6 thoughts on “08-20-92”

  1. This is my (now ex-) wife and me during a celebration of my 30th birthday. Jamie and probably a dozen others came together for the occasion at a restaurant called Positively 104th Street. I had always kind of resented it as an outpost of gentrification–I lived down the block–but it turned out to be a pretty good neighbor.

    At the party a bunch of my friends had gotten together to buy me a CD boxed set of all of Thelonious Monk on Riverside. Great gift. But what I really remember is Jamie saying to me as we left, “Yeah, give me a call right after you’ve finished listening to the whole thing.” A joking commentary on the craziness of such boxed sets–this one has something like 16 CDs. He probably said it right after taking the picture–I feel like the picture was taken just as the event was breaking up.

    I thought it was a very funny thing to say. I thought it was even funnier in a weird way when in fact I didn’t talk to Jamie for a long stretch after that–as if he had uttered some sort of droll curse on our friendship that was now coming true.

    It feels like the next thing I knew Jamie was sick. I never saw him after learning he had cancer; I wasn’t in that inner circle. I don’t think it can be true that I never talked to Jamie after 8/20/92, but it feels like it in my spliced-together memory. And it is true that I’ve *never* listened to every track in the CD set. So in my mind, this photo documents the curse of the Thelonious Monk boxed set, which ended my friendship with Jamie forever.

    1. Man, is a sad story. But the life is full of these situations. Look this photo I suposed is very hard for you, and is good that you write about it.


      1. Thank you.

        To be clear, while I was shocked and sad about Jamie’s end, and that we were out of touch, I have such strong memories of him–both of and through the great photo of the day and Hugh’s fantastic effort to preserve it–that I still feel connected to him. And somehow I feel Jamie would appreciate the Curse of Thelonious in all its bizarre humor.

  2. My brother was born this day. I suppose he and I are under our own kind of curse. But the thing is… you still love people. They still mean something, maybe even everything. Whether you talk much or not. ♡


Tell us a story.