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This Friday I’ve got to get out of the house. I’ve been told my recent stuff is pretty bad...all this “I’m old and in the way” sort of thing. Okay. What do we do? My friend Christian plays Frisbee golf, though not necessarily on Friday nights, and I think that would entertain me for about ten minutes, watching that. If I was actually playing it, I might not last the ten minutes. What do older single guys who wish to remain single do around San Diego?

Gary Craney from Lemon Grove, age 49, says, “I play ukulele with my friends, who also play uke, guitar, fiddle, or banjo. Oh, and tambourine and harmonica. I used to be in rock bands, nothing famous, but rock is a little tiring and less interesting at my age. I still love music, though, just not getting jammed up against the wall with it anymore.”

Where does he do this?

“In my garage in Lemon Grove. We’ve never played a gig as this acoustic, folk, bluegrass, comedy deal, so, yeah, still just a garage band.”

Comedy?

“Yeah, well not so much me but Dan and Livia, they’re up front and have this semi-comedy banter.”

Are they funny?

“Mmm?” We’re at the Hazard Center trolley station. Craney looks at the sky over Mission Valley and adds, “Not really.” He frowns then smiles immediately. “A lot of it is like this: ‘Yo momma so fat’ stuff, you know?”

Are they black?

“No.”

How old are Dan and Liv?

“About my age — late 40s, early 50s.”

So, here’re these middle-class people with banjos — “Tambourine and harmonica.”

Okay, middle-class, middle-aged white people playing to a garage full of, what? Kids and dogs? Neighbors?

“Actually, yeah, pretty much like that.”

And they’re going, “Yo momma so fat — ” what?

“Well, like, ‘Yo momma so fat that when she sit around the house she REALLY sit around the house.’”

Uh-huh.

“Well it’s how they say it, you know?”

You gotta be there.

“Right. Know what I’m sayin’?”

No. Not really, but I just always wanted to say that to somebody who asks me that, know what I’m sayin’?

“And I look safe enough to say it to.”

Yeah, basically, I admit.

Craney is wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt of palm trees and cocktails and waves. This is worn over a Wallace Beery–type shirt, Levi’s, and gray sneakers below this. He has a nicely trimmed red, gray beard, medium-long hair, but bald as an egg on top. I want to ask him if his head is cold because in spite of the sunshine, nature is reminding me that men have nipples, too.

What are some of their other comedy lines? You remember any?

“Let’s see... Oh, uh, ‘You so ugly yo momma wear cowboy boots’? No, uh, something like that. I don’t know, I don’t really listen to them anymore.”

Okay, so what else do you do on Friday nights?

“Well, I’m not married anymore, but I’ve got my two kids, Jeremy and Paula, so we watch a lot of DVDs. The Little Mermaid is big and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.”

What would you watch if you had your choice?

“I like vampire movies, certain ones.”

Like?

“Some old ones, like, They Thirst. David Bowie and that French chick.”

Catherine Denevue.

“I still play video games, too.”

That’s cool. That’s cool.

“Thanks a lot. What do you do?”

Never mind. What are some of the songs you guys play?

“‘City of New Orleans,’” he says.

Oh, yeah. Arlo Guthrie. What else?

“That’s pretty much it.”

That’s two songs.

“Yeah, well, we’ve pretty much got those down. Besides, we do them for 20 minutes each. Oh, wait, we do, ‘Listen to the Music,’ you know, that old Doobie Brothers song.”

Are you guys any good?

He shrugs and looks up again, “I wouldn’t say so.”

So, why do you do it?

Still, eyes on rapidly moving fleece-white clouds, he tells me, “It’s fun,” as the eastbound train arrives.

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Comments

Evelyn April 6, 2011 @ 2:55 p.m.

"‘Yo momma so fat that when she sit around the house she REALLY sit around the house.’”

lol! i'm using that one tonight!

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David Dodd April 6, 2011 @ 10:53 p.m.

Yeah, well, welcome to my life, John. It's this, except in Spanish. Substitute Arlo for old Cantiflas films. And, you know, the food is probably better here. Depending.

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Joe Poutous April 7, 2011 @ 5:54 a.m.

I liked this one John.

The vampire movie is called "The Hunger"

  • Joe
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llevi April 7, 2011 @ 10 a.m.

-----Let the right one in,,,,,,,movie,,vampire,,forigen,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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cindio April 8, 2011 @ 9:04 a.m.

Dr. Brizz, It's funny, my maiden name is Batchelor...If you are looking for something to do on a Friday night, and remain single, let's go adult roller skating. I see that it is advertised in this most wonderful collection of literary master pieces. You have my number and I dare you to call and follow through with something that might break a leg, but won't get you hitched....Cindi O

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EricBlair April 10, 2011 @ 8:53 p.m.

Mr. Brizzolara: I was sitting down with the family tonight, and we listened to a song by the late great Warren Zevon. It sounds like some of the philosophy I used to hear from you. Maybe it will make you smile.

Don't Let Us Get Sick (Warren Zevon)

Don't let us get sick Don't let us get old Don't let us get stupid, all right? Just make us be brave And make us play nice And let us be together tonight

The sky was on fire When I walked to the mill To take up the slack in the line I thought of my friends And the troubles they've had To keep me from thinking of mine

Don't let us get sick Don't let us get old Don't let us get stupid, all right? Just make us be brave And make us play nice And let us be together tonight

The moon has a face And it smiles on the lake And causes the ripples in Time I'm lucky to be here With someone I like Who maketh my spirit to shine

Don't let us get sick Don't let us get old Don't let us get stupid, all right? Just make us be brave And make us play nice And let us be together tonight

Mr. Brizzolara, that's the story: just make us be brave, and make us play nice. I miss our conversations, and hope you are well.

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