Waiting for Tomorrow
I think Scott Weiland’s death is the saddest death of all rock musicians.
Hear me out here.
All the other ones got to go out in some blaze of glory. Even Layne Staley, who died in a similar fashion, got his proper sendoff. He was still relevant when he went — people were still wondering what had happened to him and hoped for his comeback.
Scott was done by the time he died. He was a shell of himself. His former wife even said so in that Rolling Stone article she wrote. He was playing small clubs. He had embarrassing videos of himself on YouTube, so obliterated he couldn’t remember the words to his songs. His voice was going — you can’t abuse your vocal chords like that for twenty years and expect them to stay intact.
I like STP. I don’t think they were particularly innovative or special but they earned their place in the world. And if you listen to their songs, they’re just as human and just as devastating as anything Kurt Cobain or Billy Corgan wrote.
Particularly the lyrics from the song Plush. Particularly the one lyric, “Got time to wait for tomorrow.” I feel like that’s what Scott was always doing, including when he overdosed on his tour bus. Smoking, drinking, snorting, swallowing, and waiting for tomorrow.
But so that brings us to me.
I can relate to a lot of 90s rock because it’s the last time that sad straight white dudes had a cultural spotlight on them. That music encompasses what it feels like to be an invisible white guy in today’s society.
I’m the most unnoticeable motherfucker ever. People aren’t even threatened by me because they never notice I’m around. It used to bother me, but they say embrace what you can’t change. So I started thinking — how could this be useful?
I started stealing as soon as I knew I could get away with it. I took conventional shit first — little things. The first thing I ever stole was this rubber snake from the desk of a kid who sat next to me in eighth grade. He never even realized it was gone. I still have that little rubber snake. I keep it in my glovebox.
It wasn’t long and I graduated to valuable items — money, jewels. I became an expert shoplifter. Security cams had nothing on me. I broke into my first house at 17, my first business at 20.
I got so good at it that I started giving things back. I took items, kept them for awhile, then returned them. A lot of the times, no one even noticed they were gone. The most fun is when they realize they’re gone, then can’t explain it when the item returns.
I started stealing more high profile items. I went Ocean’s 11 on Vegas and Washington D.C. I have numerous souvenirs out of the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court. I took a snippet off RBG’s judge robe — DURING A FUCKING HEARING — and she didn’t even blink. I’ve stolen the Hope Diamond three times now. One time I had it for almost a year. You didn’t hear about it, did you?
But like all mastered skills, I got bored with my gift for theft. It had become too easy. Truth be told, it had always been too easy.
I started thinking, what’s the most valuable item a person can steal? There are diamonds and jewels and gold bars and clothes and material items all over the place. Everything is replaceable.
I’ll tell you what isn’t.
Specifically, people’s remains.
Which brings me back to Scott Weiland.
I’ve been stealing from celebrity graves for awhile now. To be honest, it’s the only thing I bother stealing anymore. I have a lock of Marilyn Monroe’s hair and a lock of Mitch Hedberg’s hair. I have a scrap of Dean Martin’s tuxedo, and Mr. Rogers’ tuxedo. I have a toenail off Andy Kaufman’s left pinky toe (yes, he actually died). I have a piece of Elvis’s left ear (yes, he actually died, too).
But when someone’s cremated, not buried, I can’t get my hands on them. So when Scott died, I sprang into action. I was on a plane that evening. I was at Hollywood Forever for his memorial. I was clean, I was efficient. I was at my absolute best that day. And I succeeded.
I keep Scott Weiland’s ashes inside this brass turtle that I got from my grandma. The turtle’s shell flips up and there’s Scott, in a baggie with a twisty tie on it. His family has no idea. They have a mixture of crushed seashells. Don’t worry, though. I’ll give Scott back in a few years.
But for now I want to sit here and listen to Plush again, the acoustic version, which is way more melancholy and captures the spirit of the song way better than the full band version. Very lonely. Just like an invisible person’s life.
Just me and what’s left of the the voice that sang the words, waiting for tomorrow.