September 14, 2011
that's a friend
Originally published September 23, 2003
I remember the last time I played guitar with Steve Hamby. I began to carry on and change the words to something that we had performed many times together and he just started laughing. "Smith, you can be a real asshole sometimes," he said. "But I've never in my life met a more perfect asshole than you are." I gave him a High Five for that one.
So here is a notification to all you people who call me an "asshole" and believe that you're leaving an insult. You're not. My best friend called me an asshole right before he died. Hell, he was an asshole, too, in his own way. Maybe that's why we got along so well. I really believe that people with elevated asshole quotients make the best friends.
Especially if they play guitar. That's a realm where you can REALLY explore assholery.
And sometimes, through it all, you discover that you love that asshole you played guitar with more than you love yourself. Steve has been gone since February. Tonight, I wish he was here to do "Cherokee Fiddle" one more time. I wish that he was sitting on my couch and telling me those deadpan jokes he did so well that always cracked me up. I wish that I could harmonize on "Fox on the Run" with him again again.
But, as my 92 year-old grandmother will tell you today, "Wish in one hand and shit in the other, then see which one fills up first."
I can still wish. I just don't expect them to come true anymore.
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