Put Your Makeup On, Fix Your Hair Up Pretty, And Meet Me Tonight In Atlantic City

Last summer of our innocence, 2001. Jump and the net will catch you: I walked away from my two year nightmare gig at Independence Blue Cross and was working full time in my apartment writing the final chapters of The Pilot And The Panda, full speed ahead. Every morning, same routine — “the usual” at the diner across the street, Daily News, then back across the sweltering street to the tiny apartment, no air conditioning, no shirt, pot of coffee, typing away till I nearly collapsed on the keyboard. Drink with the gang on the cheap in the cool evening. Pass out, wake up, repeat the performance. It felt real good.

Off days were for Mini-Adventures, like the above one, with Joe Vee and Sweet Lou. Took the budget train to AC, bus to OC, obligatory ski-ball, pizza, and saltwater taffee, a little swimming, bottle of wine behind the dunes at dusk, then back to AC and back to Philly. Nothing too exotic, but when you roll with Titanic Dudes like Vee and Lou, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. We were Legion, thus Legend. Always remember, it’s never where you are, but it’s always who you’re with.

Adventure Club, same summer, PATCO Hi-Speedline, Haddonfield, NJ. High Adventure on a Budget! From L-R: The Cowboy, Frost, FSD, Sweet Lou, and the Reason. Make the sandwiches at home, throw ’em in a bookbag with a few bottles of wine, hop on the Speedline (cheaper than SEPTA), watch the river pass below you as you zip over the Ben Franklin Bridge, and pick a stop, any stop. We chose Haddonfield, for the old buildings and for the parks. Muggy drizzle didn’t stop us from staying dry under a canopy of trees, watching the fireflies light up over the creek as we sipped our wine and talked about whatever the hell we felt like.

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.

-Malcolm X

Aw, it’s Sara Jane, August ’01, at the afformentioned Spring Garden apartment. The Meow Mix was for Molly the Cat, who in the intervening years has switched back to her O.G. favorite, Purina Cat Chow. Sara Jane had one aspiration: to be a librarian. I’m pretty sure that right now, as I type this, she is a librarian, in Baltimore or D.C., can’t remember. Either way, contgrats Sara Jane! Too bad the Internet is making your job obsolete!


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