Posted in music and the music business, yesterday. today. tomorrow.

4 pm on some idle tuesday

now playing: kim richey, “those words we said”

as was hashed out in the comments, the gent in the picture is none other than david lindley, one of the most amazing musicians in the history of mankind. and one of the nicest guys, too. he’s on tour on the east coast right now, and stopped at sellersville theatre on sunday night. it was a one man show, just him and his arsenal of instruments…three weissenborn-style hawaiian guitars, a bouzouki and a cittern, a saz, an oud, and a couple of plain ol’ guitars. i would’ve wished for a fiddle piece or two, and possibly a banjo as well – only because i know he’s quite proficient on both, and i think it would’ve been cool to have them along. as it is, he travels pretty heavily – and i can relate. if i brought everything i wanted to to every gig, it’d get pretty crowded up there.

david was great, though – played an extended version of cat food sandwiches that will forever change the perception of the phrase poker chip in the minds of the audience who witnessed it. he also played a song i’d never heard before called when a man gets boobs in a style that i guess could only be called Bhagwan John Lee Hooker – a chicago blues shuffle on the oud. and as per usual, he played a number of instrumental pieces that showcased his uncanny ability to not only play his instruments proficiently, but to be innately musical in the process – his sense of what’s appropriate and precisely how much flash embellishes the melody and how much is too much is completely intact.

he really is as close to a master musician as there is, i think.
i tried to wait as long as i could for most of the other folks there to trickle out before i went over to talk to him – i had brought my studio wallhanger guitar for him to sign (where his john hancock now resides alongside those of ed king from lynyrd skynyrd, stephen stills, rusty young and paul cotton from poco, curtis wright and craig lee fuller from pure prairie league…and a few others). i had a “win this record” era 8 x 10 glossy that i had him sign for me as well, and as we were examining my lame guitar (shaking it and giggling at the sound of the truss rod flopping about inside the neck), we started talking about instruments for a while…i asked first about how he amplified his saz (which is devoid of soundholes, and thus making the typical sunrise installation impossible), and then we started talking about hawaiian guitars, comparing notes on the Superior instruments (which morphed into K&S over time) – turns out that he has one identical to mine in every sense…even in the fact that the bridge is beginning to lift up a bit.

he was very accomodating, very sweet – and we exchanged contact information after i brought up the concept of the book…he apparently hadn’t gotten the email i sent him before he left on tour, so i gave him the thirty second pitch. as soon as i told him the title of the book, he smiled and said, “boy, do i have some stories for you….”

that was encouraging, to say the least…since, let’s face it – from my own perspective, there’s not much of a book without david.
so while we probably won’t be able to sit down during this jaunt, i don’t foresee any real obstacles. in fact, i told him that i’d be willing to come out to him next year if that was easier. i’ve never been, and it’d be a great excuse to go to subway guitars in person and meet the infamous fatdawg…and i’m sure i could find other things to do out west to lure me out for a while.
ok. all that said…the week’s other big story…
on tuesday afternoon, i got a call from the kids’ mom saying that the school nurse had called from school and asked that dylan be picked up…apparently, there was something wrong that the nurse wasn’t comfortable with. she said that she’d gotten there to find that he’d been in band and had bent over to pick something up off the floor and was met with excruciating pain in his…crotch. jill picked him up and made an appointment for him later that afternoon with the doctor, who took one look at him and began arranging to have him whisked to st. joseph’s hospital for emergency surgery. they apparently suspected tortion of one of his testicles. now apparently, if that happens, you have a window of roughly six hours or so to correct it or it becomes a lost cause…it dies and has to be removed. and when that happens, there’s apparently elevated risk of becoming sterile, because the other one suffers as a result as well.

now apparently, the doctor saw fit to tell his mother this (as i was on my way, 115 mph style, to the hospital) while dylan was in the room, and that kinda sent him over the edge. he’s a hard kid, and he didn’t show any real outward emotion, but jill said he was trembling when he went into the operating room. i got there just minutes after they took him in, still hanging on the initial tortion diagnosis.

