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27 Jul


It was a ridiculous time. Life was unkind. It’s a period of your life when you explicitly remember certain details but so much is a blur of the person you became. The details still haunt me. I was poor as a church mouse’s pagan nephew. I tried really hard to be grateful for my crappy job as security at minimum wage but it was, as I said, crappy. I was afraid. I was weak. I knew 2 people in all of Los Angeles. Oh yea, and every morning I woke shaking from drug withdrawals. It was that, ok I’m gonna say it, Karen Carpenter time when I had stopped the destructive behavior but my poor skinny body and broken spirit might not be strong enough to make it through the next day.

I had been Auntie Luscious queen of the Village of East and now I was telling folks to use the bathroom one at a time and trying desperately to ignore the sound of them snorting delicious lines of cocaine when they disobeyed me. Yes, I was jealous but also regretful, ashamed, embarrassed, and a whole cornucopia of words whose meanings you pray not to learn first hand. To say “life sucked” is like calling Chernobyl, Guantanamo and The Kardashians unpleasant.

I wish to say that by bravado, esprit de coeur or just holding on for dear life I managed to not act upon any of the disparaging thoughts that riddled my head. But in fact, my survival may very well have hinged on something as simple as a club: Alternative Mondays at Rage. (I’ll pause while you giggle.) I looked forward to Mondays like Christmas, like Fleet Week, like I had paced for my dealer to show up. Friday night’s tears would be pushed away thinking about the fun I’d get to have in 3 days. The things we tell ourselves in the wee hours tend to seem ridiculous in the light of day but that only makes them more powerful.

I would take the bus into West Hollywood. Dance till midnight. Drink 1 beer for $2. Dance till they tossed us out and then bus it back. All in all a $5 extravagance that was nothing less than a lifebuoy in a shit sea. I had found my people, my music. I was raised on Rock! Zeppelin, Doors, Eagles, then Crüe, Halen, we can argue about Journey later, then Nirvana, Hole and Green Day, argue later, the point is I was never a techno dance boy and not quite a mosher but I could jump up and down to an electric guitar like nobody! So that is exactly what I did every single Monday. I danced out my frustration. I slammed out my fear. I flailed out my fortune. And I made some friends. I was alive on Mondays and it was enough.

I hope this story seems silly to you. I hope you have never had to make up a reason to live. Would I be writing this if in the haven of West Hollywood I hadn’t found a reprieve from the pain? A people? A safe place and time? Years have passed since then and I am thankfully not the same person. I still, however, jump up and down to a slamming guitar. I still remember to live one Monday at a time. I am still grateful for West Hollywood. And I am probably one of the few people who can literally say: last night a DJ saved my life. That, even to me, is ridiculous.

David LeBarron
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