One of Paul’s many virtues was that he pushed my comfort zone. Sometimes this was problematic, but mostly it was a good thing. In high school, I was very much a “play by the rules” kind of guy. (Mostly, I still am.) Paul sometimes liked to break the rules.
I did not skip a single class period up until my senior year, for example. But then Paul induced me to skip twice. On the first time, we joined a few other kids to watch music videos at somebody’s house. (Details are very hazy in my old-man brain: Tami and Kim J. perhaps? Amy F.? I’m not sure. All I remember is INXS.)
The second time, I remember clearly.
On the 09 March 1987, U2 released The Joshua Tree. When Paul and I entered high school, we were unfamiliar with the band. I heard them during the first week of my freshman year. I’m not sure if I introduced them to Paul, but I believe it’s likely. In any event, by the end of our senior year, he and I were both hooked on them. We owned all their LPs and many of their rare singles.
So when the new album came out, it only seemed natural to skip school to buy it. After lunch, we hopped into my dirty old Datsun 310gx and drove to Tower Records. We each bought a copy of the LP, and I picked up my first “cassingle” — “With or Without You” on cassette tape. We were back to school before the final bell.
I’ve always treasured the memory of that day. It seems to typify the Paul and J.D. relationship.
Here are two songs from my favorite U2 album, The Unforgettable Fire. Both have been in my mind lately. First up, the best U2 song ever: “Bad”. This is the amazing Live Aid performance that I’ve shared here before: “If I could, through myself, set your spirit free, I’d lead your heart away, see you break, break away, into the night and through the day.”
And then there’s this, which is doubly-apt since today is MLK day. I’ve been singing it to myself all morning: “Sleep, sleep tonight, and may your dreams be realized. If the thundercloud passes rain, so let it rain, let it rain, rain on me.”
I’ve held back the tears until now, but watching these videos…so cathartic.
There’s a memorial service for Paul in Eugene this Wednesday afternoon. If you’re interested in attending, please let me or Tom know. Paul’s parents are trying to pull something together for Portland this Saturday, too. I’ll post when I know more information.