it felt like he was in there for a week. i felt like i wanted to puke. i felt so bad for dylan, whos’ not exactly brimming with self esteem in the first place, having to deal with the stigma of potentially carrying this label with him through high school (because how do you keep something like that under wraps when everyone knows why you went to the nurse in the first place?) and potentially having the ability to have children of his own involuntarily lifted from his shoulders. how do you help a child deal with something like that at a point in their lives when they’re just beginning to start to figure out where they stand on their own sexuality?

as i sat there agonizing over dylan’s predicament, i couldn’t help but be struck by the words from that infamous email that we all got eleventy billion times seven or eight years ago…you know the one, right? the one that purported to be kurt vonneguts’ commencement address to MIT or some such nonsense? the one that was eventually set to music by baz luhrmann? the sunscreen thing, remember? sure you do.
“Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real trouble in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday….”
it was well after 4pm now, and the worry was firmly set in motion at this point.
wendy came as soon as she could, in her own version of crisis mode, which i probably didn’t handle very well, but sometimes you just have to quell the din as best as you can. it wasn’t really a time for being verbose in any quantity.

anyway…
about an hour and forty five minutes after they took him in, the doctor who did the surgery came out to fill us in on what had happened.

apparently, the vast majority of men are born with testicular apppendages that are essentially appendix-like…they’re leftovers from evolution (maybe there was a time when men had – oh, say, half a dozen or so testicles…it would certainly explain the other attributes of prehistoric mans’ genetic makeup), and they cause this problem more often than we’re aware of, but usually it doesn’t require surgery. but since they had operated based on the tortion diagnosis, they cauterized and removed it…which is apparently routine. he said that anytime they find themselves in that area of the body, they usually remove the “growth” as a matter of procedure.
dylan came out into the recovery room some time later and we went in to see how he was holding up – his first question was, “will i still be able to produce children?”
i wanted to cry. even though i knew he was fine, he just broke my heart.
a little later, we were talking, and i straightened out his covers and grabbed his hand as it stuck out of the sheet at about waist level – he looked over at me and said, “i love you.”

i said, “i love you, too, dylan. i’m sorry i wasn’t here sooner.”

then he looked at his mom and said, “you, too.”

and then the academy award speech started….”and aunt jodi, too…and jayda….”
maybe thirteen is too young to feel your own mortality, i don’t know. but i think he was feelin’ it that night.
later, after we got him into a room, he and i settled in while his mom went home for a shower and watched the world series (it was the night of the record setting longest game in world series history that the white sox finally won in houston). he was a little dopey from the anasthesia, but it was a far cry from the goofy lightheadedness exhibited during his routine tonsilectomy the previous year…it was a somber, dazed brand of aloofness. he got to get something to drink at long last, and we dug in for a long game. his aunt jodi talked to him on the phone a little while later, to wish him a happy “twisted testicle tuesday”, and he called his sister to tell her that he loved her. his mom returned at a little before midnight to find him still awake, and he managed to hang in there until almost one in the morning because he wanted to see who won the baseball game. he finally dozed off and i went home a little later, just relieved that it was over.
jill stayed the night with him and brought him home the next day, and i stayed home with him on thursday to keep an eye on him. the aloofness went away with the anesthesia, and he stayed on a pretty disciplined regimen with his painkillers the first couple of days to keep it at bay. by the weekend, he was starting to get around better, and went with wendy and i to buzz and sues’ house, but he was still far from one hundred percent.

he’s only really started to show some degree of life within the last few days – he went back to the doctor yesterday, and was cleared to go back to school next week…in the meantime, he’s got an assload of homework to do, and he’s on pretty strict “slacker orders” – stairs to an absolute minimum, no moving around unless necessary – which, if it weren’t for the pain and the fear involved, might be motivation for dylan to twist something down there every month or so…
but, all ass-busting aside, i’m glad that the scare is behind us…and i think dylan now has a gauge by which to measure the things that he may or may not take for granted in this life.

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Author:

tom is a personally and politically malcontent musician, songwriter, sideman and session cat living in East Nashville, Tennessee.

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