the walkmen

I fucking love the Walkmen.

Do you know the Walkmen?

If you don’t, you should. I would embed a video clip for their greatest (or anyway best-known) song, “The Rat,” if I knew how. Brad, how do I do this? I’m a technical moron, and undoubtedly a moron in other ways, as the following will demonstrate.

Last night the Walkmen played in L.A. Well, technically, as I write this, it was yesterday — Wednesday — night.

I couldn’t go. I had to work. I just got a part-time job as a pizza maker/delivery guy. That’s how bad things are at the moment. I’ve been making my living as a writer for years, and now I’ve hit a wall. It’s probably a temporary wall, but it’s a wall, due entirely to America’s current economic crisis.

Thanks, all you people who couldn’t afford houses but insisted on buying them! Thanks, all you real-estate brokers for setting up deals you knew wouldn’t pan out! You guys are the best!

It’s not that I mind, y’know, working a “job” job; it’s just that I’m a bit rusty at that kind of thing, having been out of the non-freelance world for some time. And of course these pizzeria people put me on the schedule on one of two nights when I absolutely could not work: Wednesday, when the Walkmen were in town (the other being Thursday, when I’m doing a reading from my recently-published novel). And I wanted to give the Walkmen a copy of said novel, because I listened to their music constantly during my final year of work on it, and also because I know they’re literate guys, even though I don’t know them personally. I know they’re literate because I’ve repeatedly read that they’ve been writing a novel together. All of them. Collectively. Which, in rock & roll terms, makes them very literate. It makes them practically lit professors. Almost no rocker types read, let alone attempt to write novels, collectively or not.

Anyway, I go to work at the pizzeria, and something is wrong with my brain. I mean, I keep forgetting everything. I rush out the door without the address of the place where I’m supposed to deliver, only to discover I’m missing it fifteen minutes later, when the pizzeria calls to say, “Hey, do you know where you’re going? You can’t, because you left the bill here.” And I get lost. Repeatedly. I end up delivering one guy’s pizzas two hours late, because I can’t find his goddamned street, and he’s called the pizzeria to complain. I don’t remember to get someone else to sign her credit-card thing. I’m making mistake after mistake, and I just know I’m going to get fired after working only two days. And I surely will; I just haven’t heard about it yet.

Meantime, as I’m rushing about lost and forgetting everything, my friend Bryce texts me with: “You working tonight? I’m going over to see the Walkmen and I have a plus-one.” I text him back: “Yes, I’m fucking working.” He texts me again, from the show: “Wow, what a set of pipes.” (This refers to the tremendous voice of the Walkmen frontman, Hamilton Leithauser, which has to be heard live to be fully appreciated.) I text Bryce back: “Fuck you. Fuck off.”

Then, mercifully, my shift ends, and I decide I’m going to drive home, get a copy of my book, and drive over to the El Rey theater, where the Walkmen are playing, and give them that copy of my book, even if I didn’t get to see the show.

I charge down the freeway. I’ve almost never driven this fast. I’m driving like Steve McQueen in Bullitt. I park about three blocks from the El Rey and walk up. Bryce, amazingly, is outside the El Rey with two girls. It’s only amazing because Bryce is in front of the El Rey, not because he’s with two girls. Bryce is annoyingly handsome. Here’s a picture of him doing something very peculiar with a drumstick:

“Where’s the Walkmen?” I ask him.

“They were just here two seconds ago,” he says. “They were standing right here.”

“Where did they go?”

“I don’t know. I mean, literally, two seconds ago, they were all standing here.”

I explain my insane scheme to give them a copy of my novel. Then one of the two girls says, “Oh, hey, there’s the drummer.”

“Don’t look,” I say to them, immediately before walking over to the drummer, who’s getting into somebody’s car with cymbals underarm. I say “Don’t look” because I’m very embarrassed to be seen doing what I’m about to do. I mean, it’s so teenaged.

