It’s Too Late 

I took my dad to meet Lou Reed one time. We all went to a meeting at the French Church in NYC and then to a diner afterwards. Just the three of us ate. At that point me and Lou were pretty tight. We hung out a lot then. One the biggest regrets of my life was when I relapsed on Lou. You can’t really relapse on somebody, but then you kinda can. And our friendship was rooted in sobriety. 

But eventually I relapsed

I was just gonna “visit” but of course that’s what you always think. 

I got a text from Lou when he found out I went back out. It just said

“Don’t throw it all away”

I remember thinking “throw what away? ”

I was so fucking bitter. About my life. My career or lack of one. Just being lost. 

I thought life was pointless sometimes

And those times I’d destroy things. I took things for granted. I took Lou for granted, in a way. I didn’t mean too but I was still not quite there. 
I think often about how much more I coulda gleaned from him. Or learned. Or asked. 
After I relapsed we stopped being friends and so I wasn’t really close to him when he passed anymore but his death just destroyed me. No one warned me. Lou didn’t, but I suspect I didn’t factor into his world much at all at that point and besides he was really going thru intense shit. 

But before I relapsed we really got to know each other. 

He sung me happy birthday two years in a row. 
It was a little like that album of the year thing. 

It was real but I couldn’t quite receive it all the way. The specialness of it. 

I think certain things overwhelm us and maybe we grow a little numb towards them in order to handle them. 
It’s crazy now when I think of me and my dad and Lou at a diner. Just crazy. 

But I was always trying to include my family. Show the things I was seeing. Introduce them to the great people I was meeting. 
Lou and I would go eat after meetings a lot. That’s just what you did. Sometimes just the two of us but usually a few. 
Now another memory is coming up. 

It’s funny cause it relates to my recent posts. Which is one time Lou said to me

“I mean imagine if you lived somewhere like Ohio”

I think we were talking about how great NYC was. 

I said 

“Lou I’m from Ohio”

He said 

” how would I know?”

I laughed and said “uh I don’t know, maybe the internet. ”

He laughed. 

He was cute. There was something cute about him. 

That’s not really said about him but he was. 
I don’t remember much about that diner stop with my dad and Lou other than it was uneventful. 
My parents had two albums that they listened too over and over again for my whole childhood. It was the four tops and Jim Croce 

Which explains my sound perfectly I think. 
But they had no idea about any other music. So for my dad meeting Lou was like meeting anyone. He was nice enough and Lou was nice enough back and that was it. 
The symbol of that meeting tho is something more to me. 
I always searched and found incredible father figures. 

Lou certainly was that to me. And I actually know he’s still with me. He’s been popping up a lot on my healing journey. Even today in Ann Arbor 

I walked into a comic book store and way in the back was pins 

Which were mostly just of comic heroes 

I flipped the spindle and there on its own was Lou

I bought the pin and put it on my shirt. 

It was meaningful to me and I took it as Lou saying hi. 
I would have loved to know him now. 

I would have loved for him to know me now. 

I loved Lou. 

I know he loved me too. Before I relapsed anyway. 
He invited me a few times to his place upstate or in the hamptons. Where ever it was I can’t remember 

Because. I never went. 

I can’t believe that now

But as I said, certain things I took for granted. And I always figured there would be time. Our connection seemed so tight that I never suspected I’d lose it. 
But that’s what drugs and alcohol do. They steal the important things and leave you with the bullshit. 
Don’t throw it all away. 

Throw what away?
I can’t believe that’s what I thought. But it was. The darkness took over again for little while. 


There’s really nothing to regret cause I feel him. I know he’s there. 
I really think the spirit world communicates with us in this world if we just learn how to pay attention to its language. 
It’s an internal dialogue which responds or is responded to by seemingly unrelated external cues. 

It happens in a way to let you know that it’s not just a coincidence but leaves just enough doubt that you can’t be 100 percent sure. More like 95 percent sure. But as it keeps happening you become more and more sure. 

