Today is July 3rd, 2022. Most of the people in the country are getting ready for their BBQs, setting up tents, getting their stockpile of firework in order for the celebration of the fourth, and being with family & friends.
The Fourth of July – our Independence Day – will always be a fun holiday for me… but I know what the “bombs bursting in air” means. But this is not a column about the Fourth. No, no.
It’s the 3rd. And for me, this is a private holiday; or, more accurately, a tradition. Today, back in 1971, poet/philosopher/lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison, died in a Paris apartment. He was 27 years old.
To this day, biographers & memoir writers speculate on the exact nature & circumstances of his death. I have read he died of a common heart attack, heroin overdose, drowned in the bathtub where his body was found – there is even the absurd & perverse theory he faked his own death! That he is still alive somewhere in Jamaica… or Africa… hell, a body of an unknown man was found in a small apartment in Cleveland, Ohio, it was speculated it was Jim Morrison.
Jim Morrison has been a lot of things to me: a teacher, a comforter, an inspiration, and, most importantly, an example of BOTH good & bad things that are available in life. He burned through life too quickly. His greatness is not only by what he wrote but in the tragic sadness in which his life was dealt… & the fatal decisions he made in his pursuit of greatness. How he has overcome such tragedy – such a waste of life – was leaving behind his darkly beautiful work… almost like a puzzle for generations to try to put together.
His dedication to poetry & reading & philosophy & art was something I identified with. His rebel approach & absolute defiance towards authority was very invigorating & inspiring to me… back when I was 20. I’m 38 years old, now. 11 years older than Jim when he passed. As a way to remember & honor him, respectfully, I take the 3rd of every July to dedicate to writing, reading – living! I have spent July 3rd in hotel rooms, jail, alone in the comfort of my own apartments & houses…
This year, yes, I will write & remember & celebrate. This year has a little different flavor to it, though. At the end of the night, I’ll go to bed with my wife, positive I will live to experience another July… many of them, in fact. Before, they always felt like they were going to be my last.
Sometimes the most rebel thing to do is to say “Fuck you. I ain’t going anywhere.”
I wish that was a lesson Jim could have learned.