But I do it. I walk over to the drummer and say, “Hey, I just wanted to give you this,” and explain why. “I was listening to you guys like a motherfucker while I was working on it,” I say. “You’re even thanked in the back.” (Which they are, along with a hundred other people, including those who did real labor on the book, editing and proofreading and so on, as well as people who inspired me, even when in some cases I don’t personally know them.)The drummer seems almost touched, at first. He introduces himself.

“Matt,” he says.

“Duke,” I say. I know I should leave it at that, but I keep talking. As I say, something isn’t right with my brain. I don’t linger too long, but a transaction such as this one should be as brief as possible.

“We’ll read it,” he tells me. I hate the sound of that “we.” It sounds so impersonal, as if he knows I want the others to read the book as well, which I do, but still, who wants to feel like part of a targeted group instead of just himself?

I walk back to Bryce and the girls.

“I’m an idiot,” I say. “I fucked it all up.”

“Noooooooooo,” say the girls, meaning it, as girls, bless their hearts, often do by way of consolation.

“You’re just saying that,” I say, knowing they’re only consoling me.

The girls—or one of them—want to hang out. I don’t feel like hanging out. I have to wake up early to prepare for my reading. I haven’t done any preparation at all. Plus I have to run around like a maniac to collect a PA and set up the space and work out various other problems. This is a haphazardly organized reading.

Anyway, I’m inclined to go back to my car and go home and sleep, but somehow I’m talked into getting into Bryce’s car. There’s no good reason for this, except that one of the girls is insisting that Bryce will drive each of us to our respective cars, even though mine is only parked maybe three blocks away.

So Bryce drops off one of the girls, and I get out of his car to tell her good night. Then he drives me to mine. Then he drives off, and about fifteen blocks away, I check to see if I’ve gotten any text messages or the like, and realize I’m missing my phone. I know I had it outside the El Rey, because I checked it there as well. I stop the car and search it. My phone’s definitely MIA. I drive back to where my car was parked and look around on the sidewalk. Not there. It must have fallen out of my pocket in Bryce’s car, I decide, but I have no way of calling him.

But maybe I can call my own phone from a pay phone, and he’ll hear it ring and stop and find it. Then I realize that won’t work, since I stupidly set my phone to VIBRATE earlier in the evening.

I drive to Bryce’s house. He’s not there. I scribble a message and post it on his door, telling him to call me on my land line as soon as he gets home.Then, when I get home, I try to call a few people to see if they have Bryce’s number. I don’t, because it’s only on my phone.

Nobody picks up. It’s after one in the morning after all.

So now I sit, waiting to see if Bryce is going to call me before sunrise, and if he doesn’t, I guess I’ll have to cancel my phone service and buy a new phone. Except I can’t buy a new phone, not right away, because I’m so broke I have to work at a pizzeria, where I’m probably going to get fired anyway; and I need to speak to a hundred people first thing in the morning about this reading, and I don’t have half their numbers, which are all in my phone; and I don’t even have a working alarm clock anymore, because I’ve come to use my phone as my alarm clock; and I could conceivably have lost my phone not in Bryce’s car but when that first girl got out of the car and I got out to say good night, and I tried to search there but it was too dark to see; and somebody from Australia, say, might stumble on my phone before I manage to cancel my service and decide to call several friends in Australia and I’ll be liable for the bill; and Bryce is probably partying in one way or another with that girl who insisted that I get in his car for no good reason, and he won’t get the message I left on his door before that person from Australia has called everyone he knows Down Under so as to run up a $100,000 phone bill; and I made a fool of myself with Matt from the Walkmen, who’s going to display my novel to his bandmates (if I’m lucky) and say, “Some psycho gave me this thing after you guys left last night”; and the reading is going to be even more disorganized than it already is; and here I sit, still waiting for Bryce to call, with no other way to pass the time than to write about my fucked night and ridiculous life.

But what the hell. Might as well post the results, right? My contributions to TNB have so far amounted to one of two topics: early death and personal embarrassment. Here’s more of the latter. And seeing that I’m about to post without proofing, I may well have embarrassed myself further.

The perfect ending to a perfect day.

A reedited version of this piece appears in the nonfiction collection Subversia.

