What happened?



January 11, 1984


Rock & Roll manipulation.

Pain. Lack of sleep – and lack of privacy.

Pauly talks about being trapped here. But then so am I, trapped in Pauly’s faltering magic and aging charisma – he once having been remarkable, but now makes him seem petty.

His self interest galls me. He locked himself into a pattern of existence that seems to waste all his talents – and won’t do anything to break out of it.

“I could have been president,” he’s told me more than once, then grins at me, and makes reference to the pot bust in Montclair years ago that put him off that life track.

I suppose we all find excuses for our failings, things we can point to and blame for how we got diverted from our intended destination.

He has sunk back into the depressed life of Passaic and Rock & Roll, and seems satisfied with it even as he bitches about it.

He’s proud enough – but it is a flabby, gluttonous pride he strides around in while in the midst of the ghetto.

I hate it.

I hate the way he manipulates us – me, Garrick, and Hank – into his service.

And we give him our earnings and our time of our own free will.

Garrick does it out of what I suppose is love, out of old friendship, out of pity for something lost.

Hank does it for a laugh, only the laughs get weaker as we grow older and the recognition of success grows dim.

At 35, Pauly is no closer to becoming what we thought he would become at 25.

He clings to the same Rock & Roll band, and the same rigid front of false integrity.

The only real change is his partner in this dance: me instead of Garrick, me getting lost in these spirals of manipulation.

The original Pauly I so admired a decade ago is hard to find now or define, making me wonder if my original assessment was wrong.

Or was it the cult-like following he obtained as a teen the very thing that ruined him?

Or perhaps, he got discouraged by the state of education –which sets higher and unrealistic expectations on great people, doing its best to make them conform – and thus ruining them.

Pauly sometimes talks about being ejected from Catholic school to spend his final year in a public high school, (going from Godly to godless) and later, how frustrated he felt when he got a scholarship to an arts school in New York City only to discover he already knew more than the professors could teach him.

He could have been pope or more likely the anti-Christ or any of a whole spectrum of people in-between.

But none of us could have predicted his ending up like this in Passaic – stooping to petty materialism and use and abuse of his friends – all for the insignificant matter of personal survival. And I all I ache for is for the old Pauly back, and I know, it is not possible.


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