Friday, February 10, 2006

What Else Could You Possibly Ask For?


I've talked a lot about my obsessions for the writings of Hunter Thompson before.

And I've told lots of people that the lark that made Thompson famous, writing about his fear and loathing, is not my favorite bit.

On the other hand, I have also told the remaining few that will listen about the king-hell time I had reading 'The Lark' for the first time, all at once, purely for the adrenaline rush of the language, while holed up a tiny woodstove-heated cabin located high in the Sooke Hills in the early 1980's.

But I don't think I've ever told anybody about my reaction to the dedication at the front end the thing in which Thompson thanked Bob Dylan.

For Mr. Tambourine Man.

Back then I was a much, much younger man but Dylan was already old, as were his best songs.

And both were already washed up in my estimation.

That, of course, was the hubris of youth at work, but I quit that job some time ago.



Tonight was a night like a thousand others at our house (which is one of those half-million dollar working-class bungalows in David Emerson's Vancouver-Kingsway riding).

And it ended with me playing my very bad guitar for my youngest kid, who is now six, at bedtime.

She likes what she calls 'story songs' in which I make up a dumber-than-dumb, almost rhyming couplet-type lyric about the day gone by that is laid over a bit of two chord chicanery that sounds vaguely reminscent of the pseudo-talking blues line that runs under the verses of Lou Reed's 'Take A Walk On The Wild Side'.

Anyway tonight she was still awake when I finished my drone, and as I got up to go she whispered, 'You're not leaving, are you? Dad?'

How could I possibly go?

So I stayed.

And I played Mr. Tambourine Man.

She fell asleep half-way through the second verse; I could tell by her breathing.

But I kept going anyway.

Often as I move through it, and especially if I know nobody's listening, I'll try to switch from Zimmerman's nasal to McGuinn's falsetto in the last half.

I honestly don't remember what voice I was affecting tonight.

But I do remember the last few lines of the very last verse.

"Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow."

And so I ask you.

What else could a Dad possibly ask for his kid?


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