Conversation With A Record Store Clerk (#Post 419)

*This will be my final post for a week or so. I will be finishing a short novel, which I hope to self-publish in full on this site. Thank you.


UnknownI am not a conversationalist. At least this is what I tell myself. When I do engage in interesting conversations with certain people, I often find it a relief to get out of my own head for a bit. I then wonder to myself, what would I be like if I was more of a conversationalist? What would I be like if I actually struck up conversations with random strangers? But I don’t. Normally I keep to myself and pretend not to see other people.

Maybe if I took a small dosage of a certain psychiatric drug I would be more of a conversationalist? Or, maybe if I drank beer or consumed marijuana on a regular basis I would be more interested in talking with other people? What would it take? In my normal state of sobriety I don’t really want to talk to anyone. This is why I was so surprised when I walked into the record store yesterday and started up a conversation with the record store clerk.

I startled even myself when I said, “Hey, how are you doing?” Startled, because when I said this I was actually interested in hearing his response. Normally I am not. I use this question in the same way I use soap, it’s a habit. Do I really care about the response? I’m not certain. I am often asking the question before I know I am asking the question. Hey, How Are You Doing? It’s a question in a can that I have been trained to pull from without thinking about it.

Hey, How Are You Doing?

Hey, How Are You Doing?

I feel bad about how often I have disingenuously utilized this question. I try not to do that anymore but like all bad habits, it sneaks in. For whatever reason, I meant it this time. Maybe it was because I have a deep respect for anyone who works in a record store.

Walking into a record store (for me) is always a feeling of walking into a happier place. A record store is a place filled with endless possibilities, endless new discoveries. Very rarely am I more excited about life than when I walk into a record store. What new discovery will I make today? I am no different from a child walking into a toy store or a religious person walking into their holy space. My mood is instantly lifted every time I walk into a record store.

“Oh, I don’t know. I am existing I guess,” the record store clerk replied in a defeated kind of way. Shoulders hunched, back bent from carrying too much psychic weight as Sade played on the sound system. I don’t know why or what this says about me but immediately I could relate. I stopped at the counter and he moved towards the counter. I wanted to hear more of what he had to say.

“Other people just really suck, you know? The mass human beings just fill me with such disdain and disgust. I really don’t like other people at all. Such a selfish and ugly species, destroying everything we touch. Like cattle or something. Just a really stupid people. You should see the crap I have to sell everyday. I don’t know man, I just don’t like other people one bit,” he said while looking me straight in the eyes.

He looked like a nice guy. A guy that was once a cute kid deeply loved by his parents. He had wide brown eyes and a boyish smile. His hair was short, black and parted to the side but his style (Guided By Voices t-shirt and black jeans) indicated that maybe he stopped caring about fashion after the nineties ended.

“I understand man, I really do.” I meant what I said rather than saying something I did not mean just to be nice. I have found myself thinking similar things about other people from time to time.

“Other people can be really troubling, I know. I get it. We are in a really difficult period in human history. I get it man,” I said.

“You do?” he said with a smile breaking through what I assumed was a permanent grin on his face.

“I do, I really do.”

“You know, I think my day just got a lot better. I am so happy to know that I am not insane for feeling the way I do,” he said.

“No, you are not insane at all. I get it and don’t disagree with you but the question is what are you going to do with the set of circumstances you have found yourself in? You live in this society surrounded by people you have immense disdain for. What do you do?” I asked. I was hopeful that maybe he would provide me with an answer.


“Didn’t Albert Camus write that the only real question is whether or not we should kill ourselves?” I asked not thinking that he would know.

“Yeah, but Camus advocated against suicide in favor of making life as meaningful as possible within the meaninglessness of life. In his book The Myth Of Sisyphus, Camus wrote about how we, like Sisyphus, are doomed to have to roll the boulder up and down the hill every fucking day for a lifetime and that we should learn to make the best of it even though none of it means anything and it all sucks,” he replied. I was impressed.

“I thought Camus thought that suicide was the only reasonable answer given the situation human beings have found themselves in?” I asked.

