Wildwood Daze – Dirty John – Part 2

Living at the shore always brings you to the beach. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is. If you live in a city you go meet up in a park or a bar. If you live at the shore when the shit hits the fan, you head to the beach.

I go home covered in puke and my mom is cool with the rock and roll lifestyle.

“Is Jim okay?” My mom was totally fine with my best friend/lead guitarist blowing chunks all over me.

I’m in a working rock and roll band, and we have had a an incident with our youngest underage member.

“I think he’ll be fine.”

“Let’s get your clothes into the washer.”

I loved that my mom was always on board to dispose of the evidence.

But I just loved that mom was ready TO make it all go away.

 

I hadn’t heard from Jim and prayed he was still alive

It was a real growing step in this new band and I was fearful about what could happen to us going forward.

I knew in that moment I would need to form a new band with Jim and we would have to go to LA but he liked music that wasn’t so so furious so I would miss my friend.

As much as I loved Jim and the band, I knew I needed to go to LA an create something new.

But I’ll hang here because I love you.

 

A day passed and I spend the day worried about my friend.

There were was no email or text social media back then. You either get a call or somebody shows up at your door.

I get a call on my land line from Jim.

It was 7pm.

24 hours after my best friend had lost his shit.

 

“What happened last night?”

“Lets meet up and I’ll tell you the full story.”

We meet up and Jim seems fine. He’s just young, and confused. Nothing like this has ever happened to him, and that has to be jarring.

Your first blackout can be frightening. I’ve been there many times and it never gets any easier. I never let it happen anymore. I totally manage my shit now.

 

I meet up with Jim and we go to the beach.

Living at the shore always brings you to the beach. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is. If you live in a city you go meet up in a park or a bar. If you live at the shore when the shit hits the fan, you head to the beach. There’s just something about the power of the sea and it’s timeless intimidating beauty.

It was night and off-season, and Jim and I were no strangers to wandering through this resort/retirement island community in the off season.

There was a beauty to Wildwood that no one knew that belonged to us. The natives.

As fucked as we were as teenagers in a resort community that didn’t own hotels and boardwalk stuff. We found our way.

Instead of falling into the usual drugs and teen pregnant rich kid boredom we had our band. We were going to break out of what everybody else was in this town. Usually rich kids from prosperous seasonal business owners. We were just regular dudes. Jim and I were tight.

I will be grateful my entire for life for meeting Jim. He is a wonderful man and father and husband. I just really dig him and wish I could see him more. Because we actually share something unseen that is really special and belongs to only us.

I miss him.

Wildwood in the off-season is quiet and dark.

If you live in a place that is away from city lights, you’ll understand what the sky looks like when you look upon it in a rural or remote area.

City light drown out the sky, and I live in Philly and I’ve seen all the skies I need to see, but let me describe what a night sky looks like when you’re away from city lights.

I was on the beach in Wildwood with my father one night. We were fishing.

He said, “Look at the sky, son.”

I of course did as he said.

“What do you see?”

“I see more stars than I’ve ever seen.”

“You can’t see that in Philly.”

“It’s beautiful.”

Then my dad said this…

“It’s like a thousand diamonds scattered on a velvet pillow.”

I loved him so much in that moment.

The beautiful, charming, elegant being he had become through all of his pain and suffering to raise me an my sisters into who we are today.

 

These thoughts fill my mind as I meet my best friend I’m glad isn’t dead like Bon Scott on the beach that evening.

There were umbrella stands on each block of the beach. They were these wooden boxes on legs that were used to store umbrella rentals during the summer, but were empty during the off-season.

Jim and I meet up and head to the beach.

I’m so happy to see him and I’m so happy he survived. I was so scared after the Dirty John incident and I know Jim hates when I tell the story, I was genuinely grateful he was okay. I love Jim and it was the first time I thought we’d have a rock and roll tragedy on my watch. I couldn’t lose him and I was scared the whole time.

We walked together along the shoreline.

People come to the shore and do their thing every summer and enjoy the beach. But what people forget is the mystery of how all life rose from the sea.

As my only friend and I walk along the shoreline, every step we take lights up around our feet.

There are iridescent animals that react to contact and illuminate when struck.

So imagine this people… Every step you take on a night beach, there are lights around your feet with every step you take.

Yea, the beach is so much more magical than you know.

We saw and experienced all of that.

I loved that we were in a band together. Rocking out and living our little dreams, but still be moved by the magic of life itself.

That’s why I always loved Jim. He was and will always be one of the greatest men I’ve ever met. A bright and beautiful artist who I had the honor to jam with and most of all have in my life as a friend. I miss him and think of him often.

 

We find an abandoned umbrella stand/hut and climb inside it.

The beach is completely desolate and there is no one around. There are no umbrellas so the boxes are open. Jim and I climb inside of the box and chill.

“What the fuck happened last night?”

I describe in great detail to my new lead guitarist what happened and he is appalled.

I tell him how I turned his head to the side so he wouldn’t end up like Hendrix or Bon Scott.

I think we’ve both learned from this experience. I love Jim so much that he can vomit on me anytime and we can still go forward and rock out!

He is and will always be one of my best friends in this world.

 

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