Friday, May 08, 2009
A Man's Man
Wendy and I were returning from our first visit to D.C. after a cross-country Amtrak trek through pre-Katrina N.O. (by one month) and ATL, and a year before my second visit to D.C. for CMAA Colloquiam 07. Because I'm, ahem, hefty, we flew (and always try to fly) First Class. So, leaving ATL, somehow I found myself directly opposite Herbie Hancock and a seat ahead of Jack Kemp.
Jack Kemp was known to me way before Herbie; one has to remember I was at the first Oakland Raider football contest ever played, and never missed a home game in Oakland ever. Jack Kemp kicked Oakland booty on a regular basis.
I first met Herbie Hancock in college via the jazz lab band I was in for four years mentioned last post. It was great, just after "Maiden Voyage."
While in ATL before going to D.C. I had found in a little bookshop a tiny tome I'd read about: ON BULLSHIT. It was written by some Harvard prof in perfect academic manner as, I suppose, a clever exercise in satire. I had to have it.
So, back to the plane.
Needless to say as deftly as I could, I struck up a just-the-right-length conversation with Herbie about "the state of the art." He related information about the album he was doing with various artists, a kind of legacy thing. I couldn't get over his enthusiasm about Christina Aguilera. Once I got the album for Wendy, I listened, I knew Herbie, like one of his mentors, Quincy Jones, knew exactly what-the-hell he was talking about.
Anyway, it came to me that with these two men, (I, then a Republican, who'd voted more for Kemp than Dole; Kemp is/was a big-tent GOP guy and had real cred with African-American leaders because of his proven record in the AFL/NFL), might just autograph my little book (ON BULLSHIT) if I vowed to them never to profit from their participation. And I won't. It will go with me, my freeze-dried cat, and Larivee guitar into my coffin.
So, Herbie left a brief, perfunctory message. But Jack Kemp, an oratorical soul after my own verbacious self, left the following.
R.I.P. Jack Kemp, Quarterback in this earthly life. I know you always knew that both your earthly coaches and your heavenly boss not only called the plays; but had the game plan well in hand. If you want to enlarge the image, just click it.
A Republican and a Bills quarterback -- He'll always be on top of my list of "real men".