“No, he argued for making the best out of a life that would always be filled with suffering and ultimately has no meaning. That is existentialism,” the record store clerk replied.

“I see, I guess I had that one backwards.” I was slightly embarrassed by my ignorance but glad to finally get it straight.

“So then what do we do?” I asked him again.

“Roll the boulder with a smile? I don’t know man, I just spend most of my time reading and listening to records. Outside of work that is all I do. I am a consumer of culture. A culture whore. I consume but do not produce. I don’t produce anything. All consumption with no production. I just read and listen to records. It’s pathetic, I know.”

“I dont think its pathetic at all. How old are you?” I thought he might say 32 or 33.

“I am 40 man,” he said as if it was something to be ashamed of. As if he should have all of this figured out by now.

“40, that is tough. It definitely gets harder at 40, I know,” I replied sympathetically.

Again his eyes opened wide and his back straightened. “Really. Thank you for saying that. I really appreciate that. Everyone is always telling me that No Everything Will Be Fine, Everything Is Ok, Don’t Get So Down but no one seems to acknowledge how much harder it actually gets. I am glad you do.”

“Yeah, it does get harder,” I said. I wanted to say: Yeah it does get harder especially if you have a lot of self-judgement, are working retail and have a strong dislike of other people.

He kept looking around the store trying to see if his manager was looking at him and getting frustrated that he was taking up so much time having a conversation with a customer. I didn’t want to get him in trouble, so I started moving the conversation towards an ending point.

“Reading and listening to records all the time is not a bad thing. Someone has to do it in order for there to be writers and musicians,” I said. “Some of the greatest artists, musicians and writers were obsessive consumers of culture.”

“Yeah I know but I am not producing anything, just consuming.”

“So what? That is great that you have something you love to do!”

“Yeah but I am not consuming stuff that the mass of people consume. I can’t stand all that crap. I consume obscure books and records that no one reads or listens to so it can feel really alienating and isolating,” he said while looking around the store.

“I know man. I like all of that stuff as well. It does make you an outsider,” I replied.

“Thank you, an outsider. That is exactly what I am. A doomed outsider.”

“Oh common, you are fortunate to have discovered and cultivated an interest for music and books that the mass of people have no idea exists. Don’t look at it as a bad thing. By working at a record store you are just buying time. Buying time so that you can spend the rest of your time reading and listening to records. It’s a very noble pursuit in a time where most people’s interests are shaped by massive advertising and entertainment companies making a fortune from figuring out how to feed the mass of people a steady diet of mind numbing crap filled with propaganda,” I said.

I really wanted him to know that he was not alone. That we were floating along in the same boat.

“Maybe so, but I’m not producing anything. A person should produce something.”

“You just need to stop judging yourself for that one. That is your real problem. You got to just let yourself enjoy what you love doing. Stop beating yourself up about it. Listening to obscure records and being a reader is a perfectly productive way to spend a life.”

It seemed like he was becoming a bit lighter. Like his mind was backing off from the beating it was always giving him. He told me about his two divorces and his recent break up with his girlfriend. I asked if the decline of these relationships had anything to do with his misery. He said no, then yes, then definitely his first two marriages but not the recent break up with the girlfriend. I asked him his name.

“Anthony,” he said.

“I’m Randall,” I said reaching out my hand to shake his. I felt like I was meeting someone who I could be good friends with but probably never will be. We seemed to be similar in many different ways except that he was still spending much of his time beating himself up. I like to think that I finished with that long ago.

He looked around the store again, this time he looked worried about being reprimanded by his manager who was walking around the store pushing a cart filled with records and then filing them away into their correct resting place.

“Well, I am going to go buy a record. It was really nice talking with you,” I said.

“Really nice talking with you as well,” he replied.

I walked further into the record store, ready to make a new discovery.

The Power Of U2.

