Tag Archives: God

Rock God

Nigel drew a deep breath and knocked tentatively. He got all the crappy jobs.

On the other side of the door was current rock god, “Dirt.” Known only to his mother as Stanley Krabbowski, Dirt, and his band “Bulldozer,” took the music world by storm last summer with a hard-edged rock single called “Stuff It” supported by a platinum record that followed with the same name.

Dirt’s stage persona was one of an angry, anti-establishment, man-beast who was prone to spitting on, screaming at and otherwise abusing the faithful who came to see his shows. It puzzled Nigel as to what the throngs of people found so alluring about paying good money to be screamed at and pissed on, but he learned quickly that in the music business, there was no accounting for taste.

A muffled response came from behind the door, “Yeah?”

Nigel drew another deep breath, turned the knob and slowly swung the door open enough to stick his head in. “Mr. Dirt?”

“Yeah?”

Dirt was in the offices of Atomic Blast Records to discuss the terms of his next record and to sign off on some merchandising agreements. Once this little snag gets resolved, he would be out and away and doing whatever rock gods do at 2:30 in the afternoon.

“I’m Nigel Cro…,” his voiced cracked forcing him to swallow and clear his throat. “I’m Nigel Croft.”

“So?” Even in the shortest amount of space Dirt’s thick scouse accent rang clear.

“I’m from Atomic Blast Records, but I guess that’s obvious since we’re both here in the offices here at Atomic Blast, right?”

Dirt stared at Nigel, emotionless and still. He was a big man. Most of the current batch of rock-god wanna-bes, were slight, thin and pale. Even sitting on the couch, he was imposing.

“Right. Uh, I, uh, I guess it’s better to say ‘they,’ gave me the, uh, they wanted me to, uh,” Nigel said, sputtering as he searched for his mental footing.

“What’s wrong with you?” Dirt said. Beyond the slight curl of his upper lip, he remained stoic.

“Nothing,” Nigel said quickly.

“Are those the papers they want me to sign?”

“Uh, no. No, Sir they’re not. They are almost ready for you, but they want this little matter ironed out before they grab your ink.”

“What matter?” Dirt said.

“Yes,” Nigel said stepping into the room holding the papers out as he followed. “There seems to be some concern with the lyrics on your upcoming release. They, uh, them, not me, wanted to see if you could, uh, ‘take another look’ to see if you might be willing to make some adjustments.”

“Why?”

“Uh…well…they, not me, think this batch are…well…uhhh, offensive.”

“They’re love songs.”

“Wha…” Nigel caught himself before he let the full expression of his shock go. “I mean, yes. These are love songs. Of course…but, they, not me, are having a hard time, uh…seeing the love, as it were.”

Dirt sat still and silent.

“Let’s just take a look shall we?” Nigel quickly rifled through the short stack of papers. “Ah, here we go. This one. ‘Bleeding Whore.’ I guess that’s the working title. Uh, you start off really strong with the first word, ‘Woman!’ That’s really good, but then right after that where you talk about the ax and the long ride into the desert, and this bit with the rope and the animals nibbling and such…”

“What’s wrong with it?” Dirt said plainly. “It’s beautiful.”

“I agree there is some stark and vivid imagery there. I think you, ah, yes, you do mention a sunset there around the third verse. That’s nice. But then there’s this part with the entrails and then I guess Satan shows up at one point and there is something about collecting her eyes.”

“Beautiful eyes.” Dirt said, as a point of clarification.

“Right! Beautiful eyes. Nice. Still, they, not me are worried that this kind of imagery might negatively affect, well…everything.”

Silence filled the room. Nigel’s finger stayed glued to the printed phrase on the page about Satan’s collection of beautiful eyeballs. His arms stretched out so that Dirt could see the passage clearly. Never looking at the paper, Dirt fixed his gaze on Nigel.

“That’s offensive?” Dirt said.

“Yeah.” Nigel said nodding harder than he should, but unable to stop. “That’s… that’s offensive.”

Silence.

“I’ll change it.” Dirt said, his gaze never wavering, his expression never-changing.

