Thursday, March 13, 2014


This is not about what you think it's about. It almost never is. Sometimes you look at a person, place or thing and you think you recognize something familiar, or that you understand it, but you really don't. You listen to a person speak and you think "I know him/her" but then as you get closer to them, maybe even after years and years of fairly intimate contact, you think who the hell are you? And what are you doing in my house? On the other hand, sometimes you look at them and think you can see through them to their core, you think, "I understand why you did that stupid thing even though you don't", or  "I know you better than you know yourself". But, almost 100% of the time, you are wrong.

When I used to visit L.A. over 16 years ago, I used to see this guy, shirtless and in golf shorts, walking top-speed around Silverlake. I thought he seemed like a maniac, like a weird, possibly schizophrenic, guy who had nothing better to do with his time. It was because of the way he walked that I thought this. He plowed. It would have been hard to keep up with him if I was jogging, and he had that weird lilt that happens when you walk fast. On top of that, he read the newspaper, always folded into quarters, always held at arms length; not just glancing either, this guy was riveted. If you could only see his face you would have thought he was lounging in a chair at the library, fully absorbed in some fantastic story.

He was around every day. Sometimes you'd see him at 10 am plowing down Hyperion, and then at 2pm there he'd be plowing up Sunset. Sometimes you'd see him plowing around the reservoir and then plowing some more down Micheltorena. "Toot Toot Comin Through! Full speed ahead!" He did this every day, rain or shine, 100 degrees or 50. There he was.

When I moved here 10 years ago, I saw him again. Still going strong. Still plowing. I found out from someone that he was actually a doctor. That he still saw patients. That he was a nice guy. Not weird at all. For years after I continued to see him. At dawn. At dusk. Going to work and school. Coming home from the grocery store. I wondered when he had time to see patients; I wondered who his patients were, and whether he put a shirt on when he gave them a check up, or if he just wore a white lab coat over his shorts.

I had finally gotten used to this guy's type of strange, I may have even waved once or twice at a red light, when last year he was found dead in his hot tub. After they investigated, they determined it was a suicide. He had taken some pills, gone into the hot tub, and pulled the doors closed. It's weird how all this time that he was walking, seeing patients, having a local artist paint a mural of him on the main street in Silverlake, getting interviewed in magazines, no one knew where he was headed.

This song was inspired by him, and if you try to walk to the rhythm , you'll only be walking 1/2 as fast as he did.


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