I have had a neighbor that I have been at war with for almost a year. Ever since he moved into the small one bedroom apartment right next door to me- I have been upset. Upset by his bad music. Whenever he is home he blasts his music on his deep base stereo. He opens his widow wide so that the sounds can travel out into the ears of surrounding people. When I say the music is horrible I am being kind. It is the kind of music that aggravates every aspect of brain chemistry and makes you wonder if humans beings are loosing their sense of good taste. Yes, we are bombarded by bad music all day. Advertisements, radio stations, internet and many other sources fill our ears with music that is meant to kill our souls and take away any ability to tell good music from bad music- but I wish my neighbor did not have to be a victim of this trend. My only choice was to declare war. I needed to teach him a lesson.

In the past I would yell “turn that crap down!!” or “thanks for all the bad music asshole!!” I was angry because often I would be sitting on my deck reading quietly with birds chirping in my ears. Then he would suddenly blast his bad music disturbing my peace and quiet. I have been guilty of throwing rocks and eggs at his window but all this has done is created more war between us. Once he even threatened to kill me. To which I responded “you would be doing me a favor asshole.”

Then one Sunday after being woken up by him blasting his music I decided to get revenge. My heart was rapidly beating and I was shaking all over. That morning I had wanted to have sex with my wife- but instead I was sick with anger. My wife was also infuriated. “That’s it,” I said- “I am going to get the fucker.”

I took my very large stereo and I brought it outside. I hooked it up under his window and used long extension cords to connect it up to power. Then I took the CD “War” by U2 and played it full blast. I put it on repeat and went back to bed.

About twenty minutes later I came outside to see what was going on and I noticed that my neighbor was sitting on his deck in a chair. He was not playing his own music- but rather listening to the music I was playing on the stereo. He had tears in his eyes and when he saw me he said “this is one of the best fucking albums of all time.” All of my anger and irratation went away at that moment. I could not of agreed more with him that “War” was one of the better albums of all time. I suddenly felt a connection with the neighbor I had felt hate towards for so long. I said “I love this album,” to which he responded “so do I man.” I went inside and grabbed two beers and a chair. The rest of the morning and early afternoon we both sat together in silence, drinking our beer and listening to “War” over and over again. Since that day he has never again played his music loud.

What Is The Sound Of One Hand Clapping?

I finally figured out the answer to the question, “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” I have been told that this question stems from an ancient Zen Koan and has been contemplated for centuries. No one as of yet has discovered the appropriate answer and this includes millions of monks who have been sitting in meditation for hours a day doing nothing but trying to imagine what the sound could be. This question has been researched, studied and investigated until all possible answers have been exhausted. And I, an ordinary mortal who is stuck in between the heavy suitcases of an ordinary existence has happened upon the answer. Like a disorganized deck of cards- fate has a funny way of orchestrating itself into a steady rhythm. Why things are the way they are- I am the last to be able to give a logical explanation. All that I know is that I am a tired man who is still searching for his dreams in a rented apartment which is cold and filled with half read underlined books. Answers seldom come my way but when they do I want to share them with the world. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” a homeless man said to me today hoping to seduce coins from my shallow pockets. “Who cares,” I said as I cynically made my way past him with a stare of blank disregard. “Who cares,” “who cares?” I repeated to myself as if I had just discovered an ancient riddle. I stopped in my tracks  and turned with a smile of discovery upon my face to listen to the homeless man who was shouting over and over…” you got the answer, you got the mother fucking answer!!!”

The Doorman

I am obsessed with doors. I have walked for miles upon many miles and spent years upon years- staring at nothing but doors. The way doors are crafted and the permission that they grant the viewer to imagine what may lay behind, give me an animated sense of being alive. I love the way doors swing and hang. When I am watching a door swing or sway upon its hinges it is as if I am watching a beautiful women seductively pull back articles of clothing that slightly reveal glimpses of forbidden flesh. A potential is revealed and then hidden.

I am a man who is drawn to doors like sailors can be drawn to sea. I am in love with the concept of a door. The way doors separate realities and tempt the mind into a certain curiosity. Doors alter moods, depending upon whether they are opened or closed. They hold the key to the riddle of the universe- all we have to do to is walk on through to the other side.

