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Forgive It All


No news is good news, and a cursory check of recent headlines would seem to back this. Kooks running amok. Some dude in France runs down eighty-plus revelers in his truck. Cops shooting people and people shooting cops. Turkey in turmoil. Britain divided. And two of the most unlikable candidates in U.S. presidential history. I’ve been avoiding both headlines and something called a “heat dome” which has settled over New York City by retreating to San Francisco. Here it is July-cool with frequent fog in the evenings and easily accessed dry summer heat just a short drive away. Yes, the city has changed but I still know a few folks. I took off to Tahoe for a bit as a birthday-gift and it was even nicer up there. This is the lesson learned: you can alter neither the world nor the headlines, so manage your own. Be very good to those closest to you and gentle with those beyond. And, whenever possible, avoid traveling on the weekends.

I ran into a bear up at Tahoe. “Ran into” might not be the most accurate way of putting it — he (going with gender-assumption here) clawed the screen off the open side window of the cabin while I lay sleeping on the couch just below. This sort of thing wakes you up in a hurry. He then stuck his head in the window, up on all fours against the side of the house. When he pulled back for a split second I reacted quickly and slammed the sliding window shut left to right. This was enough to frighten him off and I don’t think it was until that instance, seeing him moon-lit and scurrying away, that I put together what had happened. I did some research the next morning and discovered that maulings by black bears are very rare, unless you get between a mother and her cubs. But none of this matters when an animal of this size sticks its small-refrigerator-sized head inside your personal domicile and snorts a few times.

Prior to traveling to Tahoe I’d caught Mudcrutch at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Mudcrutch is Tom Petty’s reunited pre-Heartbreakers band and the cover of their second album shows two bears squaring off. Or perhaps it’s two guys in bear suits. In either case, this bear theme was carried over to the posters made for the event at the famed venue, and I’d brought mine up to Tahoe to put up on the cabin wall. So it all ties together .. album cover, poster, bear sticking head in window. Maybe he just wanted a closer look at the artwork. Mudcrutch is a solid band and Petty is a good songwriter. Some people tend to underrate Petty, likely because he’s had strong commercial success and he’s from the (American) south. I tend not to like these people, nor do I care for the type of music “they” generally prefer. (Think David Byrne in a big suit making choppy motions up and down his forearm.) But that’s OK and to each his own. Life is too short and you never know when a bear is going to stick his head in the window.

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