Tuesday, March 20, 2012
OK, Thriller Guy here, gimme my damn blog back for a minute.
TG was scrolling through the channels on the tube tonight and stumbled on NPR which was having pledge week, Oh, how TG hates pledge week. When TG was young and a stay-at-home dad, because writing fiction didn't pay shit then just like it doesn't pay shit now, and his sweet wife worked full time to support the family, he depended on the public channel to run Sesame Street every day so he could park his three year old daughter in front of the set and try to squeeze in an hour of writing. But whenever Pledge Week was on, there went TG's writing time. TG's daughter, Leah, (TGDL) used to see that bank of idiots on the TV screen, the ones who volunteer their time sitting in those phone banks, and she would immediately burst into tears, knowing that her show was not going to come on as long as these dopes were answering the ringing phones. Besides, she knew that daddy would be going nuts. Oh, how TG remembers the day, Leah crying, when TG, furious, called the pledge number and watched on the television as some minion answered the phone and TG screamed, “Twenty bucks, no, fifty bucks! If you assholes will stop this bullshit and just put Sesame Street on where it's supposed to be! Right now! You're making my daughter cry! If you don't put her show on right now I'm going to come down there and kick every one of your pussy asses.” Yeah, well, that was one call they didn't broadcast over the air.
Anyway, TG scrolled onto pledge week tonight and there was Peter. Paul and Mary (if you don't know who they were/are, just go away from this site right now) and he was reminded of a moment from the dim past. It was 1964, and TG, a college student at West Virginia University, was sitting on a stone retaining wall out in front of a fraternity house smoking a cigar when a aging Buick coasted up and ground to a stop. Peter, Paul and Mary, then pretty much totally unknown, got out of the car and said to TG that they had been in town for a concert, (who knew?) and they had a check for $2,000.00 from the university but absolutely no cash money for gasoline. Would I loan them $20.00 to get out of town? $20.00? TG was a poor student, he worked in kitchens for food, his parents sent him $5.00 a week for spending money. Which meant beer money. But these three looked even poorer than he was. That was back when Peter and Paul had hair. At the time, TG figured the $2,000.00 check thing was bullshit.
But Mary was hot. Long blond hair, great body, big white teeth in a land where a missing tooth was de rigueur for females of that age, (OK, maybe it wasn't that bad). Anyhow, they seemed like nice people, so TG hopped off the wall, pulled his only five dollar bill out and gave it to Mary. So long to buying a beer for the next week. “It's a loan,” she said, smiling with those pretty teeth.
”Right,” TG said, with all the cool he could muster.
“And could I have one of those cigars?” Mary asked.
It was a Marsh Wheeling, made right there in West Virginia, the one with the wooden holder you could clamp down on with your teeth, if you had teeth. TG had an extra, so he gave it to her. She smiled and said, "Thanks, I owe you." Was there a little something extra there in that smile? TG could have said, "How bout I ride along with you?" Hey, those were the days. She could have easily said, "Climb in, we're going to New York." Things would have been different. No regrets. But she did have one pretty smile.
They drove off in a cloud of exahust fumes, the tailpipe dragging on the ground. Of course they went on to mega fame, a steller career with a few bumps along the way. In many ways they were the sound track of TG's generation.
Flash forward 48 years and TG is watching PP&M in a 1986 concert during pledge week on MTV. Mary is dead. Has been for four years. Leukemia.