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D. R. HANEY is the author of a novel, Banned for Life, and a nonfiction collection, Subversia, the inaugural publication of TNB Books. Known to friends as Duke, he lives in Los Angeles.

4 responses to “Delivering Pizzas, Losing Phones, and Stalking the Walkmen: A Night in Hell”

  1. D.R. Haney says:

    Original comment thread:

    Comment by Irene Zion (Lenore’s Mom)
    2009-05-21 04:33:37
    I’ll bet you dropped your phone in Matt the drummer from The Walkmen’s car!
    Now he’ll call you and invite you to see them sing when you are free.
    They will have ALL read and liked your book and suggested it to others.
    Then you’ll start to hang out with them when they are in town.
    This is so very cool!

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-21 22:19:12
    Irene! (I love that we’re addressing one another with exclamation points.)
    In fact, the phone was in Bryce’s car, as I hoped it would be. He phoned me with the good news this morning.
    I wonder how many records, photographs, paintings, books and so on are given to the Walkmen and bands like them? Many, I’m sure. It’s a bit of an occupational hazard for all public figures, even when they’re unknown to the great unwashed.
    So the likely outcome is a variation on ye olde slush pile. But I prefer your version. Have you ever considered a side career as a soothsayer? I daresay it might prove profitable.

    Comment by Lenore Zion
    2009-05-21 07:35:16
    i just want to hug you. i’m sorry. you’re funny as hell, though.
    if the drummer guy judged you in any way, he’s an asshole and he needs to be humbled. i doubt that’s the case, cause they do make some pretty good music.
    that pizza gig is already starting to pay off in material….

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-21 22:51:44
    I could immediately tell that Matt was (and is) quality people, as if I’d ever thought otherwise. He’s a first-rate drummer, and the Walkmen have artistic integrity galore, and that kind of integrity is generally accompanied by (and often the result of) personal character. So I’d say the doubt you mention is more than justified.
    My biggest regret, and the reason I thought I’d “fucked it all up,” was that he sort of gave me an opportunity to meet him as a person, if you understand my meaning, but I let the opportunity slip by. I mean, I felt rushed and embarrassed, and knew I was imposing myself. But he probably understood.
    As to the hug you speak of wanting to give me, thanks. I’m currently tunneling through a tough passage (but aren’t we always?), so any and all sympathetic gestures are especially appreciated. And if the pizza gig doesn’t pay off in terms of material, it may already have paid off in free pizza.

    Comment by Agata
    2009-05-21 08:08:01
    OMG!!! What happened later?? Fascinating story!! (though I bet you would call it otherwise…) Hope you found your phone!!

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-21 23:01:26
    As written above, I did. Thanks.
    The funny thing is that a year and a half ago Bryce lost his phone at my house, so in that way I guess we came full circle.
    However, Bryce didn’t answer my phone as I did his when it was missing. I had a terrific time, pretending for a day to be Bryce when his phone rang. All I had to do was answer the thing and instantly the other party would start babbling away, so there was really no pretense needed on my part. I learned a few things about my friend’s daily life, or in any case his daily phone life. And he may have secretly learned a few things about me. He’s a quiet type, so I’ll never know for sure.

