Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ghosts in the Machine....

A couple years ago I spent some time setting up a My Space page which I later mostly abandoned after I started this blog. Sometime later I set up a Face Book page, but I quickly forgot my log on information and put it out of my mind. Occasionally I would try and access the page, but for some reason I could never get the "lost password" link to work. Finally, about a week ago, I managed to get back on and I found a mailbox full of messages.

The effect was disorienting.

The best way I can describe it is that it was like a scene from a science fiction film in which a group of people who were abducted by aliens thirty or forty years ago suddenly return, walking out of a mist into view. Or, perhaps it is the memories that, like rescued miners, stumble of the mine entrance, their hands shielding their eyes from the daylight.

With every name from the past I found, I would look at who their friends were and find more names that sounded familiar and I would follow those links. I began to look at the photo books of people I didn't know or only vaguely remembered and, after an hour or so of that, I clicked on another collection of photos and found the one above.

I was stunned.

The photograph was taken in 1973, in the basement of my parents' house in Northeast Philadelphia (Cottman & the Boulevard for anyone who knows Philadelphia). The paneling, ceiling tiles, that dartboard, all instantly recognizable. I'm standing at the left; next to me is my friend Cliff. It was Cliff who introduced me to Bruce Springsteen when, after I'd moved to Clarion PA to start college, he mailed me sheets of lyrics from the Asbury Park album that he'd copied out by hand. This photo was taken right around the time I went back to Philadelphia and the two of us drove over to New Jersey, to see the E-Street Band for the first time at a bar called Uncle Al's Earlton Lounge.

$1 cover charge and $1 beers.

Next to Cliff is David, one of my best friends from that time, being held by another person I can't quite remember. I have no idea who took the photo either. I am pretty sure, however, where I got the idea for the sideburns.

I am in awe of the past. I am in awe of the future. I am in awe of the present. The "internet" -- this seemingly infinite mass of information that has no mass -- seems like a connection to another dimension outside of the four we move through.

This is also, however, where understanding that 75% of all the people on Earth today have never used a telephone comes in handy too. It helps pull me back down here on Planet One where real things still really matter.

Still, fun, these interwebs.


Greg said...

Facebook and a wiki page. I find out you have both of these today. Wonders. Nice sideburns too.

capewood said...

I'm the guy holding the threatening glass. I too was stunned when I saw this on facebook. I have absolutely no recollection of the circumstances of the photo. But that's clearly me. Even after Stan's description of the location the photo still brings no memories. I am a great one for mining my own past through journals that I've kept over the years. With the clue from Stan that this is in his basement, I may have a date. On 12/10/70, I recorded in my journal that I went to Stan's house with Dave. That would explain the winter coats. It gets cold in Philadelphia in December.

Stan Denski said...

Has to be post 71 as those sideburns and that hair would not have made it through the doors of Fr Judge. I think the photo was dated 1973 which makes me wonder if we didn't kill Dave with that ray gun thingy (which would explain his absence from Face Book) and then head across the Tacony Palmyra bridge to Uncle Al's. But correct me if I'm wrong; the Springsteen show was August 14, 1973, right? See: http://www.brucespringsteen.it/Showdx.htm The coats are wrong for August. the only other Uncle Al's show was in December 73, but there were three bands on the bill that night.