My obsession with doors grew out of a brief relationship with a woman whose father was a door maker. He specialized in making doors from Southern Spain. The doors had a Moorish quality to them and were always carved with seven sided stars and Arabic writings. The doors were large enough to allow elephants to walk into or out of a room. Aliza’s father was also a man obsessed with doors and after he was long asleep (his wife and he slept on a mattress which was set upon two 18th century doors that he brought back from Barcelona) we would sneak into his door studio and make love on the various kinds of metal door carving equipment. I remember the cold of the equipment against my bare butt as I lifted her upon my legs and made love to her in the dark. Aliza taught me all that she new about doors. We would spend days doing nothing but walking around the tree lined neighborhood in which she lived examining the various kinds of doors that separated families, friends and strangers from “experiences, perceptions and realities.” When Aliza left me for another woman the last words she said to me upon slamming a door in my face was “my doors are shut.”

I managed to steal an antiquated book about doors from Aliza’s father before leaving the door studio for the final time. My heart was in pieces and I had tears in my eyes as I ran off with the book under my jacket. I read the book at least a dozen times and got over my broken heart by traveling around America on a bike and examining, studying and documenting various forms of doors. I took photographs and documented over 10,000 doors in sixteen journals that I tugged around with me in a heavy suitcase. I stayed in Philadelphia for months amazed by the various kinds of colonial doors that seemed to exist in excess. I worked in a strip club during the evenings and documented doors during the day. In one form or another I have been doing this same thing for the past fifteen years. I have over two hundred door documentation journals. I hope that one day not to soon my obituary mentions that I am one of the most important Doormen of my generation.

A Doorman is not the standard and accepted definition of a man who opens doors for you. Rather the term Doorman goes back at least 2100 years to antiquity where a minor Greek Historian by the name of Herodumus wrote the first collection of writings on the theme of doors. He defined a Doorman as the connoisseur of the study of doors whose fascination with the transcendental architecture of doors burn like a fever in his soul. He spoke of the Doorman as one who searches with unrelenting fervor to find the secret or “alternate reality” that can only be revealed by passing through a door. This is the alternate reality that Aldous Huxley wrote about in The Doors Of Perception– another book that has deeply inspired my search. Huxley spoke of doors as a living form of matter that have the absolute power of separating and joining one reality to another. It was Jim Morrison who was the twentieth century’s greatest devotees of Herodumus’s manifesto of the Doorman. He took Huxley’s challenge to break on through and started a band that was dedicated to investigating the mystical apparatus that we refer to as a door. Morrison made doors spiritual and sexual. The textures and structure of doors became more detailed in American society (1969) after The Doors became on of Americas greatest rock bands. It is to Jim Morrison that I will dedicate the great twenty first century book that I plan to write about doors. It will be called The Doors.

For now I am swamped with perpetual thoughts of doors. I see them when I sleep and I am always trying to find ways that I can sneak behind them. No matter if it is a Cabbala door, a Mulligan door, a Moorish door, a Rotunda door, a Franklin Colonial door or a simple 4 by 4 American Suburban door- I am always wanting to break on through to the other side. I am like a Scientist who wants to prove the existence of God by finding the one door that reveals all of his/her or its equations. Like the Door maker whose daughter I long ago copulated with- I am convinced that all the riddles that confuse and confound the human species can be immediately unlocked by the transcendental power of a door.

On Radiohead.

I normally abstain from doing any kind of review on this blog. I mean who am I to give out my opinions on other peoples creations. But today has been filled with guilt and rain and the beautifully experimental sounds of Radiohead’s new album IN/RAINBOWS- got me through the lugubrious day. I listen to all sorts of music, but within this album are some of the most sublime and intelligently erotic/sensual sounds I have ever heard. It is an epic record that accentuates everything the band has ever done together into a cohesive album that is not only mature but also highly skilled. It is a record of complex music weaved together into what I would call a conceptual work of art. Only the concept is difficult to decipher (it may not even exist) but someplace deep down after a few listens to the album you feel it, right under your soul.

