23. The Ballad of Jack: The Story Without End

Jack sits on stage at the Bolinas Community Center, doing a fundraiser for KWMR.  It’s cold outside, late September, the ocean fog rolling in.  John Doe is coming on stage in a few minutes.

Back in the fifties, Jack was touring in England and played Brighton.  A young kid, now a resident of Bolinas, went to hear him there.  That night Jack told a long joke that rambled interminably.  It apparently wasn’t even that funny.  It was a shaggy dog story with no particular point and it ended with some punchline about goo goo.  Or something like that.  That young kid now old can no longer remember what Jack sang, but he remembers the joke to this day.

I remember playing Brighton, Jack says as he tunes his guitar.  It’s a good beach.  I guess everyone in their life at some time or other makes it to Brighton.  I remember Brighton. But I don’t remember the joke, he says.

This is a story without an end, he goes on.  It just has a beginning and a middle.  And we’re just at the beginning he says.

But don’t let it scare you none.  We’ll get there.  Soon enough, my friend.


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