I’ve done a lot of music, on one medium or another, for various people throughout the public, most of my life, when I wasn’t in one institution or another with a chemical imbalance. Singing and/or playing my guitar, or blowing my trumpet, won the approval of many a crowd, people overhearing me along the streets or in the flower shop. People liked the man’s musicianship.
I was the love song delivery man, delivering flowers to delighted customers.
The man’s flower business roared, and the money came rolling in – for him, not for me. I was only an ordinary employee with sounds in my head, along with all the other things I polluted my head with. Receive your flowers, and a love song too, was the man who made it a point to delivered flowers, with a song in his heart. It was the reason the boss liked me as much as he did, at that first flower shop.
How could he help it? I mean, I never saw his bottom line, but the impression I got was that his business was growing by leaps and bounds. Besides that, he always wanted to know how I was doing. Mostly, I was an inpatient in various institutions, but Mother would never have told him that. I saw how he was doing – the wife, the kids, orders multiplying – everything was going fine.
I could see sitcoms on the TV from the madhouse, and realize that the whole idea for the sitcom was taken straight out of my everyday, miserable life. I’d be in a madhouse somewhere, hating myself. No one could – or can – do anything about the chemical imbalance in my brain. The thing I needed to realize was that I should put the plug in the jug, and quit smoking the wacky tobaccy.
The story was never about my desperate struggle with mental illness or drug addiction, which would have been something real. The story was never about my struggle with unreality or with suicidal tendencies. Those were taboo subjects to air on the Television. It was a situation comedy, with nothing but canned laughter to ease the pain of being in a madhouse long term.
I used to think I was a maniac, over some poor girl I thought I knew, when all I wanted to do was marry her and give her as nice life as possible, as if there’s anything anymore wrong with that, than singing love songs in public. That girl was the one the love songs were written for, the girl I wanted to give a life to, after I sorted a few things out. It never panned out, though.
I was so mixed up about that girl that I took a razor blade to my wrist once. I was really upset about her, because she was a little young, but then, half the guys in the world want someone a little young. I’d already made a shambles of things with another girl, from down South. I just wanted to know this other girl some, to get a clue who it was I was waiting for. Fair’s fair.
I would sing and sing, scarcely being cognizant of the fact that people were listening to me sing. Singing was only a natural part of me, when I was young. I was the love song delivery man, delivering flowers to and fro. I was an asset to that shop. He asked for me by name repeatedly, to my mother of all people, years later. I ended up immensely frightened and self conscious about singing.
Then, the singing stopped altogether. I didn’t even sing in the shower. I began playing the instruments I could play, instead. I began writing songs for solo instruments, thinking that would achieve deliverance for me, for liking the girl I liked. I playing my instruments surreptitiously, as if that was possible. Her father would come see me in the institution, but I was scared of him.
What do you know?
I’m not a failure as a musician. Did very well in churches and schools, making a public musician of myself at an early age. I used to get so self conscious of my talent, finding fault with my musical behavior, when that’s all it was, talent. There was no fault to be taken about what I was doing. People enjoyed my music, far and wide. According to public reaction, I could make enough music.
The fact that I was a composer of music stood to put people in quite awe of me.
I was doing something wrong?
I don’t think so.
I would take my instruments various places, like Du Pont Circle, downtown DC, or the Methodist Church, Aberdeen, or the Lutheran Church at Liberty and Rolling, Rockdale. I’d play in front of people, or play alone, whether there was anyone to play with, or not. Various people actually wrote a few songs about me over the years. I never made the big time directly, but those songs did.
I’ve heard those songs and knew they were for me.
I don’t really know who those songwriters were.
There was in a hippie band in the 60’s, when I was in high school. I was a good, rehearsal musician. Took me a long time to consider myself a drunk. Sure, I took to drinking at those gigs under age, like Elvis didn’t? That only became a situation for my attention quite awhile later. In spite of my chemical imbalance, I got along for awhile. I gave the situation my attention when the time came.
I didn’t grow my hair and smoke pot until I got to university. Even at that, it didn’t happen to me right away. A few semesters went by, and I earned some merit scholarships along the way. The thing that got all that happening was this guy, who wanted me to smoke weed with him. I had no idea it would be part of my undoing. It only helped the nightmare happen.
By that time, growing one’s hair and smoking pot was a foregone conclusion of a generation.
I spent a lot of time as a church musician, singing in the choir, playing trumpet, you name it. But when I auditioned for a paid choir, the organist/choir director said I read music very well, but there were other considerations. I was known to be a smoke hound, so I didn’t get the job. I would have had the job if I could have made rehearsals and Sunday morning services on a regular basis.
I shot myself in the foot.
Then, one day the music stopped.