Monday, December 23, 2013

Michael's Story: A Christmas Tale

 EDITOR'S NOTE: This doesn't have a whole lot to do with guitar amps but it seemed important when I was mulling it over today. So tarry with me for a bit.

I lived in Signal Hill for a while back in the late eighties and one of my neighbors was a guy named Michael who lived with his boyfriend-whom I never met. Michael was a woodworker and painter whose passion was woodwork on old yachts and he had a tattoo of a paint brush on his arm-only one I ever saw. It was the eighties, and he also had HIV and was on the raggedest of ragged edges, holding on by his teeth and being thankful for every good sunny day at the marina and every cold beer on the back porch.

I suspect Michael is gone now, because it was the eighties, and we hadn't yet learned to think about HIV as another chronic illness to be managed. It was a death sentence, pretty much, in those days. I would be the happiest man in the entire world to find out that I'm wrong, but the odds were long and the stakes were high.

 It was a white knuckles sort of thing, y'know. I knew it and so did he.

So I was sitting in my car today, parked at Walgreens, thinking as hard about Michael as I'd ever thought about anything or anybody

I used to think how and why you got sick was important and had a moral dimension. Not any more. Maybe it matters at some point, but then you get sick and it just doesn't matter anymore because you're on your way somewhere, nobody can stop it, and nobody knows for sure where that is.

What a fool I'd been.

And it isn't up to any one, much less a sinner like me, to pass judgment or turn away from people because of some preconceived half assed idea of moral dimensions.

Wherever you are, Mike, rest easy and Merry Christmas

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