I’ll be having a tough time in this healing thing and out of nowhere a Lou song will come up in a store that normally only plays hip hop and it will be like “perfect day” or something. Strange occurrences I’m talking about. or like the thing with the button. 

It’s happened a few times. 

And it’s not just the external thing which lets you know that this is a form of communication, it’s the timing of it, and the consistency of thought/ feeling related to the external cue. 

When I’m having a really hard time, as I was today. Emotional with  crying bursts which feel like tears from years ago. 

When I’m having that kind of time. There he is. 

Some place unexpected. Someplace strange. Why was there a Lou button on a spindle full of nothing but cartoon heroes. 

It didn’t have other rock n rollers just Lou and shit like the punisher. And there was only one Lou button. 

Yeah if that happened once 

I’d write it easily off to coincidence 

But it’s happened a bunch
And that’s what I mean. The spirit world communicates thru patterns. 
And patterns is also how you can identify narcs. 

Just as with spirit communion

You have to see the patterns when dealing with narcs. 
I was with a “friend” recently who displayed those kind of dark patterns. I didn’t want to see it but I did. 
He knew I was “no contact” with my family

And he knew how hard that was on me. 
We hung months ago when I was just beginning this journey 
And kept bringing up my family then. 

And to his defense at that point, he couldn’t have know what I endured in my childhood. 

Narcs on the superficial outside are the last people you’d expect up to the shit they’re up too. At least at first. Upon even a slightly deeper investigation they fall apart like cheap dolls from china. 

But I got emotional. Or slightly aggravated when he brought them up months ago. I was still unwilling to see him as toxic. He was an old friend and I couldn’t deal at the time with anymore fall outs. Besides we don’t live in the same state and I wrongly assumed that I could just ignore the red flags cause we were only gonna hang for so long. 
Coming back thru Ohio I saw him again. Love the guy actually. 

Love all these narcs actually. Just wish they loved me back or in the very least could pretend a little better. 
The thing with healing as you go, your tolerance for any toxic bullshit becomes next to nil. 
I saw him across the parking lot and threw my new football prettty far. Surprised at my spiral. Still got it. He prepped himself to catch it but it hit an electric telephone wire and dropped instantly to somewhere in between us. 
When I’m really a ninja. I will even be sensitive enough to understand what that football was saying. It told me in that moment everything I needed to hear. 
We got in his car to go eat and first thing he did was ask about my family. 
I never assume my friends pay attention to my online shit. I got no idea who’s reading this blog or not. 
That would have obviously been a heinous move had he been reading it but I couldn’t assume that, tho I suspected maybe he had. Who knows. I never asked. 
After he brought that up, he answered (knowing the answer already) before I could “or is that not something we should talk about”

I said let’s just leave it. Not bring it up anymore. 

He said “oh ok cool. I won’t then”

And I let myself go back into relaxation. 
The healing journey is lonely from time to time. Not lonely as much as just a lot of time alone. Actually the opposite of lonely but still it’s nice to have the comfort of friendship, even if it’s slightly shady. Or so I thought. 
Before we got too much further down the road 

He said the thing about “if you could afford too cribs wouldn’t you” and then quickly interrupted himself. 
That one stood out to me like a sore thumb. 
Ok that’s two. And back to back. 
Then came dinner. The chef visited our table and he was showing him his new pad in LA on his phone. I hadn’t seen it yet

I said “let me see too” 

He ignored that and kept showing the chef. 

And I noticed that ignoring thing. 
All of these things I wouldn’t have noticed before
At that point a clear pattern had emerged and I predicted he would just put the phone down without showing me. 
And then he did. 
Old me

Would have instantly said

” hey I wanna see”

Cause I did. 

But new me. 

Knew right then and there what dude was doing. 

So I grey rocked it. 

Paid attention to other stuff

As he gauged if I was gonna ask to see the photos. See if he could make the puppy beg I guess (Narcs view us as beneath them) 

I didn’t. 

He acted like he remembered a minute later and was like

” oh let me show you”

And I was like

“Oh cool”

Grey Rock. 
That point went to me. 
Don’t worry I don’t win this. 