Nigel deflated a bit with relief. “That’s…that’s just perfect. That will be great.”

“Change eyeballs to lips.” Dirt said. “That’s even more beautiful.”

Nigel deflated even further. He got all the crappy jobs.

Eulogy

Calvert Jennings gripped the edge of the lectern. He looked up into the moderate crowd of mostly strangers, strangers to him anyway. He supposed that, while still on the younger side, in his mind, this sort of thing would start happening more often, but he hoped the opportunity to play this role would be rare.

“Friends and family of Cranston Bink, thank you for being here today and thank you for this opportunity to speak on Cranston’s behalf.”

He paused, needing a deeper breath due to the weight of the moment.

“I’ve known Bink most of my life. Although our paths moved us near and far and near again, we kept in touch loosely over the years and when we were able to get together, we usually picked right up where we left off, as if I had just seen him the day before.”

A slight smile came to him.

“Bink would probably hate this. Those of you who knew him well, knew that he didn’t stand on ceremony. He liked things to happen organically. He thought if people really wanted to celebrate, or react to something, they should be able to drop everything and do so. He would say that celebrations rarely happen organically because there is always someone somewhere who feels the need to organize. They would want to make it an event and it would be something bigger than it needed to be. Organization takes time and planning, and time and planning tend to kill genuine impulse, genuine joy. Celebrations should not be events, he would say. Events become more about the planner than the occurrence.

While tragic for us, Bink is probably happy that his passing came at a time where people who really knew him could gather and reflect upon the joys of his existence. He told me once that he feared getting too old, because when you’re too old and you die, there is nobody left to speak for you…the real you. Rather, if you get someone to stand up for you, it’s generally a canned speech from someone who sees you as an assignment, something on a to-do list before they wash their hands and go home for dinner, or get a drink, or to take their kid to soccer practice.

Being properly represented was important to him. You know that in talking to him, he worked to make himself clear and that there was a rationale that drove him, and a sense of self-image he felt comfortable working with.

As I look at you, I sense some of you may still be a little tender about some of the things he said about God, about religion. One of the last things he said to me was that he hoped you understood where he was coming from. It’s not an apology. It’s just more reflective of who he was. However, since he was likely going away, he didn’t want to leave on ill terms. His words.

You see, not being religious himself, an offer of prayer, while heartfelt and genuine for you, was for him a failure in his ability to communicate with you his feelings and needs without trampling on yours.

He knew that a sense of faith is something deep inside people. He knew he could no more ask someone, or expect someone, to turn off his or her prayer mindset, than he could not tell a joke. But he felt that if you really knew him and respected who he was as a person, there would never be a prayer between you. For him, that was OK. While he would take all the good energy and good thoughts you might throw his way, he had very little use for someone’s prayers.

It might be semantics. Maybe prayers are just another way of sharing good energy, but he liked to say that reaching out to some far great beyond for assistance is like bringing a mediator into your negotiations for buying a new car. Why do you need the middleman? You’ll get to where you need to be eventually, and you’ll be stronger for the journey. He thought it diminished the direct link between you and I know he got a lot from you all directly in those last few weeks. It was your being there, your energy that helped him through to the end.

Bink was a moral man. He was a smart man. He had a nearly unshakable faith in himself, a confidence that many of us might envy.

I don’t know where you go after this. Bink and I had many long discussions on the matter. We got no closer to a final resolution than we are today. We thought once the best heaven was where you got to go be your favorite character from your favorite movie, so it’s quite possible that there is a new Han Solo galloping around the galaxy, fighting the good fight.

To close, one of the last things Bink and I talked about before he faded into sleep was how much he enjoyed the ride. That even the dull, drudgery of the day-to-day, held within it glorious sunsets and magical full moons, flowers and laughter and snow and handshakes, fresh fruit and hugs. The world is magic if you know where to look. And it can be depressing and hard, but it can also be made easier just by saying so.

He does not want you to leave here in tears. He wants you to leave here with hope and a smile. And when we’re done here, he wanted me to tell you to all go out and get a sandwich and enjoy being together.”