Yesterday I politely asked the checkout girl at the big box Grocery chain how her day was going. She said it was going okay BUT she’d just arrived at work so she hoped it would get busy and therefore the day would then go by faster. Looking up she noticed no one was around. I said “Oh well I could run through your line four or five times while you wait for someone to arrive. She liked that idea. My wife said no.
The dentist put photos of my teeth on a screen for me to study saying I could have filings or gum grafts. (In America we have choices, yeah right.) Anyhow, I replied that’s expensive and grafts are quite painful so I pointed to a couple places on the film and asked if maybe he could just color in those spaces with crayon and leave it at that. He said Crayon wax wouldn’t hold.
The dentist then asked in this sweet voice, like he had a gift for me; “Ever have a deep cleaning?” I replied; “Yes and I don’t want want one.” He said; Well your X-rays will determine that!” I thought; “No the guy that pays my credit card will determine that and that’s me!” BUT to drive the point home I simply repeated quietly with conviction; “I don’t want one.” A “deep cleaning” is quite painful and I don’t fancy my mouth hurting for a week or two so some dentist can pocket an extra $600 for the “deep clean” experience. Next week I see a Doctor. I’m sure that’s going to be a lovely experience.
In the early 90s, I was working the BAMMIES (Bay Area Music Awards) in San Francisco. I had flown up from Los Angeles. I was doing promotion and marketing for BAM magazine and the BAM Network of music publications. A friend was going to take me backstage to meet Carlos Santana. It never transpired. I did get a cool laminated pass which I still possess but never made it backstage.
While waiting I had gone upstairs to a secluded bar area in the back of the concert hall where I noticed Jorge Santana (Carlos Santanas brother) sitting by himself having a beer. In the late 60s and early 70s, Jorge had led a successful band himself called “Malo”. Their first two albums were classic latin rock with horns and multiple percussionists similar to early Santana. “Malo” however presented some of their tracks in spanish which separated them from Santana. Later albums went in a more dance oriented direction and they lost their record deal. The curse though for Jorge was that ihe was Carlos’s brother and a guitarist as well. Jorge was constantly compared to Carlos.
That night, Jorge had been touring with Carlos as his second guitarist. The band had just returned from a south american tour. I had so many questions and I wanted to talk music. It was in my blood. First I didn’t know whether to call him George or Jorge. Last thing I wanted to do was come off as a poser or insult him. Secondly Jorge was and still is a talented guitarist in his own right but this was a Santana show so was it appropriate to comment on his playing or not? That would undoubtedly bring to light comparisons between the two and he was in the second guitar spot.
Then I didn’t have any obscure Jorge career notes but did have some Carlos items. Would it be appropriate for me to comment on Carlos having begun his career by performing in strip clubs in Tijuana Mexico at age 14? And what was Jorge up to at that time? It definitely would showcase my knowledge of Carlos but I wasn’t chatting with Carlos. Then there was the fact that the original Santana Band (which only took the name Santana by happenstance) were tough street kids from the east bay barrio. Later one member would go to prison for murder and others had bouts with hard core addiction. Why wasn’t Jorge in the original band? They were hot! Carlos recently finally conceded that the original band, those members that played Woodstock, were the best players he’d worked with and the tightest ensemble. So many thoughts ran through my brain. In the end though none of the above questions came out. I was polite and Jorge was polite. He was busy and I needed to stay on point as a music professional though inside a fan indeed. The show was great and I never ended up going backstage. Jorge was a bit standoffish and maybe thinking I was trying to get at his brother through him. That wasn’t the case.
Yesterday I was listening to “Malo” and it all came back to me… Jorge had his 15 minutes of fame. The man was a monster talent but his brother made the grade. The universe is fickle that way. I hope he’s doing well. I think I’ll go have some Mexican food for lunch, Baja style like they serve in Tijuana. Muy caliente!
Comics see the pain that’s out there in the world. They can cry or experience it all as a funny adventure! See you on Safari!