Once, there was a man named Tom Petty. He was a musician. He played rock ‘n roll. the way it should be played. He was humble. He was driven. He was well-loved by people who weren’t his fans. His fans adored him. He played a long tour last year. He went home. And, he died.
His death broke a lot of hearts.
Yesterday, when the coroner’s reports were released, his death broke a lot of hearts. Again. He didn’t die from a heart attack. He died from an overdose of a massive amount of pharmaceutical pain medications. His family released a statement supporting the report and him.
He had a number of illnesses, including knee problems and emphysema. But, the thing that killed him was a fractured hip that got worse as he toured. On and on he went until on the last day of his life, he learned that it had finally broken. The pain must have been unbearably intense. He tried to medicate himself. And, he died.
I could not imagine jumping around on a stage in that sort of pain. It must have been agony. His fans never knew. He kept playing. He gave them everything.
My heart is broken because I know about pain. I play it down when I sometimes write about it here, on Storyteller. I rarely tell the truth about it. Even to those I love because I don’t want to worry them. My pain is nowhere near what Petty must have felt on any day, playing any show. But, I do take various pain medications. Not one of them is strong as the pain meds that he was taking. That’s good. If I get to that place where I mostly live in a fog, we’ll see what happens.
The pictures I publish here on a daily basis come at a price. A very painful one. The dog who walks me and sees things knows. She is very patient with me. We might cross paths with a squirrel. She loves to chase squirrels. Right up the tree. But, she doesn’t. Somehow, in her doggy mind, she knows if I have to chase her it will hurt me.
That said, in case you are wondering why I haven’t made many street pictures, or second line pictures after I said that I would, that’s the reason. That pleasure might not be worth all the pain. Sometimes, it is. I have to weigh those options.
I love making picture. I love making pictures on the street. But…
As Neil Young once wrote, “The thing that makes you who you are will kill you in the end.” I know that to be true.
RIP (Again) Tom Petty. RIP (Again) Prince. (Who died the same way)