I began my painting career a few years back while listening to Kid A. The sounds brought forth images that I never had dreamed of creating. Radiohead has always been able to unleash my introverted imagination with the orchestration of particular sounds that act as a catalyst for creative explosions. Each time my imagination seems to thaw I listen to Radiohead and am amazed by the work I produce by the end of a day. With IN/RAINBOWS the degree of creativity that is able to flow forth from listening to this amazingly beautiful album is just as strong as when I first listened to Kid A. The new album is multi layered and built as a collage with so many heterogeneous sound images that one is intellectually, emotionally and physically in a state close to rapture while listening to this masterpiece. IN/RAINBOWS is reminiscent of some of Brian Eno’s Ambiet work combined with the experimental sounds of Faust or Can’s more melodic/bucolic sounds. I am terribly grateful for this new album and I recommend it to anyone who is need of a soul revival to plug into IN/RAINBOWS. You can also watch a new film that the band has released at, You Tube . Enjoy.

A Man Out Of Tune.

As a younger man I played the piano more often than I may have wanted. My Grandfather was a violinist for the San Francisco Symphony and he noticed a particular talent in me. Despite his weakness for promiscuous women, he was a committed father and husband who dedicated himself to teaching me “The ways of Beethoven.” As I played he would hummmm along a bit out of tune with the piece I was playing. I would ask him to stop but he would always furiously respond that “the world is not a friendly place! You must learn to play along when things are out of tune!!”

So along went our daily lessons and over time I noticed that he would fall asleep during the middle of our sessions together. He had taken to drinking whiskey and had developed thrombosis in his leg. He no longer took my musical career with as much seriousness as he once did because “I was incapable of playing along in a world that was out of tune.”

I studied music in college and ten years after my grandfather passed away (he was run over by a train) I developed the same obsession for promiscuous women. My first real love was with a bisexual young lady who drank more than a fifth of whiskey a day and collected rare birds. She was often drunk when we went out for dates and passed out by the time I took her home. With my music I had wanted to cure a world from all its imbalances and with my first love, well, I wanted to save her from herself. I wanted to be the knight in shinning armor that would come along and rescue her from the booze that eventually she chose over me.

My heart was broken but I poured my despair into the keys of the piano that I played mercilessly. Unrequited love had caused my soul to separate from myself and turned me toward a punishment that Psychologists refer to as Bulimia. I felt as if I did not deserve the food that I ate and whenever possible I would relieve myself with a pencil or pen down the throat. It was also around that time (my mid-twenties) that I was hired to be the lead pianist for the Oakland Symphony. My career as a maestro of the piano seemed to be budding but my weight and spirit was descending.

It was also around this time that I started to develop GERD (Gastro Intestinal Reflux Disorder). During my performances I would be overcome with a terrible need to burp and release gas. On the piano the microphone is hooked up close to the chest region of the pianist so when loud gas is released or a burp accidentally escapes- it can be heard in the middle of Bach, Brahms, Rachmaninoff or whatever piece I would be performing. This happened often and I remember the day that I saw in the San Fransisco Sunday Chronicle an article entitled “The Pianist and his Intestinal Sonatas.” I was mortified by the fact that the journalist wrote about my inability to refrain from farting during my performance of Brahms No. 1 in D minor or burping during a Beethoven Paino Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major. He also noticed that I was suffering from some horrible wasting disease. The word was out, people started judging me unfairly and I felt completely at a loss to accept myself. I started what I now refer to as the years of self hatred.

Self hate only drove me into a long winter of alcohol abuse. I drank two bottles of red wine a day and developed a serious obsession for eating cheese. Nothing brought me as much satisfaction as sitting alone in my rented room and eating cheese and drinking red wine until I passed out. I especially enjoyed eating warm brie or white cheddar cheese and drinking a bottle of red wine before my performances. But this indulgance also cost me my job, because even though the errors were subtle- I was throwing off the entire symphony because I was “out of tune all time,” the director told me.