    Comment by Brad Listi
    2009-05-21 10:31:20
    This is great. I’m totally right there with you and would do the exact same thing. In fact, I once gave a copy of my book to Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips. He looked at it like it was some sort of alien creation and thanked me. I later found out that another writer friend once gave a copy of her book to Rivers Cuomo.
    I think there might be something to this. Pretty common that writers would draw inspiration from music as they work. (I know I do.) And if an album is particularly helpful, it sorta makes sense to at least give these people a copy of the novel. Logic.
    Anyway. Good stuff, Duke. Better to take the chance and roll the dice than sit around and wonder. Love it.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-21 23:35:18
    That “love it” means more to me than I’ll embarrass either of us by admitting.
    Oh, fuck it. It means a lot.
    I once read something to the effect of: “All art aspires to the condition of music.” What that was supposed to mean, I think, was that music is the most abstract of all the arts. To argue as much opens a huge can of worms, but if I were to interpret that paraphrased remark literally, I certainly aspire to a musical quality in everything I write. The sound of words, the shape of a sentence, the rhythm of a given paragraph — I’m always thinking, or trying to think, musically. And I’m sure the same is true of you.
    So what’s playing in the background has enormous significance; and like you, I almost always play music when I’m writing. So to give, or want to give, a band or a musician a copy of the result is exactly as you say: logic. I mean, the Walkmen are in my fucking book. I never cite them in the book itself (aside from the acknowledgments page), but they’re part of it.
    Bloody hell, man, let’s have a drink one day. We’re fucking neighbors, for Christ’s sake. Maybe the proposed TNB reading will provide a chance. I promise there will be no Cutty Sark on the premises.

    Comment by Rich Ferguson
    2009-05-21 10:31:55
    Great review, D.R. Plus, any night you get to drive like Steve McQueen in Bullitt is a hella rocken night in my book.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-21 23:41:34
    Steve McQueen, alongside Jean-Paul Belmondo and the vastly underrated Steve Cochran, is my favorite movie star — which is not to say actor. And if what you say is true — rocken night and so forth — I think I like your book. May I live in it permanently?

    Comment by josie
    2009-05-21 11:12:52
    Loved that last big ranting paragraph. I was nearly out of breath just reading it. I’m sorry if I giggled a time or two. I’m really sympathetic, really. Send a text to your phone asking the person who finds it to call you at your landline#. And good for you for stepping over your fear and offering up your book. I hope they all read it and mention it in their own book.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-21 23:51:41
    Don’t apologize for giggling. I was trying to make light of the situation by writing what I did. Misfortune is as much the soul of comedy as it is of tragedy, particularly when it’s misfortune of the petty sort. And a lost phone and a botched pizzeria job is definitely petty.
    As to ending up in the Walkmen’s novel, it’s a lovely idea, so long as it doesn’t read thusly:
    “One night, as Matt was walking to a friend’s car after playing a show in LA, a psycho approached him from the shadows with a huge book that he insisted Matt read. Matt had never been quite so shaken. He humored the psycho as best he could, and later, after perusing the psycho’s book and realizing its fundamental mediocrity, he began to laugh hysterically…”

    Comment by jonathan evison
    2009-05-21 14:15:24
    . . .funny stuff, duke! good luck at your reading tonight!

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-21 23:54:30
    The reading was a bit of a bust. But most readings are. And I do wish you’d take off those sunglasses. It’s disconcerting at night, Corey Hart be damned, as he surely is.

    Comment by N.L. Belardes
    2009-05-22 05:52:09
    Your piece is inspirational. We disheveled hopeless writers are more determined than heads of state for our cause.
    We don’t live with regrets like all the people out there who say they want to write a book, then make excuses.
    Your piece is a sample from a greater story. Folks who are sitting in their urban homes, in their comfy jacuzzis, with their perfectly boring lives would read your piece — or if it were a film — view it as a great movie. You’re living their adventure for them, no matter how tough things get on LA streets.
    It takes special people to embed in music scenes too. We’re like journalists in Iraq at times.
    I’m right there with you, man.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-22 12:48:35
    My God, man, thanks! Only yesterday, on my way to do this damned reading, I said to a friend, “There’s nothing remotely romantic about being a writer.” But you’ve somehow managed to convince me otherwise. I feel almost as if I just read a stirring passage by Emerson.
    It’s off the subject, and we haven’t really exchanged any words until now, but I was thinking of you last week. I drove up to Santa Cruz for a few days, and along the way I saw, for the first time, the site where James Dead died, and I briefly considered writing something about it for TNB. Then I thought of you, who’ve surely passed by that site many times (at the junction of 46 and 41), and I wondered what you’d think of such a piece.
    Weird, huh? Or maybe not.

