Joan Baez is on PBS tonight, Diamonds and Rust, 75 years old, can that be right? Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Tangled Up in Blue, which brings us to the Bob Dylan Republican. There’s a soft spot in my heart for the BDR. Some people don’t appreciate him, jealousy perhaps, low self-esteem, no sense of humor, I’m not sure. I like the BDR. He’s funny and smart. He read A Gulag Archipelago when he was 22 or 23 still in Maine Maritime, amassing demerits. He explained it to me. I won’t embarrass either of us by telling you how old I was. People would argue the point, I loved the BDR’s intellect, his gift of unguarded confidence.
I congratulated him when he made Chief Engineer, his nitwit wife didn’t appreciate the accomplishment, only the dollars. He had a BMW way before it was commonplace cool. We had a little quiz to see if I knew what BMW represented; I didn’t fail, who the hell knows how I passed that! His achievements were remarkable. I think he was celebrated in his family for the goals he met. He exceeded all expectations, smart and funny, handsome too.
The BDR has been on the periphery for 40 years. When I lived in NOLA and he shipped out 3 on 3 off, he called me, coincidentally while I was listening to Bob Dylan, hoping I could make it to see him at the Sunshine Bridge. I was in love with someone, who broke my heart just as the BDR predicted he would, so I didn’t go.
The BDR has been influential in my life. I like him. I’m happy for his successes, his sorrows reverberate. His kids are funny and charming. As is often the case, the second batch made out better financially than the first. Merchant mariners are not renowned for marital longevity.
His youngest son was ridiculously handsome and ebullient, an auspicious blend of parental DNA. He was younger than my eldest stepson by 6 or 7 years. They both played basketball, they met at a tournament. It was sweet, the younger awestruck by a “big kid”, the elder gracious and humble. His mom and I laughed.
The BDR suffered a loss I don’t have the experience to imagine. His youngest son, alive with hope and promise one minute was dead from an opioid OD the minute following. I had to think for a long time, weeks, before I wrote a condolence note. The BDR is 63, his son was 23; younger than the BDR was when he first took a spot in the periphery. There is no solace for his loss. I’m so surprised that life has brought us to this place, where the people we love are dying needless, pointless deaths for pharmaceutical profit.
Kids People 23 years old do not have the real life experience necessary to comprehend that dead is final and overdose deaths can happen to anyone at any time.