In my attempts to create a world that was in tune through my music, I had strangely become out of tune myself. I was 28 years old and addicted to wine and cheese. I had managed to overcome my bulimia but I was afraid of eating food the was not made by my own person. I slept with strange women and started to develop a sexual addiction that lead me into some of the strangest whore houses in Amsterdam, Spain and Carson City Nevada. I was a man whose only purpose had become to forget about the musicality of life and seek out desperate pleasure at whatever cost- so that I could avoid feeling the pain of a world that was out of tune.

At the age of twenty nine I found myself broke and with little prospects for the future. Working in a gourmet shop that sold various kinds of cheeses and wines allowed me the time to take up tennis. I stopped playing after a few months because I found myself always frustrated by my inability to return a lob. I started meditation but could never stop hearing my grandfather voice saying over and over “you have got to learn how to play along with a world that is out of tune!!” The world had become like one big muted tone and I often reminded myself of my grandfather, sound asleep during the middle of a lesson.

The End.

Searching For Eddie Vedder.

I have been searching for Eddie Vedder for over a decade and a half. From the grunge clubs in Seattle all the way to the epic recent concerts in Italy. I have made my way low on funds, at times without home or hope, in search of Eddie Vedder. My wife thinks that I am obsessed with the man but this is no more true than saying that a brother is obsessed with his younger brother. You see, in an indirect way- Eddie and I are “brothers.” He is six years older than I and much more acclimated to the world than I- but none the less we are brothers. How could I think such a ridiculous thing you may be thinking? You are Jewish, six foot five, lack any singing ability and you are allergic to booze- you say. There is no way you could be the brother of Eddie Vedder!! This is true on the physiological level, but brotherhood is much deeper than body or biology- brotherhood is an energy, it is a shared soul. We share the same soul.

When I first met Eddie Vedder I was beginning to experience panic attacks. I was a member of Generation X not knowing what my life was for or who I was. I was searching for a soul. Confusion embalmed me like a dark fog and the result of this imbalance was a panic so ferocious that all I could do was measure my life by each inhalation. I lived in fear that the next exhalation would be my last.

I attended a small private college and fell into a love affair with wine, women and marijuana. It was under the influence of all three of these vices that I first heard the music of Nirvana. It was my birthday, May…1992. The sounds spoke to me of a new beginning, the possibility for an identity. And then before I knew what was happening the grunge movement was underway and I was wearing boxer underwear, flannels, ripped jeans, black Doc Martins and my hair was nearly down to my shoulders. I was sitting front row at a Pearl Jam concert watching this new beacon of hope for my exiled generation sing like a Shaman and run around like he was trying to bring purpose back into a blank society. It was then that I had my first meeting with Eddie Vedder. He fell off the stage and landed on my head.

After college I moved to Seattle, bought a dog, drank too much and worked in a bookstore. I lived alone in a small cottage and read books that I had stolen from the store (I returned most them when finished). I smoked weed with Chris Cornell (who was a frequent costumer) in a park and everywhere I went I hoped to run into Eddie Vedder. I attempted to find out where he was living from Chris…but at the time I was told that he rarely came out of his home and had constant security guards meandering around his grounds. Besides, Chris would never tell a person like me where this legend in the making rested his head. I was a stranger to stoned to zip up my pants who could barley hold down an honest job at a book shop.

Skip ahead to the year 2007. I am a sober (don’t even eat sugar), vegetarian, married, hypochondriac, childless unemployed blogger who rarely leaves his house. I am introverted and frequently I will watch Eddie Vedder interviews and Pearl Jam live footage on You Tube. In my chest there lingers not only a nostalgia for the grunge era (which seemed to pass away quicker than a heart beat) but a chronic feeling of failure. Just yesterday I was young and now I am closing in on forty with chronic anxiety and little to show for my years on this earth. This is my sixth day without leaving the house- but I find consolation in knowing Eddie Vedder is living the life I only wish I could.

It’s not the fame or the notoriety that I envy but rather the artistic integrity of a man who is able to live out who he truly is. Most of us have to cut our hair and work at day jobs that have nothing to do with our soul, in order to put food on the table. We have to forget about the idealisms of our youth and retire who we really are into our back pockets. This is punishment for not finding your “niche.”