He wins in the end and I’m not at the real fireworks yet. Those are coming. 
Or maybe I win in the end. I don’t know. I guess no Contact is a win no matter how you get there. 
And this is what I need to learn. 

To remove myself as soon as I see the pattern. 
Any one of the things I described could be explained away. But, 

The pattern can’t be explained away. The pattern doesn’t lie. 

And neither do your instincts. 
There were more examples but it’s bore to label them all. I’ll cut to the end of the night. And when I said “fuck you” to him and left his house with zero guilt or regret. 

Straight no contact. Goodbye dude. Nice knowing you. 
The last thing was this. 

He was telling one of his friends about why I wasn’t nervous at my gig. He said, talking about me, in front of me “this guy has been a pro since we were kids. 

He played five nights a week when we were still in high school. Ain’t that right?” he looked at me “yeah that’s right I said. ”
I noticed that he brought up my high school years of playing out of the blue. Unrelated to what me and his friend were talking about. We were talking about boxing. 
And then he said as a tag to that

“Man your parents were really supportive, they came to lots of your shows, that’s the only time I’m gonna bring it up”
That was it. I was done. It was so obvious that he was trying to hurt me as bad as he could. He knew how painful this had been for me. 

This is where exposing your story becomes dangerous. You give toxic people so much to work with. 

This is why from here on I’ll probably just lock myself in a room and write and become like Theroux or some shit. 
I did get emotional. And you’re never supposed too but I don’t regret it. I said a hardy fuck you to him. Went upstairs, grabbed my bag and started to leave. He blocked the door, and here’s where it gets weird. Even creepy. 

He said “Joe don’t you want to go see my mom tomorrow? Let’s go see my mom tomorrow” 

I was like “dude what the fuck are you talking about. Opened the door with him in front of it just moving him out of my way. With force. and went right into my car. He tried to block that door too. I slammed it shut. He hit the window hard. 

And right there was the mask off. 
You can tell in those moments their true feeling. How they really feel about you. 

It’s earth shattering when it first happens. When you mistake them for actual people, but at this point in my life and with these periphery mother fuckers. It’s a bit like playing a video game but with real people and real stakes. I don’t recommend it. But I think the universe gave me that situation to show me how far I’ve come. 
True ninjas? Would see that football fall. And know everything they need to know. 

Second level ninjas 

Would see that football and hear that first question about family 

And know everything they need to know. 

Third level ninjas 

Would see the football. Hear the first question about family and then the next question about your lack of money and know everything they need to know. 

Fourth level ninjas

Would see the football. Hear the first question about family

Hear the question about no money. 

See the ignore request to be included 

Then hear statement about how “supportive” my family is. 

And no everything they need to know. 

Fifth level ninja 

That list again plus

The bizarro timing while I’m furiously leaving 

Saying “wanna go see my mom tomorrow?”

And really know everything they need to know. 
The mask slipping. The punch in the window. 

I guess maybe that’s why I got no guilt about it. He actually lost it more than I did. 
I drove to the delux inn where I met my Indian friend. And then spent a wonderful day there healing and crying and healing and writing

And barely thinking about that scumbag

Except from a bemused place. 

And a place of wow. 
I let myself break the scenario down. I even could see how, bringing up my high school days as a pro musician, in the awkward context he did, was a set up for him to justify the truly painful thing he did. 

It was really plain as day

And if there was any doubt at all

How do you explain bringing your mom when I’m in that state. How do you explain that away. 

And after all that ( ok maybe the football was a coincidence but the other shit….please) 

If I still somehow could muster a doubt. 

That big punch in my window was all I needed to know. 

My fuck you was justified. 

My forcing my way out with him blocking the door also was boundary violation. And was justified. 

He no right to hit my car like that. That was crazy. 
People are so crazy. It’s crazy how the really crazy ones are all the time trying to convince others that other people are crazy. By “covertly” making them react in a heavy way. How crazy is that? 

So I guess that makes me a fifth level ninja. 

But I’m improving. 
And you know how many of those things old me would have seen? 
I’ll let you guess. 

