I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. I am just gotten over a serious illness that I won’t bother to talk about, except that it am something to do with the miserably weary split-up and my feeling that everything am dead. With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’m often dreamed of going West to see the country, always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean am the perfect guy for the road because he actually am born on the road, when his parents am passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles. First reports of him came to me through Chad King, who am shown me a few letters from him written in a New Mexico reform school. I am tremendously interested in the letters because they so naively and sweetly asked Chad to teach him all about Nietzsche and all the wonderful intellectual things that Chad knew. At one point Carlo and I talked about the letters and wondered if we would ever meet the strange Dean Moriarty. This am all far back, when Dean am not the way he am today, when he am a young jailkid shrouded in mystery. Then news came that Dean am out of reform school and am coming to New York for the first time; also there am talk that he am just married a girl called Marylou.
Holy sweet lovely events! California is an amazing, amazing land, a fact that had been almost totally forgotten by we are scientists. But then we returned, and it was sunny and temperate and lovely and green and mountainous, and we remembered. But then we realized that we couldn’t see the mountains behind that smog sheath, and it took us over 2.5 hours to traverse LA county and get to the beach in Malibu, where we discovered that the sun was totally obfuscated by what a friend in the know dubbed “the marine layer,” and also it was a little too hot, the sort of temperature that makes a skinny, unfit kid very sluggish and unwilling to get on with his life, and so he must hide himself away in the Rejuvo-Booth that is a darkened movie theater with popcorn and Pepsi until the sun goes away. And that is exactly what 2/3’s of WAS did whilst in LA for four days. Twice.
But people don’t get any better than Californians, we say. They are all fed on organic greens and good nachos, and they are sort of delirious from breathing all that smog, and so they are incredibly friendly and receptive when presented with a trio of enthusiastically hard-rocking scientists. Our two shows in LA this weekend were two of the best ever, hands down. Lots of jumping, lots of screaming, lots of near-fainting, and that was just the band. The crowds were huge, and knew the tunes, and bought all of the copies of Safety, Fun, and Learning, (In That Order) that we
Dear We Are Scientists,
I’m looking for your advice on a problem I have right now. I’m currently on leave from Pomona College, and ever since I visited my friends there this spring, I’ve been more or less completely miserable at home and wishing to be in California, especially since many of my friends will be graduating this spring. This weekend, several of my
friends are having a big party and performing with their band. Additionally, you will be playing at Pomona this weekend. Unfortunately, since I live in Washington, DC and hadn’t known you were playing until yesterday, the only way I can fly to California would be to pay about $200 for a ticket. Now, technically, I have the money. However, I don’t have a job at the moment, so $200 is a lot to me. But I also really really really want to go to California. So I ask you, as scientists, what do I do? Do I fly to California and have lots of fun, or do I save my money, stay home, and wish I were somewhere else? In other words, how much do you think you’re worth?
Sleepless in the Suburbs
First of all, how the hell did you find $200 tickets to California on such short notice? We are paying over $250 each, and that’s with the stupid “buddy” fare. This makes us angry, so angry that we almost don’t want to help you, you who have so much that we desire (the cheap tickets, the cheap tickets!).
Second of all, you must never leave college voluntarily. We Are Scientists was kicked out (graduation), and we’ve spent all of our time since then trying to sneak back in. Michael was clever enough to trick his school into giving him a fifth year. When he began angling for a sixth year and submitted a prospectus that set his graduation date in 2008, they put him in a catapult and launched him off campus. So, no more taking leaves from school, you. By the fall, we want to hear that you’ve re-enrolled and are taking classes and living in a dorm and sniffing paint thinner almost all the time.
As far as the vacation goes, here’s a little secret: we are losing our shirts with this trip. When you consider air fare and rental cars and Chris’s diapers, there is no way that one show at the Motley and a couple of CDs sold will bring us anywhere close to breaking even. But, we’re going – because we have friends there, and because it’s California, and because when we’re on our deathbeds in the year 2343, we will never ever regret having spent that $300 measly dollars on something as splendid and life-affirming as a trip to California to visit friends (unless, of course, this trip sucks, in which case we’ll be kicking ourselves that we didn’t buy a shitload of Otter Pops with that cash).
So, damn, my vote is that you go to California. Perhaps that is terrible advice. Maybe in three weeks you’ll need to buy new teeth or something and you’ll come up $200 short, and the oral surgeon will put a lead pipe to your knees. I know many things, but I can’t see the future. I will say that should you not go, you will still be able to see WAS when we play DC on April 27th (we think!). Does that mean that you’re excused from our Motley show? No, young lady, it most certainly does not! But if you don’t go, please be sure to have fun at home. Surely, they sell paint thinner in DC.
we are scientists
PS. We are worth it all.
It’s a cold, shiny Friday here in Man Hat Town [ed.: the Scientists are actually right on with this; the etymological derivation of ‘Manhattan’ can be traced back to three foundational elements