    Comment by N.L. Belardes
    2009-05-22 20:29:06
    I’d love to read that piece. Write it, D.R!
    I have driven past that spot a lot going from Bakersfield to the coast. That entire highway is a goddam death trap.Too many people die on it in head-on collisions. I stopped taking it.
    After reading this piece I’m going to buy your book this next week and make sure to read anything you write. You capture the spirit of what it’s about: that legacy of words and print. The ability to make it happen through hardship and still breathe and thumb your nose at the corporate ladders that all have slippery golden rungs at the top.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-23 00:14:20
    Your reply has encouraged me about the Dean piece. I’ll put something together, when I have the chance.
    And what you say about that route retroactively scares me. I took it both on the way to Santa Cruz and the way back, and I have to admit that I left L.A. with the weird feeling that I could end up dead on the same road as James Dean while, ironically, trying to finally get a glimpse of it.
    I wonder if that happened to someone else? And I wonder if anyone ever drove to that spot to commit suicide? I can imagine something like that occurring.
    Hmmmm. I may have hit on an interesting short-story idea, or an anecdote in a novel.
    And speaking of novels, I feel honored that you’d want to read Banned. I belatedly posted a comment on your “Dead Generation” piece that it shared thematic concerns with Banned.
    What’s interesting to me is that I didn’t think this particular post pointed to those themes, but you’ve divined them. Then again, my entire life has been spent going against the grain, so it must be present in an occult way in words or actions where I can’t spot it.
    Apologies if I sound self-romanticizing. That isn’t my intent.

    Comment by N.L. Belardes
    2009-05-23 08:25:54
    I say self-romanticize. Why the hell not? We’re dreamers and rebels. It’s all good. I’m doing that in a speech I’m giving today. I have to go read what you wrote on the dead generation piece. I haven’t gone back to that in a while…

    Comment by Kip Tobin
    2009-05-22 09:27:22
    Fluid like silk in the wind self-immolation piece. Was with you all the way. Great stuff, sincerely.
    I like The Walkmen, even their Hundred Miles Off disc that sounds more like Bob Dylan than Bob does himself.
    I hope things turn up for you and America, cause you both can’t get too much lower before some kind of NB, minor or major. At least you have the novel to look forward to – right? My dad once gave me a golden piece of blue-collar wisdom: “Nothing is as good or as bad as it initially seems”.
    Mucha suerte con todo.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-22 13:00:58
    Oh, I’d say that America could go much lower, as could I. I lived in Serbia during and right after the Milosevic years, so I know how low a nation can go. And me — well, the threat of homelessness is always there.
    Of all the Walkmen records, I’d say A Hundred Miles Off is my least favorite. Yes, it does sound a bit like Dylan, as does Hamilton’s voice, oddly. I mean, it doesn’t at first, but the more you listen to it, the more Dylan creeps in.
    Have you heard the latest Walkmen record, You & Me? I think it’s something of a masterpiece.
    Oh, and your dad’s advice is golden, like a tonic for manic-depression. It’s thinking that everything is GREAT or AWFUL that so often leads to trouble, at least for me.
    Mucha suerte a usted tambien —

    Comment by Phat B
    2009-05-22 11:06:48
    I was IN LOVE with that song. Still am. Here’s a live version from David Letterman:
    I know screenwriters who give scripts to musicians, and I also know musicians who give CD’s to actors and models. It’s the old adage that all rock stars would rather be actors and all actors would rather be rockstars.
    I forget shit all the time. I blame the shit I forget for not being interesting enough to be remembered.
    Good stuff.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-22 13:13:47
    You stole the words right out of my mouth per “The Rat.” I’ve always said, and still say, that I’m in love with that song.
    I mean, I’m crazy about that song. I would buy that song a Porsche. I would fly it to Rome and Paris. I would place a diamond ring on its finger, if it had fingers.
    I saw the live version on Letterman and considered adding a link, but the beginning of the performance is a bit shaky, and I didn’t want the uninitiated to watch a few seconds and think, “Oh, this is no good,” and thus close the door on my gorgeous, beloved “Rat.”
    Thank God no musician has so far tried to hand me a script, but I would gladly accept one from — well, you know.
    Writing this has made an immediate listen of “The Rat” a necessity!