Now I am nearing middle age, and for the sake of family I have put aside my aspiration to write novels and picked the second choice…I will be a high school Teacher. I will not live the life I had imagined for myself a decade ago. But my brother is living it for me, and I live it vicariously through him. His protests are mine, his success is my pride. At 42 years of age he can still sing like a maestro while being a smoker and an avid wine drinker. Eddie is able to intoxicate stadium after stadium of people with his humble soul. This is one of the many differences between us.

I am unable to find teaching job because I refuse to cut my hair which is the bond that holds my soul together. Along with my Pearl Jam t-shirts and buttons…I am often referred to by others as “Eddie Vedder like.” I pretend to be surprised, but the truth is this is the exact effect that I am going for. At times I find myself pretending to be Eddie Vedder (I did this when I was a younger man as well. I would wear the “Beat It” jacket with shoulder pads, white glove, white socks and penny loafers- pretending to be Micheal Jackson. I was a white man living in a hick community and brought on many beatings from red necks because of my desire to be like Mike). I lost my last job as a high school Teacher for making my students watch one live Pearl Jam concert after the next. I tried to explain to the administration that I was teaching my students what it means to search for Eddie Vedder- to remain true to that one thing in us that is the real reflection of our soul!! They could not understand.

It will never happen my wife says. “I could write novels, I could act in a film…there has got to be something that I can do so that I do not have to sell my soul!!” “Eddie Vedder has been doing what he does for a long time and he is an icon,” my wife says “you are almost 40 and you just have not been on that path my love. You can not be Eddie Vedder!!” Sometimes I get so depressed I spend the entire day in bed. There is Eddie Vedder, 42 and still rocking out on stage. He drinks wine, smokes cigarettes, is in top physical condition and is an icon. He is a voice of the anti-war movement and good friends with Sean Penn (someone I have always wanted to speak with). I on the other hand get sick if I drink or smoke a cigarette, can not walk up a flight of stairs without chest pain and have very little money in my bank account. The tires on my car all need to be replaced, but I can not afford to do so. I live in an old home which is freezing cold in the winter, smells like toxic glue and wobbles when ever anyone walks around.

I am not feeling sorry for myself but I envy the man who I call my brother. I told him this not long ago. It was after a Pearl Jam concert in San Fransisco. I waited with a group of a dozen die hard fans until about three in the morning for Eddie to exit from the back stage exit. It was cold and desolate in the San Fransisco early morning. The only people out on the streets pushed shopping carts filled with their meager possessions. I was about to turn away when suddenly I heard the crowd erupt into loud salutations shouting “Eddie!!” “Eddie!!!” He kindly got everyone to calm down by saying “please calm down, I will get to each and every one of you. we just need to be quiet.” I could feel my tired heart racing in my chest as I awaited Eddie’s glance. He signed set lists and talked with one lady about how great she thought he was aging. He seemed very comfortable, a little drunk, almost Buddha like in his demeanor. Then I caught his stare and stuck out my hand. He shook my hand and it was then that I said “You are doing a great job, I envy you your success.” He looked at me square in the eyes as if he was trying to remember if we met before. He then said “thank you my brother, but do not envy me, I’m just doing the best I can…like you.” And then he was gone. He got into the front seat of a black van which I imagine took my brother to his hotel room.

Now I sit here writing. It is raining outside and I spent the entire day reading in bed. I watched a few Eddie Vedder interviews tonight. I feel like my life is on hold while he is living life to its fullest. I have been wondering. Am I doing the best I can? And I have to say that my answer to this is no. No I am not. I have always been rather lazy and short of finding that one thing I love to do and then doing it all the time. No, I am not doing the best I can…and this is exactly why I am searching for Eddie Vedder. He is a man who is doing the best he can. I watch him and I am in awe. “So this is what it looks like when one finds their soul purpose,” I say to myself. Slowly my awe turns to inspiration…and I am reminded of something that I seemed to have almost given up on. My search for Eddie Vedder.