Shit, mate.

I haven’t used this site in a long time. In fact, a lot of you that are “new” friends would never have even seen this before and for the past few years I’d actually hidden the old posts because, well. I guess there was a history that I wanted to bury. It doesn’t seem fair now to make this new post and leave that all covered, so feel free to go back and see what a wreck I was when I was unemployed and in probably the darkest period of my adult life. Or don’t.

 

So why now? Why the fuck am I posting this ?

James Lee died last week.

I last saw James in 1999, the year after we graduated high school.  We’d both left our respective shit hole towns that we grew up in and moved to the capital of Western Australia to begin a new adventure in no-longer-needing parents. I moved in with a friend of the family, and James moved into a small apartment by himself in a nearby suburb.  We’d meet up in the city and go wandering around the various record stores, or hang out at his place and just listen to music. Some of you who are friends with me on Facebook would have noticed tonight that I was playing an awful lot of shit from the 90s. During our final trip I remember being at the train station and this haggard piece of shit came up to us and said “Hey, you guys want to buy some Nod” and then nodded as if to get us to do the same, “What?” we asked. We had no idea what the fuck Nod even was. We were two kids from the country where weed was the probably the hardest, and most common, drug. Another kid we went to school with once bragged about taking “trips” but we’d never heard of Nod. “Nod” he said again, still nodding. “No”  we replied later finding out that this fucker was trying to sell us Heroin. After that we went home, James to his apartment, me to my replacement family.

James introduced me to ‘LIVE’ and lent me their latest CD ‘Throwing Copper’ back in ’94. I somehow lost that CD and ended up having to buy him a new copy and got myself one at the same time. I bought my wife a copy of that CD just last year. Being teenagers in the 90s in garbage backwater farming towns there wasn’t really much to do and listening to music and smoking was a way to pass the time. We’d hang out in a granny flat out the backyard of his parents place and drink beer, listen to tunes, lose weekends. James is the reason I even got into grunge and rock’n’roll.  There’d be times where I’d walk from school to his place and hear him playing drums from a block away. The guy was brilliant.  I really hope he kept that going.

We weren’t popular kids in high school but we weren’t scrubs either. We were, I guess, dorks, but cool enough to get away with it. We were weird, but in a charming sort of way where we got away with it. I think people still see me like that, and I’m alright with it if that’s the case.  The friends I’ve got now are comparable to the ones I had then. They’re all good people and I love them a lot.

I remember James getting into an ‘altercation’ with another kid when we were about 15, maybe 16. This little fucker just walked right up to James and sucker punched him in the jaw. James an I are, were, about the same height. I’m a bees dick away from being 6 foot. I often joke that I’m fairly lazy, and I’m 5’11 because I couldn’t be fucked getting to 6′. At the time James just took it. Stood his fucking ground and this kid whacked him one, hard enough to flick James’ head to the side, but he didn’t move. Not one inch. And this kid just walked off. He probably knew if he stuck around he was going to get fucked up. A day later that same kid went back up to James, told him he was impressed with it and they never had a problem after that. I don’t even know why that kid did it.

I left WA in 2000 and in doing so never heard from James ever again. I lost touch with a bunch of people and started life again. Met my wife that same year. I’d think about James every now and then, tried to find him a few years later but could never find a number. Mobiles weren’t all that popular and social media wasn’t really a thing like it is now so keeping in touch took effort.

It wasn’t until a couple of years after getting Facebook that I’d heard from a girl I went to high school with that was in our little group of tolerated freaks that I’d be reminded that James was out there and the news wasn’t good. From rumours it seemed as though he’d developed some mental health issues and, I’ll be honest, I was too wrapped up in my own shit to reach out. I was scared that the guy I knew would be completely different, not remember me. I had thoughts that maybe he’d gotten himself into something harder and that had messed him up. Nod, perhaps. I wondered if I got in touch that he’d be a junkie, or so totally fried that I couldn’t bare to have a conversation with him about the Good Old Days of high school. I could never get a straight answer on what was wrong with him and I never had the courage to find out myself. Last week that same girl told me that James was dead.

He was my best friend and I’m sorry.

 

Now this post is probably going to make a few of you go “Wow, my problems don’t seem so bad compared to this” and I want you to push those thoughts aside. If you’re reading this it’s probably because you got the link off Facebook, and if that’s the case then I consider you a friend and I care about you. I want this post to be a reminder that your problems are important, and that even though other people have issues that you shouldn’t ignore those problems. Instead what I want you to do is have the courage to talk about those issues with your friends, with me and if you have friends who have problems have the courage to talk to them and make sure they’re ok.

Thanks for reading.

Drink more water.

 

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