Thursday, February 20, 2014

Forgiving Kurt: I Have Another Confession to Make.... I Threw a Dick's Burger at Kurt Cobain

If making fun of Kurt on his birthday is wrong, then I don't want to be right. This is the most gentle way I can tell any Kurt story. There was no fun and good times with us.There was chaos in the end. There were constant disappointments.  It's all quite pitiful and regretful. Some of the darker Kurt stories, like any low points in one's life, were not meant to be told or even remembered, so I won't be sharing them here. I've grown up a lot since the '90s and have learned in turn to tame my anger with humor. It doesn't mean that the true accounts of peoples' lives that he affected should not be told. Especially the funny ones.

That being said, I'm glad that there are plenty of people that have happier stories to round off his personality as it's come to be known. I'm sure he was a loving grandson, for instance, and that counts big-time in my book. I know he loved Frances, and I know he appreciated art and music even if it was in his juvenile redneck way.  But since I've shared this on social media plenty of times, I figured it was the perfect day to make it official here on Grunge Story Tellers

For a real account of life with Nirvana
check out Bruce Pavitt's new book: 
"Experiencing Nirvana" 

I knew Kurt from the bratty grunge-pack that hung around the Pike Place Market. He never struck me as anything special or was even vocal about the desire to be an artist or musician. I always got the idea that he had nothing better to do. It's surely been the case for many musicians. Blues guys in the south, poor English chaps in the Beatles heyday. The thing that struck me about Kurt was how sad he always seemed. Given, this is Seattle, a place known for its high rate of depression -- especially at that time, in the pre-Prozac years and pre-"Seattle is the coolest place in the world" days. It was easy for guys like him to get depressed with not much cash and no real skills or education. And for him, maybe harder because he was always in pain.

I can say from having anxiety and stomach issues 
myself for the last two years that he was probably half-faking
it when he said he felt okay.

One night, me and Andrew were walking down Broadway. He had already had several major relapses by then, and I was at the end of my rope.
As we were walking, Kurt rode up to us on his bike. For starters, who rides a dirt bike on the street? I was annoyed already, thinking "Geeze, what is he, 12 years old? If I want to see E.T. I'll go rent the movie "

He spotted Andy and rode up to him while I was in line at Dick's buying dinner. Andy smiled, probably kind of laughing at the Kmart dirt bike he was on. He asked Kurt, "How's it going?" and Kurt replied, "Got the brown, got the girl, going home."  It was such a little asshole ghetto comment. Even though he was no suave book smart college kid, I never thought he'd say something cruel to Andy like that and with me standing right there (He later claimed he had no idea who I was that night -- I can only guess he was already pretty high).

To me... they all seemed high on something all the time.
We all know now, that most of the people around Kurt 
were only trying to understand him when they 
let themselves party too hard with him.

I looked at him and said "What the fuck does that even mean?"  Hopefully, I said something to him like "You little chode!" -- we can only assume, so may as well throw it in the script! Anyhow, I took one of the Dicks' Deluxe Burgers out of the bag and threw it at him. It didn't hit his head. It hit him in the shoulder and the tartar sauce splashed and got all over his fuzzy sweater, ha ha ha! I remember later laughing and thinking..."Too bad it wasn't a strawberry milkshake!" (His favorite beverage used to be strawberry milk.) The worst part is that he just looked at me with no apparent reaction. It was like he was used to people throwing shit at him, like it was no big deal. And then of course Andy,  'Mr. Nice Guy' was like "Now now, Xana."  I did feel bad later, but what can I say -- it pissed me off when people would try these little underhanded methods of trying to entice him to drink or use, and to suggest that his night would somehow not be as fun since he was missing the heroin -- it really chapped my hide.  I've told this story a few times and claimed that I threw him up against the wall of Dick's. Well, you know how these stories get embellished along the way! I guess I thought it sounded more bad ass to say I roughed him up. Now don't get too tiffed at me -- I really did sock it to Courtney a couple of times -- that's gotta count for something!

Today, Kurt would be around 47, just two years older than me. It's too bad that, like lots of people in our crowd, I can't run into him at a Jack Endino show and laugh about that night. It's too bad Andy let too many incidents like that get to him and decide he needed it, too. If Kurt was here, I'd apologize for ruining his fuzzy sweater, and like so many others over the years, he'd apologize for being a chode. 

I forgive you, Kurt. I hope wherever you are your tummy never hurts and you have an unlimited supply of  fuzzy sweaters and strawberry milk. 

For Jack