Jim Trainer


In Uncategorized on April 26, 2018 at 11:00 am

sun came up it was another day
sun went down and you were blown away
Drunken Angel

I booked it sometime before midnight. The AUS-PHL leg was $56 and I used all my points for my return except I was almost 8,000 short. To buy more points I had to log on and remember the password for an account I never use. I was asked 2 questions: What is the middle name of your first child? and Who is your favorite sports team? I got on the horn and waited. Doris came on, sweet old bird, and walked me through the entire booking process until she finally heard me say that I already had a flight. “I just need my password.” She sent me the link and I logged on. Then I bought 8,000 Rapid Rewards points for $150. All told my flight to Philly cost $166. Except that the third party who sells you points on Southwest charged me three times–a difference between $150 and $450 that brought my checking account down to $15. On the way to the airport at 3:30 this morning I realized that the too-good-to-be-true rate of $56 to Philly was exactly that because the leg I booked was for tomorrow. With Brown Thought riding shotgun I worked it out with them on the hands free. She refunded the mistakenly booked leg for tomorrow and reserved a flight out for me this morning. It was $409 but, no bueno, if you recall–I had $15 in my account from the third party’s negligent overcharge and their customer service wouldn’t be open for another 4 hours Central Time. I hopped out the Element, holla’d at my boy and leaned my iPad to a cylinder on the baggage pavilion. I transferred my savings to my checking and hoped for the best. At check in I was told to go to Sales and at Sales 3 employees stood round a computer monitor staring intently without a sound. Beth from checkin came round. I told her I had a flight reserved. She asked if I paid for it, a bad sign. I gave her my card. It’s one of the new cards the bank sent me, with the numbers printed instead of embossed on the card, and completely rubbed off anyway. Luckily I remembered my credit card number. Sometimes I don’t. My card didn’t go through. She asked me for the number again and I couldn’t remember. The 3 sales reps from the monitor came round. I sent out the fuck off vibes. Without so much as a look in their direction they backed off slowly. No bueno, card denied. I explained to Beth that their third party points sales had charged me 3 times what they should’ve, that my checking was tapped and my savings, too, except it probably hasn’t cleared since I’d just transferred the funds right out the very doors I came in 10 minutes prior. She switched my rez to today at no charge. I flew to Philly for free and now I’m sitting here waiting to board as Lucinda Williams sings her paen to Blaze, then Earle kicks in with the harp to take the whole thing home.

Now Brennen Leigh is singing to me and I realize, sitting here, that my quality of life has improved concurrently with the quality of music in my life. That’s not a shot on Philly, but a shot at Philly radio, and the close-mindedness of my favorite bluecollar hardnocks burg with more attitude than the 5 boroughs combined. They play Classic Rock up there, and jocks like Pierre Robert stink up the airwaves with a pseudo hippy flare and play the same tired songs that were old when you first heard them over thirty years ago. It’s not much better over the bridge in Jersey, but you can get away with more. My band, the Workingman’s Blues Band, played a place called Leanna’s in Deep Water for a couple years. It was a 4-hour set for $150. There were 4 of us and we were happy to, more than happy to. They were the juke joint band I had always dreamed of. A band of frontmen, and women, actually. Some nights playing with them were the most joyful and communal times I’ve ever had playing music, and I’m including my time in hardcore bands, which, as it turns out, wasn’t as communal as advertised. When I looked around and every single one of us was grooving, doing our own thang, together, and I sang my fucking heart out. Cash and Waits and Solomon Burke. We played all the good songs. You bet and my buddy Mitch booked us. It was his idea. He got us the gig and got them out to see us, too. He even made fliers. I was stone cold sober those years. Crossing into Deep Water, the dark of Jersey, over the bridge off 295, it was rock and roll and it was everything man, something I can’t live down and I’m reckoning with, ever since the Southern-Steele wedding right on through my tour with Pslamships this Spring to, sadly, now—with the news of Brother Mitch’s passing. It’s where I come from, how I cut my teeth and something I haven’t quite found in the live music capital of the world. My Texas band is stellar. Billy Brent is one of the finest ax grinders I’ve ever shared a stage with and singing with him is a dream. Ray Kainz. Eroq. Kyle Clayton is the best upright bass player I’ve ever played with and Justin Kolb, besides being on point on the doghouse, is a consumate sideman–he backed me enough to move me down here in the first place ain’t it though.

Life’s too short Good Reader. It’s too short not to play good music and call your friend to have lunch and hang out with for some odd number of hours. I’m going home to bury Mitch. He was a sweet Brother. I can think of a lot of other people I’d rather see gone but I wouldn’t be flying cross country to see them off. I’ll spare you the cliches, only the good die young and all that–this post was jiggy from the gate anyway. There’s no way to make death ok. There’s only life and it’s running out every day. I abandoned work on CORE funding and I’ll be pushing for the Community Initiative grant. It’s just in my scope and the application isn’t layered in the business rubric of the CORE grant. I was over my head. It took me a couple weeks to admit it to myself. I had to hang it up, for a spell. Head back to the hometown and say goodbye. Love your ones, good Reader, and don’t waste any time on heathen scum. Live your life how you wanna because someday we will die. The clock is ticking and your life time is winding down, so if you’re thinking you should then you oughta. See you on the street motherfucker. We can get lunch.


  1. I was sad to hear about your friend. I’m sorry it was a hassle to get back home. Glad it worked out in the end. If you need help writing a grant, let me know. I used to do that sort of thing from time to time in my former life. I have no platitudes to say to make things better. Just know you’ve been on my mind.

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