Showing posts from February, 2023

The Time I Lit The School On Fire

There was a time in my life when I listened to music. Then it ended. After that, any music I encountered was more or less garbage. As decades pass, I’ve become a grumpy old man about it. New music actually angers me—it literally puts me in a sour mood. Perhaps it’s because at age forty-five, you enter that phase in life when pop culture no longer pertains to you. The zeitgeist of film and music isn’t producing works considering you as its target audience. The arts have moved on—and whatever you think of it no longer matters. It’s sort of like alcohol. You see a bottle of Crown Royal in your pantry and consider having a glass, remembering fondly the way it used to make you awesome. Instead, it just puts you to sleep. Music once mattered a lot. As a kid, it probably ranked number three or four in my list of importance, somewhere behind girls or sports and maybe clothes when I got less fat. Music mattered for young people the same way grownups get riled about politics. It’s an expression

The Demon

We lost Tyler Weigel to suicide when we were forty-two. He posted online in April of 2020 that his mom had recently passed away from a stroke. This was early pandemic and we were all very much still hunkered down. I spotted the post, and suddenly remembered Tere Weigel, his mom, and what she looked like. How (as a sculptor) she stored many of her distinctive pieces around their house; I had stared at them on the many occasions I had come over to play in seventh grade. So on that day, I sent Tyler my condolences, despite not having seen or spoken to him since 1996, the year I left Seattle. Five days later, through social media posts, I learned that Tyler, too, had died. The next memory came quickly. It was a cool autumn night in 1990 near Concordia Lutheran School  –  where we both attended  –  in the North Seattle suburb, Wedgwood. I wrote about it in his memoriam:   In seventh grade, I was new at a school across town. One night playing neighborhood football, Tyler Weigel took me aside