Archive for September, 2003


Thursday, September 4th, 2003

My dad is actually a superhero. His existence is shrouded in mystery, his real name is known only to him, his superhero name, Richard Williams, is an uncommonly common one, but better than “The MusicMan” or “SuperConductor”, which are both also taken. He is modeled on the greatest of the superheroes, the Greek superheroes, drawn to the dark side and riddled with myth surrounding his origin and his adventures. But, y’know, that’s what makes him a superhero.

One aspect to being a superhero is having an alter-ego. My dad’s alter-ego is found only when it’s just you and he, sitting in a car or having a glass of wine, and there is mostly silence around you. This is when Clark Kent comes out. In music, the two most important things are melody and silence, and my father is appreciating the latter in these moments. He sometimes shuts down and responds to what you ask him with shy grunts and muttered asides. I like the alter-ego, as much or more than the superhero.

But the superhero side of my dad is the part that most people know. That’s the part of him that is the party-host, the symphony-conductor, the executive-producer. I have a thousand stories about my dad, but my favorite is being in the car with him on the way to a performance and a train is delaying our arrival by twenty minutes. We were already late and I pointed this out to my dad and he looked at me and smiled and said, ‘they can’t start without me…’

Where some flighty superheroes have a cape and tights, my dad has a tie and tails. Sure, he can’t fly, but when he stands in a doorway and smiles in your general direction, every single person at that end of the room thinks he has smiled at only them. He can’t leap over tall buildings, he can’t deflect bullets, but he does seem to have a thousand lives and no matter what is done to him, it doesn’t seem to kill him.

He is a natural leader of men, the kind of person who, even when being given orders, will only follow them out of an active acquiescence. He’ll do what you say, but only because it’s what he would have decided to do anyway. When he is given the reins, suddenly everything starts magically happening. He is a man of a thousand ideas, and the right way that these ideas should be implemented. When you consider where he came from and where he is now, it is laughable to think that this is anything other than a superpower.

Some others have a fortress of solitude or a batcave, but not Richard Williams. He has a spanish style villa that affords him both solitude, should he need it, and a temperature controlled wine cellar, which is his only use for a cave. Otherwise, the house is designed for maximum celebrations, should they be necessary. Sure, he has a studio, far removed from the house, but there is also a pool, a bocce ball court, a full wine list, gourmet dinners, and a constant parade of lovely fascinating artistic people.

His flaws have cost him dearly, just like all real heroes. He doesn’t get Christmas with his family, he doesn’t get daily emails from his kids, he has struggled with all of us, often having to put up with years of silence. But he has done what so few heroes have the guts to do. He has looked in the face of the man he used to be, he has decided to stop being that man, he has asked me to forgive him for that, and he has done all of this without ever losing his heroism.

He is an epic man, a man who makes wide sweeping continental mistakes and huge gorgeous gestures of charity. He is a man who wants to buy you a car, but doesn’t want to lend you a hundred dollars. What the hell is heroic about a hundred dollars? Have a car! He is a man who has found a devotion to his family that exceeds a thousand fold his past apathy, and he has found love where once he was incapable.

I feel my dad in me, always. Every time people look to me to solve a problem, every time I jump in and say, ‘How about this, this’ll work’ and people follow, every time someone makes fun of my chest hair, I feel his blood in my blood. As I look down the shotgun barrel of marriage and children, knowing that I have failed in the past, I hope that I can learn from who my father is now, and pass some of that heroism on to my kids.

More Yoga

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2003

I’ll say this, when you are doing Yoga and you start thinking to yourself, “Man, this is boring and really damn hard” and then your arms start quaking even though it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything, at least if you just hold on and wait a minute, at least then, nothing else happens.

That’s the nice thing. Your sort of stuck in a position that you would normally only do if, say, you dropped something on the far side of a porcupine and you had to pick it up without moving your feet or if, say, you were submerged in water up to your mid thigh and your arms were tied to your ankles and you were trying to breathe, but then, y’know, more *nothing* happens. You just stand up and salutate or whatever and then bend more.

It makes my knees hurt as well. The price I pay for being skinny.

Steve And Deb

Monday, September 1st, 2003

Despite a few really bad schedule problems, we had a great weekend with Steve and Deb.

This might look like all Deb does is yap and yap. I mean, I’m just saying that this might look like that.

Seeing Steve is just outrageously great. At one point we were laughing so hard that I inhaled a piece of twizzler and felt bad for two hours. Steve was a freshman in college when I met him, and the one thing I noticed about him was that the funniest thing said at any social event was said by him, and that is still true. He makes me laugh until I have to rub my cheeks down and catch my breath.

Steve, Mac and I developed one of those Carolina friendships that seem to happen to so many of my friends. Each of my close guy friends has one or two other guys from Carolina that they will love deeply for the rest of their lives. Ian has about eleven, but he was at Carolina for 15 years or something, so that makes sense.

The best thing is how hard the girls on our lives try not to find me, Mac and Steve funny. They mostly try to be disgusted when we start fighting with our stomachs or farting, but for some reason, they keep coming back for more. Maybe it’s because Steve looks like Dave Matthews…