After all these years, this simple message, my first words of true validation as a fledgling writer, has never left me. It echoes in my mind like a long canyon scream each time I sit down to a blank page, and inspires me to fill it with my true voice. After a childhood of failed classes and dismal report cards (most of which ended with comments such as, “David has potential, but his hyperactivity and attention-seeking behavior are a constant distraction to the class!”), it was if I had pulled the proverbial red pen from the stone. No small victory for the delinquent son of a public-school teacher, but let’s be honest, I was never destined to become the next Bill Shakespeare (ask any of my traumatized English teachers). It only makes sense that this particular validation wasn’t given by any of the poor, frustrated educators I left in my wake. No, it came from a truly brilliant writer who shaped my love (and fear) of the written word. …
Frozen in my living room chair, my stomach dropped like a lead weight as I stared down at my laptop screen in horror. Fingers trembling above the cold keyboard, I read and re-read those two sentences over and over again, praying that perhaps it was just some sort of typo, some kind of cruel autocorrect disaster. But…it was no mistake.
David Bowie had just told me to fuck off.
Believe me, it wasn’t the first time my battered ears had heard such colorful language, but from the “Thin White Duke” himself? What could I have possibly done to illicit such a soul-crushing reaction? Was it something I said? Or, had I done that thing that I always do when faced with a bonifide legend, nervously displaying all of my most annoying tendencies? (There are many, trust me) I retraced all of our brief encounters together over the years, digging back into….”My …
Like smoke in a crowded saloon, these four words hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity, as my mind struggled to make sense of this most surreal, life moment. There I was, standing in a cold, curtained off dressing room area, trying so desperately to keep my cool, to act as if this was just another conversation in just another backstage room on just another Friday night. But, it was no use. This was not just another conversation in just another backstage room on just another Friday night….
It was Prince.
And he was asking me to jam. …
These were three words I thought I’d never live to hear. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was a lifelong, card carrying, die hard metal fan since I was a kid. A back patch wearing, cassette collecting, fanzine subscribing, stage diving lifer at heart. But Ozzfest? The Foo Fighters? The mother of all metal festivals, the meeting of all Marshalls, the most tyrannical thrash-apalooza known to man was requesting…the “Learn to Fly” guys? The smiley, smirky, candy commercial dorks? The rock and roll “Revenge of the Nerds”? Shit, some of us even had hair ABOVE our collars! This made no sense. This must be some kind of practical joke. Candid camera? Punked? Was Ashton Kutcher going to jump out of my hotel closet and find me shivering in my soiled pair of 90’s long underwear? This was the greatest mismatch of all time. This was Tyson vs. Ghandi. David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer. …
My sweet mother stood there scowling and covering her ears behind the patio door as the final squeaks and pops of my Virginia-legal-sparkler-fountain-thing scattered its dying embers across the backyard of my childhood home. This was not the first time I had heard her say these words, of course. She hated those damn things, always did. And I had made a childhood career of indulging in any explosives I could get my hands on. Though, as Virginia fireworks go, this particular little gem was pretty standard fare: a few red and green sparks, a little whistle, and a puff of white smoke…..over in 15 seconds. No glorious display of pyrotechnics by any means, but sadly this was the closest thing anyone was gonna get to a good old fashioned bottle rocket or firecracker in my suburban neighborhood. …
My name is Dave.
Sometimes I play drums.
Sometimes I play guitar.
Sometimes I tell stories.
I’m currently looking for work, so I thought I’d pass the time by writing true short stories that will make people smile.(I’m also a total fucking spaz who can’t sit around doing nothing)
My mother was a brilliant English teacher, my father a wicked speechwriter, so I decided to rebel by not paying attention to grammar and/or punctuation in school. (That, and cranking death metal 24/7 from my bedroom stereo) So…have mercy. Not going for a Nobel Prize in Literature here.
I look forward to sharing some of the more ridiculous moments of my life with you. Stay tuned!
Wash your fucking hands.