    Comment by Phat B
    2009-05-22 20:03:04
    I laid on the floor and listened to it 3 times after I read this piece. If you haven’t yet been handed a script by a rock star, try hanging out with comedians. Those guys are full of scripts.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-22 23:49:55
    The first time I heard the Walkmen do that song live, at a show in OC last year, I went fucking apeshit. I’d seen them a few times prior when they didn’t perform “The Rat,” despite numerous encores and people shrieking “‘THE RAT’! PLAY ‘THE RAT’! ‘THE RAAAAAATTTTT!’” It was as if they were torturing the audience. That song is like crack. Once it gets into your blood, you’re hooked.
    Oh, and comedians. I’ve known a few, but I never much liked their company, because I always felt like fodder for jokes. As is everything. Which is fair, I suppose, but they’ll kind of grab onto something and keep going with it till you want to slap them silly.
    But musicians, or rock & roll musicians, tend to be passive-aggressive mind-fuckers, always trying to create weird drama without acknowledging that’s what they’re doing, so I can’t say they’re necessarily better company. But at least with them I can talk about music, which obviously for me amounts to an obsession.

    Comment by Citizen Gurzog
    2009-05-22 18:59:05
    Mr. Haney,
    Unfortunately, I found your blog incredibly humorous. Apologies for extracting joy in your mishaps.
    Please write more. Ha!

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-22 23:29:10
    Citizen G:
    I’m glad you found it humorous. It is humorous. I mean, I didn’t think so when I was pounding the steering wheel of my car while lost, meantime screaming “I CAN’T SEE A GODDAMNED THING!” on darkened streets where the house numbers weren’t visible; or later, when I realized I’d lost my phone, berating myself and the (absent) girl who’d talked me into getting a three-block ride to my car (”I DIDN’T EVEN NEED A FUCKING RIDE! WHY DID I GET IN THAT FUCKING CAR?!”); but I certainly began to see the humor as I wrote this piece as therapy.
    So no apologies needed. And I will undoubtedly write more in a similar vein, considering my propensity for disaster.

    Comment by N.L. Belardes
    2009-05-22 20:35:03
    Oh, and bro I should add one other idea I was thinking about. I think one of the paybacks of any really smart band is to have the chance at immersing themselves in pop culture. Whether it’s film, TV, or mentioned in a story, pop culture can help solidify a band’s place in culture. Your book must be doing that in a way for the Walkmen. The Walkmen should appreciate the hell out of that. Or at least their manager and label should. Look at this post. It’s created a dialogue about this band you love that otherwise would never have existed. That’s free marketing. And says something about the cultural impact of the Walkmen’s music.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-23 01:13:01
    Yes, well. It goes both ways.
    I mean, I’m certainly aware that if the Walkmen, or one of them, read and liked Banned, it could lead to potential recommendations by an esteemed source. And I’m sure that Matt, when I gave him the book, was aware of it, too, and aware that I was aware of it.
    Still, it wasn’t a cynical move on my part. If I respond to an artist — a musician or a painter or a novelist or what-have-you — I figure it’s due to a shared disposition or temperament, so it seems natural, to me at least, to want to open a dialogue.
    Of course, there are a lot of crazy people with the same philosophy. I’m friendly with the (David) Lynch family, and I’ve seen firsthand some of the bizarre objects sent to Lynch pere by unbalanced fans.
    But I’m not a celebrity stalker. I take writing very seriously, and I’m grateful for every scrap of inspiration that helps me to write, and the ultimate expression of that gratitude is to make my sources aware of it. I’d leave a copy of my book at the grave of Kerouac, if I thought his bones could read it.
    But I’ve wandered from the point.
    I do fucking hope that maybe this post has created a new fan or two for the Walkmen. It seems to me unlikely, because I don’t carry much cultural weight, if any at all at this point.
    But maybe one day I will. And if I ever do, I hope it’s used in exactly this way: free marketing for gifted artists — especially those artists who moved or move me to want to do what I do in the first place.

