I’m One

Blake burned me a DVD of Tiger.

Blake has Asperger’s.  From what they tell me, it’s a mild form of autism. 
Struggling with social skills, his condition preventing him from filtering his
comments, Blake is superior in narrow genres.  Like computers.  Blake’s a
computer genius.

Today I went to Blake’s high school graduation.  It was held at the
California Yacht Club, in Marina Del Rey.  If you’re from the east coast, never mind
the midwest, you would have plotzed.  Not a cloud in the sky, millions of
dollars of boats serving as the background, on a day like today it was easy to feel
everything is right in the world.

Blake has struggled in a number of schools.  They just weren’t attuned to his
issues.  But his mother, my sister, is so tenacious, so on the case, that she
found this special school in West L.A., that changed Blake’s life.  There
they weren’t concerned with how his deficiencies could cause disruptions, rather
they nurtured his strengths.

Blake told me how they called him from the school on Saturday at 9 a.m.  He
was the only one who could fix the computers.  Not only did he upgrade the DVD
drive on his PowerBook to 2x, finding software on the Web the average music
business executive would not even know how to locate, Blake also built his own

But, cavalierly, he burned me a Tiger DVD on this PC, and it didn’t verify,
it didn’t work.

But when I came back from the graduation, I decided to take a risk, with this
new DVD, which Blake had burned on his PowerBook, which he GUARANTEED would work.  Maybe I was emboldened by his teacher’s words.

You see at Blake’s school, the tradition at graduation is to ROAST the
students.  Oh, some of the teachers gave classic performances, worthy of SNL,
in the old days.  Imitating the student who lost his paper to the Net the way we
used to lose them to our dog.  Speaking of how one student was PHILOSOPHICALLY
against homework.  But when Blake stood up, his computer teacher commented on
his tics, his style, how he was the man to go to if you needed a CD or DVD, how
his Asperger’s made him an ENCYCLOPEDIA of sports facts, but he also went on
about Blake’s computer skills, how the future of the school computer lab would
be dicey without him.

I was proud.  That at least this one kid wasn’t lost in the educational
system, that there are people making a fraction of what the people in the business
pages do, but don’t care, they want to work one on one, they want to change

For a minute there, I was cursing Blake.  This new DVD took an AWFULLY long
time to verify.  I tried to quit.  But I got one of those error messages that
makes you think twice, this one said if I quit now, odds were the computer
would NEVER reboot.  So I let it ride.  And after my PowerBook upgrade was
successful, I inserted the DVD into my desktop machine.

Stunningly, with five years of files on my main machine, over 9,000 MP3s,
Spotlight indexed the hard drive in only twelve minutes.  It’s truly astounding. 
You can find anything INSTANTLY!

But the real reason I wanted Tiger immediately, was I wanted to download this
widget that scrolls the lyrics of a song when you play it in iTunes.  I tried
it on Felice’s PowerBook, but it didn’t work.  And it being HER computer, I
was loath to fuck with it, to find out why.

But now I’m ready.

Now I feel good.

I feel Blake’s gonna make it.  You might not be able to understand and follow
all of his tech help, but there’s no doubt he can find the solution.  We NEED
people with these skills, we pay them A LOT!

And it appears that Andrew will take my old car.  I want to give it a good
home.  God, the STEREO is worth more than the book value of the entire machine.

And being in a good mood, I laid down on my bedroom floor and started doing
my back exercises.  I started listening to Pete Townshend on my iPod.

I started off with "Let’s See Action".  It fit my slightly giddy mood, one
wallowing in all the events of the day.

And after that came a live version of "Give Blood" featuring David Gilmour on
the guitar.  That’s why I love P2P, who even knew this EXISTED!

And then came "English Boy".

Everybody considered "Psychoderelict" a failure.  It was Pete’s last album of
original material if I remember correctly.  Nobody cared anymore.

But ten years later, god, there’s a JOY, an EXUBERANCE in "English Boy" that
makes you want to DANCE!  Not in the way those skinny, good-looking girls and
boys do at the disco, but the way the dateless lumpy, zit-faced kids do in
front of the MIRROR!  The way true ROCK FANS do!  Compared to what’s purveyed
today, ENGLISH BOY IS PURE GENIUS!  It’s the way the performance is not mannered, the way Pete is singing his heart out purely because he’s got the
music in him, because he HAS TO!

I started reflecting how although he seems to be done today, toast, how all
those artists of yore somehow have lost the gift, the motivation, even Bob
Dylan, yes, "Love and Theft" is CRAP, hell, he even STOLE THE LYRICS, Pete had a
LONG career.  There were THREE generations of Who material.  Pre-"Tommy".  The
famous rock opera.  Post-"Tommy".  And solo.  I mean I don’t know ANOTHER song
that captures the excitement of love and the fear it is evanescent quite like
"A Little Is Enough".  More like this, and the music business would be SAVED!

And then I heard "I’m One".  Not the version from "Quadrophenia", but the
live one from the Maryville Academy CD.

Every year is the same
And I feel it again
I’m a loser, no chance to win

Somewhere along the line, music morphed from alienation to stardom.  Oh,
those original English rock stars, they were losers.  Can you imagine Jimmy Page
in high school?  Never mind Pete?  But these musicians listened to a ton of 45s
and decided to form their own bands, for the recognition, to get laid, to
vent their ANGST!  To tell everybody what it was like to be them…

And it turns out many more people consider themselves to be losers than
winners.  Many more people identify with Napoleon Dynamite than Lindsay Lohan.  And it used to be legitimate to say so.  And we’ve got a bit of nerd power in our
society, but really, turning on the tube, reading magazines, you just feel
inadequate.  You’ve got to be good-looking, have a fancy car, a fat bankroll, be
POPULAR!  And if you’re not???  "Cribs" isn’t about losers.  If you’re a
loser, you’ve got to stay inside, you don’t dare show your head in modern society.

But is everybody truly a loser.  No, like Bob Dylan said before he lost it,
each of us has his own special gift.  And you know this was meant to be true. 
And…if you don’t underestimate me, I won’t underestimate you.  But, to
believe in yourself, can you?

Blake used to be burdened with the label of an outcast.  He didn’t fit in
easily.  But I realized this afternoon something had changed, he’d become an
incredible WINNER!  He finally had friends, who were not fair-weather.  His
teachers appreciated his IDENTITY.  And he’s got genius skills,
when most people are just average.

Actually, while roasting Blake, his computer teacher, imitating him, said
"I’m the man." after every accomplishment of Blake’s he playacted.  And then I
realized this had become Blake’s mantra.  It had slipped in so gradually, I’d
missed it.  Now, recognized for his computer skills, Blake truly was the MAN! 
And he dug it.

And so did everybody else.

But I’m one
I am one
And I can see
That this is me
And I will be
You’ll all see, I’m the one

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