I would have felt it and reacted but I would have never suspected that any of it was on purpose. 

I wouldn’t have seen that at all. 
As I drove out of Ohio
I started smiling. I was so proud of myself to leave so easily and to not feel any doubt about it. 
And where as before I would have been tortured by guilt. 

I would have had to reach back out and try to smooth things over. Just from my programming. The universe wanted to show me that my programming wasn’t running the show anymore. I was. 

I remember walking with Lou one time at night in Chelsea and he pointed out where Lester Bangs had lived. I said, don’t you kind of respect him after the fact. (Famously they hated each other, well Lester actually worshipped Lou, but said really mean things about his girlfriend at the time named Rachel.)

Lou said

“Piece of shit ”

Or something like that. Something simple and with few words and utterly damning. Lou wasn’t the hippy I am. Or the hippy I was. 

His take on Lester baffled me. Not cause he hated him

But it baffled me at how Lou could accept darkness more easily than I could. 

I respected him for it. 
He never forgave his father. 

I asked him once why not

“Don’t you want any connection with him?”

I asked. 

” it’s too late” is all he said

And I dropped the subject right then. But I didn’t in my head. 

I couldn’t believe he could let him go like that. 

I respected it but also my understanding of the world wasn’t as deep as Lou’s was

And from my naive mind I also felt a little sorry for Lou. Like maybe he was missing an ability to forgive. 

But I don’t think that anymore. 

Not at all. 

Now I understand 

And I wish I could talk to Lou about all this. 


It’s too late. 

Or is it? 

I understand now Lou. 

Will you say hi to me tomorrow? 

6 Comments on “It’s Too Late 

  1. You already know this but, when you are recovering from drug, alcohol, narc abuse, etc, you hopefully learn to stay away from the enablers.

    While recovering you almost get a new set of eyes and a new brain. You see people for who/what they are. You realize who your true “friends/family” are.

    Maybe Lou came around knowing what you were going to go through with your “friend” that night.

    In order to fully heal, you have to dive head first into the shallow end. But you got this, each blog I read I see you are getting stronger.

    You have so much support and love from the people who are reading this blog.


  2. Thank you for your blog. You’re saving me right now as I navigate through my own recovery from a horrible narc (as if there are any other kinds). I mostly have good days, but lately, I’ve been just treading water, trying to stay afloat. I wish I knew you as a friend. Because I really connect with a lot of what you write about and it’s been instrumental lately in getting me through those low points. I don’t feel so alone, you know? There is a hope you provide in these posts . . . a radiant strength . . . and it’s helping me more than you know. Anyway, thanks again for opening up.

    And Joe Strummer. OMG! He was a true artist. The Clash – they merged reggae and pop and punk and rock and soul and blues. Incredible talent and, as cliche as it sounds, ahead of their time. And Strummer’s Streetcore album is amazing.


  3. I don’t know if you’re reading comments but I’m so sorry to know you had such a toxic upbringing. I’m heartbroken for you and your inner kid. I can relate to this in some ways, different though, lucky for me I had a stable family life, so normal we were abnormal, though no family, including mine, is without dysfunction.This reminds me of how I’ve come to realize why I am how I am. But I’ve also had my share of toxic friends, passive aggressive bullshit, even coming from my own self (and family). It was easier to recognize in others once I recognized it in myself. But once you are able to identify it, it’s so clear. It’s so prevalent in our society. I dated a guy w/NPD a long time ago, thankfully I already had a strong sense of self and didn’t fall for it (much), that’s not to say he didn’t bring out an ugly side of me I hadn’t been aware of, I’m actually grateful for now I guess.
    I lost a friend in Feb. to drugs, talk about throwing it all away, I now know she threw it away a long time ago before she even unfurled her petals. Of course you always think there’s more time, hope for reconciliation. I have some guilt surrounding that of course, we’d had a falling out, coincidentally had to do with your show last August in NYC.
    Anyway, please take care of yourself, I know this is cathartic and you’re healing. Just don’t leave too many open wounds at once. you know you have a lot of real friends who care about the real you, you have a lot of fans who care too.


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