    Comment by Ryan Day
    2009-05-23 03:55:46
    I love the Walkmen. I feel you on the missing concerts due to work… My work keeps me a five hour bus ride away from ever seeing a concert… Unless you count the student band that plays sweetly Chinesified Cranberries covers… Actually, I’ve grown to love them, too. Not quite the Walkmen, but one learns to make do.
    Great read.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-23 04:29:36
    I could never make do if every show I wanted to see was a five-hour bus ride away.
    My God! I see now how spoiled I am.
    And Cransberries covers? I’d be dead by now, a self-inflicted bullet to the brain. Which is already damaged to begin with.
    Bless you, my son.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-23 07:13:31
    As I was about to crash after yet another long, weird night, I remembered this, a clip to another great Walkmen song:
    Their label hasn’t yet disabled the sound.
    Heed the lyrics, particularly at around the 1:45 mark.
    Ah, yes. The seemingly-lost art of writing great lyrics hasn’t been entirely lost just yet.

    Comment by master of lightning
    2009-05-24 05:58:23
    So what was the end story? Did you find your phone? Your article seemed clean, I didn’t find a typo.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-24 08:56:37
    Oh, there’s probably one somewhere in there. I can’t write anything without at least one typo or a syntactical tangle of one kind or the other.
    And the phone was found, though it hasn’t rung in a while, so possibly it’s now broken. I think I’m going to check to see.

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-24 09:18:14
    I checked the phone, and it works, and there was a message from the pizzeria saying that there “won’t be any more shifts” for me.
    Is that the new way for people to get fired? I mean, instead of saying “You’re fired,” do they try to rephrase it in a “nice” way? Or is that just Californese?
    Ah, well. It’s as I expected. And it at least made for a funny story.

    Comment by Rachel Pollon
    2009-05-26 20:03:28
    Wow, thanks for turning me on to The Walkmen. I’d heard of them, but hadn’t heard them. I can see how this would be great music to write to.
    Great post on a lost night that many of us have had in some form or another but haven’t written about yet but now want to. (When I say “us” I mean “me.”) Fun to go on the journey with you. Glad you found your phone and I’m here to tell you I imagine that the writing jobs will be coming back for you.
    Oh, wait — Duke is such a great name. Why don’t you use it?

    Comment by D.R. Haney
    2009-05-26 21:16:28
    Yes, I’ve been told by others that I should. It’s a nickname. I don’t use it for reasons that I’ll clarify one day in a blog.
    Meantime, I’m glad to have alerted someone to the Walkmen. I’ve made it something of a mission over the last few years. Bryce, for instance, wasn’t too keen on them at first, but I was such a fan that he eventually got their first record and — well, since he was at the show, you can tell how that worked out.
    So when are you going to write something about a personal day (or night) of disaster? Please do. And I’ll certainly be writing more of the same to hopefully further inspire you. And thanks for the encouraging words about future writing jobs. I might just initiate a prayer circle.
    As a side note, I dropped by the pizzeria this evening to pick up my pay, and the cook, who was on duty during my night in Hell, couldn’t have been cooler. I told him there’s an account of it here, so, Ricky, if you read this, here’s a shout-out!

  2. […] He’s fascinated by Charles Manson.  Also punk rock. […]

  3. Sidney Peck says:

    Can you hear me now? Ha! I’m kind of fading (no reflection on your piece), so I didn’t read all of the comments, but I have a feeling that wherever your phone landed, it missed your crazy-in-a-good way rants. As always, this leaves me waiting with bated breath for your next TNB appearance. Well, maybe not bated, but you get the idea.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Hey, I was just reviewing some of my old posts and saw this comment for the first time, and I’m remembering that I posted a link to it on Twitter when the Walkmen disbanded. It’s very old, and actually, I think it’s the only true rant that’s made its way into an essay, of sorts. Anyway, I’m glad you liked it. It was a defining piece for me, in a strange way. I mean, the writing’s not that great, but it got a reaction from readers that encouraged me to write more.

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