I found out that a childhood friend died today. He didn't die today, I found out he died, today. He actually died in July. That is me and he on Santa's lap in NYC Circa 1976. I am on the right. Our moms were buddies back in '69 in Boulder, Colorado. That was back when there was only one street light in Boulder at Baseline and Broadway. At least, that is what I think. We were kids at the time. We thought Flagstaff was our mountain and as much as it mattered, it was.
My mom decided to move to NYC in about '75 and her friend from Boulder, Margaret decided to move too. They were both single moms with a boy each. Brian and me. We lived on the same block in Boulder, 6th and Marine. Anyway, my mom and I moved to the West Village into a little one bedroom rent controlled apartment on w12th and w4th st. My mom's sister snuck out and we snuck in. Brian and Margaret moved somewhere like... East 10th and 1st ave or something like that. Brian and I were best, if not only, friends. We got into all kinds of innocent trouble together and I want to let you know that the Violent Femmes and the Talking Heads weren't the only ones tearing up the east Village under Ed Koch's nose.
Brian was diabetic. I think that is what eventually killed him. Being diabetic, he was always flush with hypodermics. I used to get syringes from him to play with. I know, it sounds weird, but don't let the stigma of the syringe dilute the joys of squirting. Anyway, I enjoyed playing with the syringes. Shooting lighter fluid and setting it on fire, squirting invisible streams of water at kids across the classroom...regular stuff. But I have to say that one of the craziest jokes I have ever played was with my old dead pal Brian Paul Beidelman. We filled up a few syringes with Tobasco sauce and injected oranges that were outside the Korean deli. We thought it would be so funny when someone took a big slice of orange and burned their face off with Tobasco sauce. We prolly injected 20 oranges and went home and laughed.
I remember one time when I was coming home from his apartment in my Grace Church School uniform (blue Oxford, blue and red striped tie, Penny loafers or maybe Wallabees)). I got on the 14th st bus heading west from 1st Ave. I was trying to pull my bus pass out of my pocket when all of the sudden 3 or 4 syringes fell on the floor right in front of these little old ladies in the front few seats. They were horrified. I remember picking them up and thinking to myself, "if they only knew that I was only using them to inject Tobasco into oranges and not to do heroin..."
And the fire crackers we used to be able to get! Holy Shite! Brian and I managed to find our twelve year old, green-down-vest wearing ways into these funky mafia back rooms in Little Italy around the 4th of July, where we could buy Pineapples (1/2 stick of dynamite) for $4.00! One thing we did was to take a cigarette, break off the butt, stick the fuse of a M80 or a blockbuster into it and light it. We would put it in a garbage can or something and sit across the street on a stoop and wait. I remember shitting bricks one time when a little old lady came crawling by. I was so scared that it was going to blow and she would have a heart attack. Fortunately she made it down the block before the top of the garbage can blew 15 ft up in the air and crashed down on the sidewalk.
Memories of my relationship with Brian Paul are perfect Jim Carol and Mark Twain. We were a real team. Two 11 year olds fresh from Boulder, both with single moms, living in NYC feeling it out, getting in trouble, having fun.
Not that anyone reads this but the Boulder paper's obituary said any donations to the American Diabetes Association would be nice. (I paraphrase)