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March 18th, 2003

On being put in an uncomfortable position [Mar. 18th, 2003|10:37 am]
Okrzyki, przyjaciel!
So, to tell this story I have to change things to protect the guilty and the innocent. I live in a small town, so in the unlikely event this account gets back to the principles, I have to at least avoid blurting out their names. Everyone in town certainly knows all about this already...

The characters are a local DJ, who I'll call Ed, and the Record Store Man. What happened: Ed tried to boost a bunch of CDs from the Record Store. Now Ed has bought a lot of his records from Record Store Man over the past 5 or 6 years. Record Store Man has cut Ed loads of breaks over the year, and this did not go down well at all. So Record Store Man gives Ed a choice: either let him (i.e. Record Store Man) go through Ed's records and take whatever he wants, or face felony shoplifting charges.

So Record Store Man comes over to Ed's house. Ed offers him a large box of records, which were nothing special. Record Store Man demands to go through all of Ed's records. Ed complies, and Record Store Man takes all of Ed's Moodyman records, including ones Ed got on EBay for way too much money. Ed protests that these are his jams, that he can't live without them. Record Store man says 'fine, keep the records, go to jail.' This goes back and forth until Record Store Man says 'you have a count of ten' and Ed gives up the record on 'one.' Ed is at this point near tears, and Record Store Man says 'OK. By the way, you're banned for life from my store.'

Last night, I went down to what we laughingly call a 'club night' -- I knew everyone there, and we could have all fit in my Dodge Caravan; but if the guy that owns the bar wants to open up his club for 7 people to drink green beer, I'm down. Ed comes in. Now this whole debacle has had plenty of time to percolate through what passes for 'the scene' here in town, so when Ed walks in he totally gets the cold shoulder. No one will talk to him. I've been friends with Record Store Guy for 15 years, so I'm not going to initiate conduct.

Ed comes up and sits down next to me, and spills the whole story, says he did a horrible thing, he feels terrible yadda yadda. He's done something that has gotten him completely ostracized by everyone in town whose opinion he values. He's seeing a psychologist, he's having suicidal feelings, he wants me to tell him how to "regain people's trust."

So I try and tell him whatever I know that would pass for wisdom in this situation -- that this is the lesson he should have gotten when he was 5 years old stealing candy, that he's going to have to straighten his shit out if he wants anyone to respect him, that he should probably give up the weed and copious amounts of beer he consumes ... basically gave him the old 'yer at a crossroads' speech that sounds so lame coming out of anyone's mouth, let alone a dumbass like me.

Which is all just background to the real topic here, which is of course me. Everyone I talked to in town said "That dumbass Ed finally went over the line, I never liked him that much anyway, serves him right if he never gets booked to play in town again ..." but my reaction is to feel a lot of sympathy for the guy. He's basically fucked himself royal -- he was tolerated in town, and respected for his DJ'ing, at least somewhat; now whatever respect or trust he had is completely gone. And this is a guy for whom being 'down with the scene' was a major source of his self worth. And to top it off, Record Store Man took away his "Shades of Jae."

I really do wish him well, but he seems so ill-equipped to deal with the world. And I don't particularly like having someone completely spill their guts to me; at least not someone I don't really have a friendship with. At the same time I don't understand why everyone else sees the whole thing as so clear cut ... maybe they were already not that crazy about Ed, and this incident just seals the deal. But ... I dunno. I see a basically good soul who fucked up. I can't rescue him but my first impulse is to try.

Of course I already have 2 kids, and this guy has parents, so I'm hoping they help him get his shit together; I hate to judge but I wouldn't give them a passing grade as parents, given where he's at now.
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