may sound a little shallow or picky, but if the old Tokai is a little worn and doesn’t have the right knobs on it, I just don’t really want to blow $300 plus tax on something that doesn’t please me every day. I need to feel that thing that Eric at the pawn shop told me about.

I was about to leave the store after having a lovely hour with Mr. DiPinto and his wonderful store when something caught my eye.

Over on the back wall were several guitar straps hanging together. But there was one in particular that I had never seen in real life.

Yes… the long-lost black guitar strap with the lightning bolt on it!

I maybe saw one once in Gilday’s music up in Northfield NJ back in 1980, or maybe in a rock magazine somewhere but I haven’t seen one in real life for a very long time. I always thought it would be the perfect strap for the Iceman to complete my look but I never could get my hands on one.

But here it was hanging on the wall among a variety of different types of straps. I walked over and touched it feeling a connection to the item. I could smell the leather as I checked the price tag.

$70! What? $70? for a strap? That seems outrageous. I told Mr. DiPinto the story about how I always wanted one and he told me I should get it. He makes his living selling things in his store and I really want to support local businesses but $70 seems like way too much for me to spend on a guitar strap. As much as that item means to me from a teenage fantasy perspective I can’t fathom spending that much on something like that.

So I left the store and thanked him for his time and told him I’d seriously think about the Tokai .38 Special.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here:

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