José Sinatra, who has been with the Troubadour since its first edition, has decided to take an indefinite leave of absence while he seeks treatment for what he candidly describes as “increasing instances of sexual self-harassment (#HoseToo).” He blames only himself for these troubles and is determined to reconcile his status as both perpetrator and victim through professional counseling and/or a cocktail of mind-altering chemicals. He is optimistic about coming to grips with his problem, and deeply apologizes for any pain he may have caused himself and any shame he may gave dangled in the face of the Troubadour. This, his farewell column, was actually written while he was in a hospital emergency room for an (assumed) unrelated malady.
During the past 16 years, the amount of space within this column that has been devoted to negativity is gargantuan.
Why can I not see the silver linings within the clouds that darken my disposition? Why have I been for so long desperately opposed to concepts like Rap and overused words like “cool”? After all, the dreaded cool has not only simplified the English language (by replacing hundreds of adjectives our kids won’t have to learn), it continues to make millions of people feel better about themselves; by saying it, they become it. And Rap has streamlined “music” composition by eliminating those pesky ingredients of harmony and melody, while making millionaires of people who think “same” and “plane” rhyme with (I’m sorry: wid) each other. What singularly brilliant blessings… dammit, there is good in this world!
How strange it is to be writing this, my final Hosing Down, on a gurney in a corridor of the ER at UCSD Medical Center while an unfortunate lady in a nearby room continually cries out in pain. “Nooo! Nooo! It hurts! It hurts! Help me!” has been the soundtrack here for the last half hour or so and my sorrow for her began to eclipse my concern for my own situation (for the record, a mysteriously swollen and painful left calf that has been tormenting me and becoming increasingly powerful for nearly three weeks now.)
I was so determined not to have any negativity in this farewell, but the bitch in that room won’t shut up, and it’s pissing me off. Police are all over the place here, sweeping past me as they accompany injured suspects on gurneys down the hall. I’m obviously low priority here (and rightfully so), out in the hall, hooked up to an IV and awaiting a CT scan, which I trust will occur before New Year’s Eve (when I have a great gig with the Nowhere Men.)
So that’s the setting as I attempt to recall the sweetness I’ve experienced in these pages for the past 16 years. Wow. There’s been a lot.
Probably the sweetest thing of all has been my photograph at the top of the column, month after month, doing so much to inspire the youth of America and the libidos of so many chicks throughout the globe. And, yes, it has on occasion given me a severe man-crush, a strange yet potent feeling I have learned to fear, even as I somehow yearn for it. There have been several different photos through the years, each of them precisely capturing that elusive, booger-like elasticity of my soul, my essence, my aftertaste. My thanks, then, to the artistry and cameras of Ann Donovan, Toots Von Weston, Linda Tonnessen, Philippe Navidad, and Hilary Heinmetz. If I missed someone I must not have been too impressed with your work, so perhaps it’s better that your name is left out .
Then there were the photos sent in to me by a number of you female readers when I suggested you send me naked selfies as your sign of our mutual trust. You stepped up to the plate and made my heart moist. Be assured that that trust we share will continue even after I leave these pages, particularly if you would be good enough to continue to send occasional photographic updates (different angles/settings/looks) to me in care of this paper. Or, directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Human Trust can be an amazing thing–never forget that.
Two of the dearest people I’ve ever encountered–Liz Abbott and Kent Johnson–have been sweet enough to allow me to say just about anything I wanted to say in this column, and I’m sure there were many times they wished they’d reigned me in a bit more. I’m very grateful they’ve allowed me my head (no, people, don’t even start!) when I’ve journeyed into my own alternate realities or made fun of Britney Spears (whose laundry I continue to covet) or insisted on calling spades spades, kings queens, and Trumps worthless. They approved my idea of interviewing world-class music idols like Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Taylor Swift, and Mick Jagger until I lost interest. And they throw a terrific party!
The late Ellen and Lyle Duplessie also believed in me when they started the San Diego Troubadour with Kent and Liz way back in 2001. This not only shows their brilliance, but allows me to say their names once again and to publicly emphasize how much they mean to me and how deeply I miss them. If they’ve forgotten to keep a warm place for me up there, though, they can both go to hell.
(Aw, come on, you should know I
didn’t mean that… and I’m pretty sure they both got a chuckle… if they didn’t, let ‘em sue me.)
Saturday afternoon is becoming Saturday evening. Doctors were able to quiet the screaming woman a while ago. I’m still on a gurney in the hallway with an empty IV bag… people keep rushing back and forth into various rooms and secret places–it’s like I have become invisible, forgotten. Will I be tempting a similar fate by ending Hosing Down as this year crawls to a finish? Except for this mysterious malady that taunts my left leg with sadistic glee, lately I’ve been feeling healthier than I’ve felt in at least 30 years.
José Sinatra (should he live) will continue to sing around town occasionally, sometimes as Hose and sometimes as a member of the Nowhere Men. I’m still hosting OBokee (karaoke with an O.B. sensibility) Sunday nights at Winston’s on Bacon Street, off Newport… I’ve missed but one Sunday there in 14 years, which is pretty remarkable since I’m such a dip.
Other angels who’ve helped or inspired me while I Hosed Down over the years would be named Kathy and the Lair and Jason and Craig and Debbie and Archy and Miff and Owen and Gregory and Skid and Mike and Al and Jan and Java and Bernadette and Jesse and Edwin and Tara and Brandy and Mary-Claire and I’m gonna stop this because I’ll leave someone out, so forgive me. But I should just say YOU because I envision you reading this and I thank you for putting a little Hose in your heart. You have turned me on, tuned me in. Now I must drop out.
Seven hours after I was set up in this cage at the hospital, I was finally wheeled out for a CT scan. A nurse shot some dilaudid in my arm so the pain is not quite as bad as it was. Here I am back as Exhibit A in the hallway and they’ve promised some x-rays and a diagnosis within a “reasonable” amount of time. I’m about to enter my eighth hour here [it ended up being 17] and I dread the Saturday night ER fun that is sure to begin around me shortly. For now it’s all a mystery… but I am very grateful to you for having accepted the ride up to this point.
The most important statement I could possibly make is out there, somewhere… perhaps you’ll keep me in your thoughts while I chase it down. Then we’ll have a feast. Eat me, indeed.