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Gyro's Tips on Driving Music
A semi true tale of bad advice, late night driving, and great music.
This week’s comic spins a tale about one of the pals from my misspent youth.
More about this below the comic.
My pal “Gyro” was a good ginger catholic boy in as much as James Joyce, Brendan Behan, Dylan Thomas or Jim Carrol were. In his youth, there wasn’t one illegal substance with which he hadn’t tried at least once.
But aside from the inebriation and the drug use, Gyro was (and still is as far as I know) a near genius. A straight “A” student who could read Gödel, Escher, Bach and absorb every word of that dense convoluted book while he was high on mushrooms .
Of course if he was given a test on it, he had to take the test equally high so that he’d have the proper recall.
Gyro became part of our group of friends in our Junior year of high school. Not that we actually went to the same high school. He and a couple other buddies attended the Catholic high school in Elmira were his parents foolishly thought it would keep him out of trouble.
Apparently his parents never noticed that his older brother was one of the biggest pot heads in the town of Big Flats.
But I guess as long as he kept up the straight A’s his parents turned a blind eye. Parents were funny that way back in the 1970s.
After high school I floundered for two years in community college while I also played in various lousy bands. My parents then pushed me to go further with college and suggested I go away to school. My guess is they suggested this to protect their own sanity since burying my body in the back yard might prove problematic.
I took their advice and spent a failed year at SUNY Buffalo, a school I chose simply because the bars in Buffalo closed at 4AM.
On reflection, this being the deciding factor probably should have landed me into a rehab program instead of college. But hey, the hubris of youth, am I right?
It was after this hellish first year that I learned that Gyro also went to SUNY Buffalo.
One night at a bar during summer break, I relayed to him how that year at UB was a nightmare of alcohol abuse and living on campus. While I loved the art program, I hated the dorms and the constraints they involved. I have to admit, I’ve always been a loner. Living in a place that was designed like a hive for drones didn’t site well with the lone wolf in me.
Gyro suggested he and I should give a shot at living off campus.
Being that he was one of the smartest and funniest guys I knew, I considered it a sound plan.
And so come late summer, Gyro and I packed up our belongings into my 1972 Mercury Monterey, that I purchased for $200, and off we travelled to Buffalo. Thankfully the car made it there and lasted almost another full six months. Although one by one, the doors of that car would fail to open, until eventually the only way in was by crawling through the driver’s side window.
Rust has so badly corroded the frame that the car started sagging like a swayed back mule. It was equally as ornery in its performance.
Finally the car died on the way to class one day, mid-intersection. I pushed it into the parking lot of a closed down old pancake house, removed the plates, gave it the sign of the cross, and walked away as inconspicuously as possible.
Which reminds me, is there a statute of limitations on dumping a car? I mean it’s been 40 years so I should be in the clear, right?
Phew, a quick Google search says I’m in the clear…unless there was a body in the trunk. But I’m pretty sure I checked for that when I bought the heap.
Anyways, back to the Gyro story….
Once we were in Buffalo we looked in a local penny saver and found a house off campus that had a couple rooms to rent. The rent for each of us was $100/month. This was perfect since that didn’t cut too much into our beer money, or Gyro’s drug funds.
When we stopped by to meet the landlord and inspect the house, it all seemed pretty reasonable. Sure the place was a bit of a dump, but it was centrally located near the campus and all the bars.
We probably should have been more curious as to why the Landlord rushed us to sign the lease and then ran out the door.
But we would soon learn what kind of hijinx waited for us in this house.
And that is a story to be continued in another post.
As for the truth in this comic, yes, it actually happened. It took place when we were back from college during a break.
One night after bar hopping, a completely blotto Gyro decided that driving on the old rail line in Big Flats was, in some acid-fueled fantasy, a short cut to his parent’s home.
However he forgot that years ago the bridge that went over Guthrie Run creek was torn down. So as he put it, “There I was, really getting into Jerry Garcia’s guitar work, and next thing you know, I’m underwater and listening to Casey Jones glub glub it’s way into oblivion!”
Thankfully it was summer and the creek was only a couple feet deep.
I know said Gyro was a genius, but even the smartest of folks can get swept up by a captivating melody.
I hope you enjoyed the comic and story. Hopefully Gyro will get a laugh out of it as well.