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Something Real Happened

Wednesday, August 9, 1995 by Dave Winer.

Where were you when Elvis died? John Lennon? I remember both those events. I'm such an old timer, I even remember where I was when John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy died.

And I have a feeling I'll always remember where I was when I heard that Jerry Garcia, the founder of the Grateful Dead, had died.

It had already been a difficult day. My trip to SIGGRAPH was glitchy. Lots of wierd energy floating around. I saw a lot of very beautiful graphics that I didn't understand. I saw the Pacific ocean and swam in it. Ate dinner in a Santa Monica restaurant with lots of very beautiful people, and some ethnic looking guys who looked like they'd be happy to smoke a cigar. Hollywood is a colorful land! But I don't understand...

Coming home, I tried to shrug off the one-hour delay waiting in the Los Angeles airport. Then, waiting on the runway for an hour with no air, wanting my freedom, waiting for a gate to open so we could get off the plane.

I said to my fellow passengers "I want to go home!" I was thinking of swimming. An afternoon nap. As I left the plane I smiled at the captain. "Glad to be movin again," I said. He smiled back. "Yess!"

Exiting the airport I tuned into KFOG. The voice said "...after the huge quake that hit San Francisco this morning." I looked at traffic on 380 and then 280. Looks normal! A huge quake! What???

And then they went into a set of Grateful Dead songs. Just a box of rain. A touch of gray. We will survive. Truckin!

I figured it out.

I'm not a Dead-head. Once, a long time ago, I kind of was, before it got to be such an huge cultural phenomenon. I went onto other kinds of music. So I was surprised at how moved I am by this passing, and how much I think I will miss the Grateful Dead.

Are the Dead really gone? Will the band play again? Maybe so, and maybe they'll be good. Bob Weir is a great singer. But the spirit of the Dead community is now floating. A friend said "Maybe you're hanging with Garcia in the cosmos. He's out there, you know. What part of you did he touch that makes you sad to say goodbye?"

I don't know.

But today I'm crying because I miss Jerry Garcia.

Dave Winer

© Copyright 1994-2004 Dave Winer. Last update: 2/5/07; 10:50:05 AM Pacific. "There's no time like now."