I'm sick. So sick I didn't go to work. I went to sleep last night about 10.
Sleep was awful. I woke up at 5:20 and checked my phone. Saw the alerts about Las Vegas. I'm officially tired of all this winning.
And now we learn Tom Petty has died.
Almost exactly 36 years ago -- Sept. 23, 1981 -- I saw Petty at Reunion Arena in Dallas with my brother and one of my best friends. It was a great show.
The concert was six hours away from our college town. We drove in that Wednesday, saw the show, came back the next day. Killed Chuck's car on the return trip, a hilarious story in its own right.
The next day, four of us were in another car, headed for Jackson, Miss., via New Orleans. Steed's car had only one cassette in it ... "Damn The Torpedoes." We wore it out.
I'm kind of burying the lede here. "The Waiting" is a song that literally changed my life.
When I met M, we were living a country apart. As we fell for each other -- and yes, I know this is cheesy, but bear with -- we did typical young couple things, like have touchstones.
One was Tom Petty's "The Waiting." Because when you're in a long-distance relationship, there's a lot of waiting. The song fit our situation. (BTW: We have two coffee mugs now with lyrics from this song on them.)
When we finally met face-to-face, it was fraught with tension. What if it didn't work?
It seemed like it might not.
We got into an argument. To blow off steam, she was on roller blades, I was on my bike, and we rode along the beach. Together, but apart. (This is my interpretation, maybe hers is different.) There was a lot of concern. It didn't seem like we were going to be able to accomplish this massive thing of our relationship. We lived 3,000 miles apart. There was the age thing. Different -- WILDLY different -- backgrounds.
We stopped for a moment, at Redondo Pier. Frustrated. Pessimistic.
Music is a soundtrack. I think all of us have songs that take us back to certain times, situations.
There were some shit bars at the pier. One of them had a live band. In the distance, we heard them play the opening notes of "The Waiting."
I'll never forget the look on M's face when that happened. Never.
It was kind of an epiphany. The story's so corny no one would ever pitch it to a Hollywood studio. But it really happened.
We were in LA and wanted to catch a show of his at the Hollywood Bowl. We drove right by it as the show got going but decided not to go. They were in Boston a couple of months ago and we passed again. Regrettable. My brother saw him a few months back, said it was a great show.
Thanks for everything, Tom.